Top Ten Books of 2010, Patti's Favorite Books

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Top Ten Books of 2010Patti’s Top Ten Books of 2010 and a few more of Patti’s favorite Books.
While all these books didn’t come out in 2010 I read them in 2010.

1. Picara- by Pat MacEnulty- A coming of age story set in the sixties. The writing is clean and beautiful. This novel was written by my dear friend Pat. It so deserved to be best seller.
2. The Help - by Kathryn Stockett. The novel is set in 1960’s Mississippi. It shows how a female college graduate learns to care about the plight of the black maids who work for many white families.
3. Poetry- Anything written by Poet Laureate Billy Collin. Some of you know I started as a poetry major in college. (Link to How I became a body language expert on website.) My friends and I heard Collins read his work at the book conference Southern Voices. He is an amazing poet. Collins has earned a rare spot between critical respect and wide appeal. His last three collections of poems have broken sales records for poetry. His readings are usually standing room only, and his audience – enhanced tremendously by his appearances on Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion on National Public Radio – includes people of all backgrounds and age groups. He has also published eight collections of his poetry, including Ballistics, The Art of Drowning, Taking off Emily Dickinson’s Clothes and The Trouble with Poetry. If you fly Delta, check out the poetry on the audio channel. Collins helped create the audio poetry channel for Delta Airlines. Collins sees his poetry as “a form of travel writing,” Collins considers humor “a door into the serious.” It is a door that many thousands of readers have opened with amazement and delight. You must read the poem about his dog. At the bottom of this list.
4. A Happy Marriage by Rafael Yglesias (He also wrote, "Fearless" a novel that was made in the motion picture starring Jeff Bridges.
5. American Wife- by Curtis Sittenfeld. I really enjoyed this book a fictionalized a real wife of a president. I found the bookish, naïve Alice Lindgren interesting though shallow. She seems separated from her real life by glass. . Charlie Blackwell, her boyishly charming rake and lush of a husband, whose background of Ivy League privilege, penchant for booze and partying, contempt for the news and habit of making flubs when speaking off the cuff, bears more than a passing resemblance to the current president (though the Blackwells hail from Wisconsin, not Texas). Sittenfeld shines early in her portrayal of Alice's coming-of-age in Riley, Wis., living with her parents and her mildly eccentric grandmother. A car accident in her teens results in the death of her first crush, which haunts Alice even as she later falls for Charlie and becomes overwhelmed by his family's private summer compound and exclusive country club membership. Once the author leaves the realm of pure fiction, however, and has the first couple deal with his being ostracized as a president who favors an increasingly unpopular war, the book quickly loses its panache and sputters to a weak conclusion that doesn't live up to the fine storytelling that precedes it.
6. Lady Audley's Secret, Mary Elizabeth Braddon written in 1862, it was hugely popular and the prime example of sensation fiction. I read it originally many years ago when I was reading Wilke Collins sensation/murder mystery fiction written in the same era.
7. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsen. A true page turner. I love the complexity of the female investigator Harriot Vangner. Her next two books were very well written, but for me so violent. In fact, I felt manipulated by the violence and tried to skip the violence in the second book and ended up skimming through over a hundred pages or what I felt was pornographic violence.
8. Olive Kitteridge by ElizabethStrout (Abide with Me, etc.) Thirteen short stories give a heart-wrenching, penetrating portrait of ordinary coastal Mainers living lives of quiet grief intermingled with flashes of human connection. The opening story gives us one of my favorite characters of 2010. A terse, judgmental junior high-school teacher Olive Kitteridge and her sweet gregarious pharmacist husband, Henry, both of whom have survived the loss of a psychologically damaged parent, and both of whom suffer painful attractions to co-workers. Their son, Christopher, takes center stage in A Little Burst, which describes his wedding in humorous, somewhat disturbing detail, and in Security, where Olive, in her 70s, visits Christopher and his family in New York. I love Olive.
9. Into Temptation. I love the entire trilogy -Penny Vinenzie –Definitely a guilty pleasure. The novels are about the Lytton family past. The main character Lady Celia knows leads an interesting life full of secrets. Then there's her daughter Adele's difficult, dark past; the dreadful cruelty of a truth her son Kit had to confront; even the shadows of Celia's own life, and that of Barty Miller, whom she rescued from the slums in babyhood and who now owns more than half of the Lytton publishing house. Some secrets are more dangerous than others, some shared with Celia's family, some entirely her own. And all absolutely safe in her keeping. Until something happens that threatens to reveal them all ...INTO TEMPTATION is a magnificent drama that captures the spirit of an age and tells the gripping story of the Lytton family
10. Prayers for Sale- Dallas (Author of the sweet book The Persian Pickle Club.) offers up the unconventional friendship between Hennie Comfort, a natural storyteller entering the twilight of her life, and Nit Spindle, a naïve young newlywed, forged in the isolated mining town of Middle Swan, Colo., in 1936. When the two meet, Hennie recognizes her younger self in Nit, and she's immediately struck with a desire to nurture and guide Nit, who is lonely and adrift in her new hometown and her brand-new marriage. As Hennie regales Nit with stories and advice, the two become inseparable and pass several seasons huddled around their quilting with the other women of Middle Swan. Even though Hennie maintains an air of c'est la vie as she unravels her life story, Nit and the reader soon realize there are tragedies and secrets hidden behind Hennie's tranquil demeanor. This satisfying novel will immediately draw readers into Hennie and Nit's lives, and the unexpected twists will keep them hooked through to the bittersweet denouement. (Apr.)
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11. Home Safe –Elizabeth Berg. I have read all her novels and I love every one. In this new novel, beloved bestselling author Elizabeth Berg weaves a beautifully written and richly resonant story of a mother and daughter in emotional transit. Helen Ames–recently widowed, coping with loss and grief, unable to do the work that has always sustained her–is beginning to depend far too much on her twenty-seven-year-old daughter, Tessa, and is meddling in he...more

