Top 10 Books of the Decade
I cannot believe that 2020 is almost here. My kids remind me on a daily basis how old I am every time they mention with that twinkle in their eye that I was born in the “teens”, a whole other century. Wow, thanks, kids. Rounding up the best books of the decade was difficult and not because I have trouble with my memory. How can you pick just one book from each year? What if we neglect an entire genre? ( Which we ended up doing). There are so many brilliant and beautiful books that we adored that we could not include in the list for one reason or another.
Most of the time that reason was simply that we needed to choose only one book. There were some years that were particularly difficult as well (2011/ 2016/ 2017). In other years, our decision was immediate. Without further adieu, here are our picks for the top ten books of the decade. Did we include your favorite? What did we leave out that you loved? We would love to hear your votes. You can also enter for a chance to win all 10 books on our Instagram page.
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This book was so realistic and haunting it was a literal nightmare for so many people who read it. Five years later, it was made into a movie that was equally creepy. Room is is the only home Jack has ever known but it is a prison for his mother who has been held captive in the tiny space for the last 7 years. This story shows what lengths a mother will go through to save her son. Nearly ten years later, this book is just as powerful as the day it was published.
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
2011 was a great year for books and had a few that Kirsten and I loved. But, this is one of those books that is so beautiful and unique and stays with you. Kirsten and I both absolutely loved this book and read it before we even knew each other. The Victorian language of flowers is fascinating. This book incorporates this language into a story that will leave you wanting more.
Wonder changed a generation’s way of thinking about kindness. It can be argued that it started the kindness movement. I absolutely love how this book tells the story of Auggie, a child with facial differences and how he navigates life and friendship. The book delves into the serious topic of bullying and it is geared toward middle-grade. R.J Palacio made this book relatable, readable and approachable for kids who may not have read books about serious topics. I think this book should be a required read for everyone.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
Way back when we started the blog, Kirsten and I used to challenge each other to read a book that we loved but the other had not read. This was the first book that Kirsten told me to read and I cannot believe that it had not fallen into my lap sooner. You can read that post here. Monsieur Perdu has a literary apothecary. He prescribes books for healing. Isn’t that why we read? We search for a book to give us what we need- fun, entertainment, healing, a getaway or even to scare the pants off ourselves. This book is a story about love and healing and we could not think of a better pick for 2013. It wasn’t translated to English until 2015 but we wanted to honor its original publication date. If it had not done so well in Germany, it would never have been translated into English.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This is a beautiful book that takes place in occupied France during the Second World War. It is the story of a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths cross as they try to survive the war. This winner of the Pulitzer Prize is obviously well-written but it is also a beautiful and readable book. This book was another one that we both read before we met and was an easy choice for 2014.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
This is the second World War II-era book that we chose for our list and it also takes place in France. This is the story of two sisters and how they survive the Second World War when a German captain requisitions their family home. The sisters are separated by time and have completely different experiences in the war. This book is one of the books that should be read in a lifetime.
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D Vance
While I usually am not an avid reader of non-fiction, this memoir is completely captivating from the very first page. I had no idea about the Hillbilly culture so, everything in this book was completely foreign to me. The book reads like a novel which adds to the appeal for me. A big reason we chose this book as the best of 2016 is how much we both loved this book despite the fact that it is outside of our preferred genre. It says so much about a book that has universal appeal.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
At first glance, this book is a well-written, easy read with a great plot and great characters. But, as you get into the heart of the book, it delves into more serious issues without ever being preachy. The story moves easily through Evelyn Hugo’s seven husbands while telling the story of her life. And it was not an easy life. I have never recommended this book to anyone who didn’t like it because I think it appeals to everyone. 2017 had some great reads but ultimately, Evelyn came out on top because it is the perfect mix of substance and story.
Where the Crawdads Sing Deluxe Edition by Dehlia Owens
I will admit when I saw the description of this book, I was not sold. A trusted individual, who has never steered me wrong in the past, gave me an advanced copy so, I took the leap. And wow, am I glad I did. I read this book and then recommended it to everyone I knew. This book has that spark, that special something that makes it extra. It is no surprise that we chose this as our favorite of 2018.
If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais
If you have not read this book, head over to your local bookstore and grab a copy. Bianca Marais’ Sophmore novel made me laugh and cry as I fell in love with each imperfect character one at a time. I love how distinctive the three characters were and how the story came together. This is a beautifully written historical fiction that deserves to be read and loved and then read again. Our top choice for 2019 was an easy, no-brainer.
Great list! We have some overlap for a few of the years–I’ll be posting my best of the decade next week. I love that you included Wonder–you’re totally right that it’s had a big impact on kids.
Funny how some of the years were almost impossible to narrow down, while others it was hard to find any that would live up to a “best of the decade” standard!
Yes!!! Some years we had three or four and in other years there was only one book we could find that withstood the test of time. I cannot wait to see what you choose.
I’m putting together my list right now and we have one overlap! It’s fun to see a few on here that I haven’t even read yet too. The Little Paris Bookshop is jumping to the top of my TBR list.
The Little Paris Bookshop was a good one. I can’t wait to see your list- I’m so curious which book we have overlapping.