I started blogging in 2013. At no point when I started this blog did I expect I would be writing a post about my favourite books of the last decade. But here we are and I feel old. I admit I have been trying to move away from book blogging recently, but I felt like this was such a huge moment I had to do something.
There was also the fact that I didn’t read many books in 2019. If I wrote a post about my favourite books of 2019 it would have included every book I read in 2019. I don’t read as much now compared to a few years ago, but I’m okay with that. I’m now far more picky about the books I do read. To the point, I will only finish a book if I’ve really enjoyed it. Suffice to say, I started far more books than I finished in 2019.
Putting this list together proved to be far harder than I expected. I have a list of books I’ve loved over the years. But they needed to have something extra to make it onto this list. Many of you will probably disagree with me about the books on my list, but that’s okay. These are the books I’ve enjoyed the most. In no way am I saying they are the best of the decade.
In some cases, they weren’t even published in the last decade. I’ve made up my list based on the books I read in the past 10 years. However, most were read after 2013. Mostly because this is when I started my Goodreads account.
MY FAVOURITE BOOKS OF THE 2010s
There are two series I want to mention first. Both of which I read many times over the last 10 years though this wasn’t the first time I had read those series. I still want to give both a mention because they have both had new books released in the last 10 years.
His Dark Materials
First is the His Dark Materials trilogy along with the new Book of Dust trilogy. One of the things I loved about the Book of Dust is how it reminded me that I love this series. The Secret Commonwealth was pretty underwhelming. But La Belle Sauvage was an enjoyable read. I had such an interesting experience reading this book. It was all going well until about three-quarters of the way through where I suddenly remembered I was reading a Phillip Pullman book and how Phillip Pullman books can go in a weirdly religious/ mythological direction.
I love this series. I always feel like I get something new out of it every time I read it. I’m also very thankful that we finally have a good screen adaption. I’m not sure how many people remember seeing The Golden Compass when it came out in the cinema. I certainly do and it was not good.
The Old Kingdom
The other series which gets an honourable mention is the Old Kingdom series by Garth Nix. The thing I love about this series how enjoyable they are to reread as an adult. Sabriel is still as terrifying now as it was 17 years ago when I first read it.
The thing which gets me about the Old Kingdom series is how I always wanted a continuation. Abhorsen was released in 2003 and I gave up hope that Garth Nix would write another book. Then 2014 rolls around and Garth Nix announces he’s releasing another book in the Old Kingdom series.
Now Clariel wasn’t the best book in the series. But one of the great things about this book, along with Goldenhand, is how well they have been integrated into the overall storyline. Garth Nix didn’t just decide to retcon previous books to write new ones (take note Star Trek writers). I found Clariel to be such an interesting read because I got to the end of this book, and the plot twist (if you could call it that) made me go back and reread the entire series all over again. The same thing happened when I read Goldenhand.
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There are very few books that have been released which made me go back and reread an entire series. The only other I can think of is the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers. Which incidentally is another great trilogy even though it didn’t make it onto this list.
Here is the thing about Good Omens. I shouldn’t like this book. I know that both Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman are huge fantasy writers, but I’ve never liked any of their books. And I’m not just saying this like their books are way overhyped. I have tried for years to get into their books, mostly because I have been constantly told how good both of these authors are. But I’ve never read a book by either author that I liked.
Let’s start with Neil Gaiman. I’ve never enjoyed any of his books and I’ve tried to read a lot of them. Stardust is a great movie but the book didn’t do anything for me. I read Neverwhere but didn’t even give it a rating on Goodreads which says a lot. Apparently I gave The Ocean At The End of The Lane 4 stars and have no memory of even reading the book.
I own a lot of Neil Gaiman books. Most of them were bought with the thinking that even though I didn’t like previous Gaiman books I read maybe this would be different.
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The story is very similar with Terry Pratchett. I read my first Pratchett book when I was 12 because someone said they loved those books and I should read them. I can’t even remember what book I read but I know I didn’t like it. This story has repeated ever since. Someone has recommended me a Terry Pratchett book, I tried reading it and didn’t like it.