Where is a great great book like “Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. Published: 2002. I read the Vanity excerpted chapter from her new novel. The writing is extraordinary but you can only stay so long in shark infested waters and a Japanese prison camp.

12. Hawaii- By Catherine E. Toth After her mother passed away 15 years ago, Margaret Dilloway found a copy of a book stashed in a drawer at the family's San Diego home."The American Way of Housekeeping" was, essentially, a handbook created by the wives of American officers for their Japanese housekeepers soon after World War II ended. Written in both English and Japanese, it provided a guide for how to do everything from cooking proper American food and using household appliances to cleaning room to room in a precise sequence.Dilloway's mom, Suiko, who was from Kumamoto, Japan, had received the book from her father after they wed. The couple met in Iwakuni when her dad, who grew up in Pennsylvania, was stationed there with the Navy."My dad thought the book was for housewives," said Dilloway, 36, a stay-at-home mom who lives in Hawaii Kai with her husband, Keith, and three children.It turned out that many American men thought that way, too, and bought the handbook for their Japanese war brides.
13. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel by Beth Hoffman. Hoffman attempts to cross Steel Magnolias with The Help but doesn’t not offer enough spice, in this Southern debut novel sparkling with humor, heart, and feminine wisdom. Pat MacEnulty’s novel was so much better. This was a feel good book with some nice quotes about ways to lead your life.

14. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick – I read it. I liked the writing. I really liked the setting. I learned so much about Wisconsin. I love the time period and the specific period details. I did like the twisted murder mystery and I thought the bodice ripping scenes were amazing. But, with all that, I didn’t really like the book. . I have a hard time connecting to a novel with three despicable main characters, actually if you include the younger sister I would day four people I didn’t care to read about for an entire novel.
15. Sarah’s Key by De Rosnay's. Many book store employees pushed this book to me over the year. I read it, but I felt manipulated by the story. It was not as good as other novels in its depiction of World War two and its atrocities. Such as 2006’s “The Book Thief” I did appreciate learning more about the Jewish round up in Paris. This novel explore the life of family after the 1942 Paris roundups and deportations, in which thousands of Jewish families were arrested, held at the Vélodrome d'Hiver outside the city, then transported to Auschwitz. Forty-five-year-old Julia Jarmond, American by birth, moved to Paris when she was 20 and is married to the arrogant, unfaithful Bertrand Tézac, with whom she has an 11-year-old daughter. Julia writes for an American magazine and her editor assigns her to cover the 60th anniversary of the Vél' d'Hiv' roundups. Julia soon learns that the apartment she and Bertrand plan to move into was acquired by Bertrand's family when its Jewish occupants were dispossessed and deported 60 years before. She resolves to find out what happened to the former occupants: Wladyslaw and Rywka Starzynski, parents of 10-year-old Sarah and four-year-old Michel. The more Julia discovers—especially about Sarah, the only member of the Starzynski family to survive—the more she uncovers about Bertrand's family, about France and, finally, herself. Already translated into 15 languages, the novel is De Rosnay's 10th (but her first written in English, her first language). It beautifully conveys Julia's conflicting loyalties, and makes Sarah's trials so riveting, her innocence so absorbing, that the book is hard to put down. (July)
16. The Forgotten Garden: A Novel by Kate Morton. Morton wrote one of my favorite books of 2009 The House at Riverton. I did like the setting and the historical details. I loved the portion of the novel that started in the back alleys of poverty of pre-World War I London and the shores of colonial Australia. I wish the novel had kept with that story line and those characters. This novel started with a compelling set of characters but killed them off. The characters that remain, seem tired and beaten down by life and the story that unfolds of a sordid childhood sexual abuse may have seemed to the author a device to elevate the fiction to great art, but just it made the novel unpleasant to read. I don’t like to feel sorry for characters through an entire novel. I could have loved and followed the story of character and actually enjoyed the novel, but instead I knew slogging through the story that she was abused all those years and DIED.
17. Valera’s Last Stand. Read it didn’t like it. Marc Fitten was born in Brooklyn, raised in the Bronx and later moved to Atlanta for high school. Following graduation, he spent nearly a decade traveling in Europe, living primarily in Hungary. He is currently the editor of The Chattahoochee Review, Atlanta’s oldest journal. Fitten has been published in several American publications and was included in Esquire magazine’s Cocktail Napkin Project. Valeria’s Last Stand is his debut novel.
18. Carry Me Home- It was an interesting book by Diane McWhorter. The book Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution, garnered the Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, the Southern Book Award and was named one of Time Magazine’s Top 10 Books of 2001. She is also the author of the award-winning A Dream of Freedom, a young adult history of the Civil Rights Movement. Raised in Birmingham, McWhorter is a graduate of Wellesley College and was a long-time contributor to The New York Times and former editor of Boston Magazine. She is presently on the USA Today Board of Contributors and is currently researching her next book, which focuses on Wernher von Braun and the Third Reich missile pioneers. She and her family live in New York City.

The Revenant - Billy Collins
I am the dog you put to sleep,
as you like to call the needle of oblivion,
come back to tell you this simple thing:
I never liked you--not one bit.
When I licked your face,
I thought of biting off your nose.
When I watched you toweling yourself dry,
I wanted to leap and unman you with a snap.
I resented the way you moved,
your lack of animal grace,
the way you would sit in a chair to eat,
a napkin on your lap, knife in your hand.
I would have run away,
but I was too weak, a trick you taught me
while I was learning to sit and heel,
and--greatest of insults--shake hands without a hand.
I admit the sight of the leash
would excite me
but only because it meant I was about
to smell things you had never touched.
You do not want to believe this,
but I have no reason to lie.
I hated the car, the rubber toys,
disliked your friends and, worse, your relatives.
The jingling of my tags drove me mad.
You always scratched me in the wrong place.
All I ever wanted from you
was food and fresh water in my metal bowls.
While you slept, I watched you breathe
as the moon rose in the sky.
It took all of my strength
not to raise my head and howl.
Now I am free of the collar,
the yellow raincoat, monogrammed sweater,
the absurdity of your lawn,
and that is all you need to know about this place
except what you already supposed
and are glad it did not happen sooner--
that everyone here can read and write,
the dogs in poetry, the cats and the others in prose.

Patti Wood, MA, Certified Speaking Professional - The Body Language Expert. For more body language insights go to her website at Also check out the body language quiz on her YouTube Channel at