Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Staff Picks: Best of 2010

I don't know how we did it, but the booksellers at The Bookstore managed to sort through all of their hundreds of reads in 2010 to come up with a list of our Best of 2010 Staff Picks. We made a valiant effort to keep our lists to the top ten, but when you're surrounded by fantastic books everyday, sometimes that is just impossible. It's like they're all our babies.

And because we're booksellers, it's not enough to love a book, we have to spread the love with our customers. So here's a little bonus: any of "our babies" on these lists will be on sale for 10% off through the month of January. The secret code at check-out will be: "BABIES10." (If you're not too ashamed to say that in public, we figure you've earned the discount, along with a high-five.)

Sue's 2010 Favorites (in no particular order, or so she says.)

1. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
2. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
3. Elegies for the Brokenhearted by Christie Hodgen
4. Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr
5. A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
6. Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
7. Great House by Nicole Krauss
8. Half a Life by Darin Strauss
9. Shadow Tag by Louise Erdich
10. Unfinished Score by Elise Blackwell

Jenny's 2010 Favorites

1. The Passage by Justin Cronin
2. The Curable Romantic by Joseph Skibell
3. The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
4. How to Read the Air by Dinaw Mengestu
5. Exley by Brock Clarke
6. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
7. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
8. Crooked Letter Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
9. Father of the Rain by Lily King
10.This is Where I Leave You by Jonathon Tropper ('09 release but enjoyed in 2010)

Margie's 2010 Favorites (in some kind of order, but it changes daily)

1. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes
2. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
3. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
4. Great House by Nicole Krauss
5. The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
6. Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
7. The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst
8. The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi Durrow
9. Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye
10. If I Loved You I Would Tell You This by Robin Black

Jane's 2010 Favorites

1. The Passage by Justin Cronin
2. Divine Appointments by Charlene Baumbich
3. Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
4. The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg
5. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
6. 68 Rooms by Marianne Malone
7. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
8. It's A Book by Lane Smith
9. Dog Loves Books by Louise Yates
10. Christmas Kitten, Home at Last by Robin Pulver

Author Appearances in 2010
We are also so grateful for the numerous authors who came to The Bookstore and the First Annual Downtown Glen Elyn Bookfest in 2010 for book signings, author appearances and theme parties. After a particularly memorable night on Cinco de Mayo with the amazing Luis Urrea, we now call our rocking chair the "magical storytelling chair." It has been an an honor to welcome the following authors to our store and our village, and we thank them for sharing their time, their stories and their books:

Melanie Benjamin - Alice I Have Been
Elizabeth Berg - The Last Time I Saw You
Charlene Baumbich - Divine Appointments
Joelle Charbonneau - Skating Around the Law
Stephanie Cowell - Claude and Camille
Marsha Engle - 100 Sounds to See
Pamela Ferdinand - Three Wishes
J. Gordon - Kritterkreep
Shilipi Gowda - Secret Daughter
Kevin Guilfoille - The Thousand
Debbie Kearns - A Garden! A Garden!
J.A. Konrath - Jack Daniels detective series
Valerie Laken - Dream House
Maureen Lipinski - Not Ready for Mom Jeans
Marianne Malone - 68 Rooms
Kelly O'Connor McNees - The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott
John McNally - After the Workshop, Ghosts of Chicago
Dick Nogaj - Don't Retire, Get Inspired
Bob Raczka - Numerous children's books
Mark Reinecke - Little Ways to Keep Calm and Carry On
Janis Simms - Grandma's Basket
Glenette Tiley Turner - Fort Moses
Luis Urrea - Into the Beautiful North

As much fun as it is to make a Top Ten list, it just doesn't seem fair to our other favorite Staff Picks, including:
And the Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman, Diamond Ruby by Joseph Wallace, Let's Take the Long Way Home by Gail Caldwell, American Music by Jane Mendelsohn, The Hand That First Held Mine by Maggie O'Farrell,
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman, All Is Forgotten, Nothing Is Lost by Lan Samantha Chang, Lake Shore Limited by Sue Miller, The Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson, The Report by Jessica Frances Kane, Pearl of China by Anchee Min, The Lotus Eaters by Tatjana Soli, The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald, Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier, The Singer's Gun by Emily Mandel, Finny by Justin Kramon,Innocent by Scott Turow, Faithful Place by Tana French, The Long Way Home by Laura Caldwell . . . we could go on & on. You really should stop in and check out our Staff Pick Shelf for yourself!

And don't forget, we will be inviting YOU to come and share your favorites of 2010 at our Annual Book Club Night on Tuesday, March 1st. Have your book club vote on your favorite book of 2010, and then come and share it with the rest of us over wine and cheese. We will send you home with a list of every book club's favorites.

In the meantime, we'd love to hear your comments below!

Happy New Year from The Bookstore Team


  1. I was surprised not to see Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and The Nobodies Album on more year-end lists; glad to see both of them above!

  2. Jane,
    I am so surprised and honored DIVINE APPOINTMENTS made your top ten list that I'm literally crying. (Happily induced snot! :-)) I'm gonna print your list and carry it around in my wallet.

    I needed an encouragement today. (Seriously.) I am *so* honored, humbled and grateful. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!



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