The fact that I do like Good Omens is very surprising to me. It should be noted that I watched the TV show before reading the book. I’m not sure if I would have enjoyed the book as much if I had read it first. I think both are great but there are some noticeable differences between the two.
Good Omens is weird and silly and I don’t quite get the humour. But I love the story and its something new which is huge for me because I get bored easily with fantasy books.
Considering that I only read Good Omens 6 months ago its tricky to say if this will remain one of the best books I read this decade. But I am pretty obsessed with it right now and I don’t see that going away any time soon.
Cloud Atlas is a weird one because I read it at a very difficult time in my life and in a way it helped me get through it. I first came across Cloud Atlas because of the extended trailer which was released for the movie. Incidentally, this is still what I would consider being one of the greatest movie trailers ever made and you should watch it if you haven’t done so.
The Cloud Atlas movie release was very annoying because it came out in the US six months before the UK released. This meant I had to make do with the trailer and book until I could watch the film.
I think anyone who has ever come across Cloud Atlas will agree that the plot is hard to understand. I think this is one of the rare occasions where you can watch the film and read the book and get something new out of both experiences. If you don’t understand the plot I would recommend giving the book a try. While not an entirely linear narrative it does make much more sense compared to the film.
In a way, it helps if you understand David Mitchell’s writing style. He has a habit of creating a book which is made up of six shorter tales which all link together. But these shorter stories are all different genres. Cloud Atlas isn’t the only book he has written in this style. The Bone Clocks is very similar.
The filmmakers took this narrative and just mixed it all in a blender. Which is why the movie version of Cloud Atlas is all over the place. You need to watch it multiple times to fully get the plot. I know some people may not want to do this but I enjoyed the experience of going through this story multiple times and getting something new out of it each time.
I think we’re at the point where I can’t write one of these posts without mentioning Seveneves. I’ve probably explained this about a hundred times by now. Seveneves is split into three sections. The first is where the moon blows up, scientists then realise this is bad for everyone living on earth so they send as many people as possible to live in space. Part two is where these people try to survive as they make their way to a chunk of rock that was once the moon. Part three is set thousands of years in the future where you can see how the characters decisions in the first two parts shaped this new civilisation.
There is a lot more going on than just that. Seveneves is a huge book, its something like 900 pages. I own a hardback copy but have never actually read it because it’s so big. This is probably the only time I would recommend buying an ebook over a physical copy just because it’s so much easier to read.
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But I love this story and how in-depth it is. A lot of the characters are based on real people. You have the Elon Musk type individual running a SpaceX like company. There is a Neil DeGrasse Tyson type figure. There is a female president, I’m kind of assuming this was based on Hillary.
The one thing I love most about Seveneves is how Neal Stephenson goes into detail about the physics in this universe. He takes time to explain how orbital mechanics works because its a massively important plot point in the story. Even some super tiny detail in part one of the story is important because it is the basis of the entire transport system in part three.
Like most of the books on this list, I love Seveneves because I can reread the story and still get as much enjoyment out of it. I’ve probably read it eight or nine times now. I say read, what I mean is I will play the audiobook on a loop.
I know this book isn’t for everyone. I’ve seen all the Reddit threads where people agree that its the worst of Neal Stephenson’s books. He is genuinely terrible at writing endings to stories. Seveneves sort of just stops rather than wrapping up all the plot points. But I still love this book.
This is the first of two books where the only reason I read this book is that my sister forced me to read it. She was a little more gentle when telling me to read The Martian compared to Hunger Games which I will explain later on.
The Martian is another one where you can’t go far on my blog without coming across some reference to it. I love the story of how the Martian came to be published. Andy Weir started by posting chapters on his website. People then complained that they didn’t want to download chapters individually. So Weir put them together in an ebook and posted it on Amazon. From that, it became so popular that it got a publisher and movie deal.
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I love The Martian. I think the story is great. It’s one of the only books where the jokes have genuinely made me laugh out loud. They are also still funny even though I’ve read the book at least 9 times.
The movie adaptation is also really good. Its one of those few times where parts of the plot were changed significantly compared to the book but it works better. Matt Dameon was probably the best actor they could have cast as Mark Watney. The music adds so much to this film, the combination of 80s disco classics combined with the atmospheric sounds make you feel like he’s lost on this desolate planet.
Basically, The Martian is great. It’s possibly my top favourite book of the last decade.
The Hunger Games is the other book which I read entirely because of my sister. My sister really wanted me to read Hunger Games. To the point where she would check how much I had read every day and threaten to text me spoilers if I wasn’t reading fast enough.
I’m not a massive fan of YA books. I think I was just slightly too old when YA started to become popular. As a person in my 20s, I found it hard to relate to a character having typical teenage high school problems.
But The Hunger Games was great. Out of all the YA series which were released at the beginning of the 2010s its probably one of my favourite series. At least Hunger Games and Catching Fire were good. Mockingjay was a little too boring for me.
Again the books also had really good movie adaptations. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Mockingjay part 2 which probably tells you everything you need to know about that book adaptation. In terms of the arena, I probably prefer Catching Fire. I just like that moment where the characters realise its a clock. Also, Mags just makes that whole story even better.
I wasn’t a fan of the whole romantic element of the Hunger Games series. By Mockingjay, I didn’t understand what was going on at all. But its a YA book so there is obviously going to be some sort of romance.
World War Z
World War Z is a funny one because I think it’s one of the first book reviews I ever posted on my blog. It wasn’t a good review but there we go. Everyone has to start somewhere.
Unlike other fiction books on this list, the movie adaptation is genuinely terrible. The plot is so far away from the book that the only thing the two share is the same name.
I probably read World War Z just as zombie books were becoming popular. The problem with this is Max Brooks has written an entire guide on zombies. Like this is the definition of what a zombie should be. It’s not fast or smart. It’s a slow unstoppable force. A lot of books and films get this wrong.
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So basically I started by reading one of the best zombie books ever written and as you can imagine nothing else I read came close. There are some other slightly similar books. The Girl With All The Gifts is a great take on the zombie genre. But nothing comes close to being as good as World War Z.
The thing with World War Z, and the reason why the movie is so bad. Is because this isn’t just one story. Its a whole series of small self-contained stories. Its a fictional journalist interviewing people who survived and learning how they survived the zombie invasion. If you want an idea of how the movie could have been I highly recommend listening to the audiobook. Each story has a different narrator so you get the feeling that this is a series of interviews.
I also think the level of horror in World War Z is just right. I hate horror stories of any kind. World War Z is scary but not overly so. It means I can enjoy it without also having to deal with zombie inspired nightmares.
Joy Deangdeelert Cho does not know who I am and probably out of all the authors on this list has had the biggest impact on my life over the last decade. When I first started thinking about blogging Blog Inc was the book I picked up. It might still be one of the best books you can get to learn about blogging.
We’re now at the point where every blogger and their mum has some sort of book or workshop or series on how to blog. You don’t need to go far to find a blogger trying to sell you their secret to making money from blogging. Some of these books have useful information, some don’t. I’ve spent money on ebooks in the past only to learn that I’ve laid out money for information I already knew. What I’m trying to say is some books about blogging are better than others. In my opinion Blog Inc is one of the better books ones.
There are a few caveats to this. Blog Inc was released in 2012. A lot has changed in the online world since 2012. Social media wasn’t really a thing. It was also much easier to create a popular blog. However, a lot of the information in this book is still relevant now. I think in a way it might become more relevant again as content creators move away from using social media.
I don’t think there is a perfect book on how to blog. A large part of blogging is learning the technical stuff then figuring how what works best for you. But this was the book which gave me the motivation to start my blog and it continues to motivate me to make my blog better.
I did plan on including more non-fiction books in this post. What I didn’t plan on, however, was writing 400 words on how I hate almost everything ever written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Considering this blog post is now over 3000 words I think I should leave talking about my other favourite non-fiction books for another time.
I’m not expecting anyone to agree with me about this being the best books of the last decade. I’m sure everyone has their own personal list. This is just a list of my favourite books from the last 10 years. Even though technically only two of the books on this list were published in the last 10 years.
Have you read any of the books on my list? I would love to know some of your favourite books of the last decade. Let me know in the comments.