X is for X

Roman Numeral X, that is. As in an awesome "Top Ten List" of my favorite books this year.

Since the holidays are coming and I won't have as much time for reading, I've been looking back at the books I've read this year. There's been quite a few very memorable books, even ones that have snuck their way into my top 5 books ever (so far). Lots of these aren't new but are new to me, and maybe you haven't read them yet and I'm here to tell you you should. These are the top ten books I've read this year, which should definitely be put on your Christmas list.

The Top X

1. The Tigers Wife by Tea Obreht 
2. Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins
3. Dog Boy by Eva Hornung
4. Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward
5. You Came Back by Christopher Coake
6. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
7. Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro
8. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
9. Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman
10. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese*

The top five are definitely in order, the rest are pretty close and I had trouble choosing where to put them. But seriously, those top five are not to be missed. Of those top four female authors, Obreht, Watkins, and Ward are all under 35 and they will, quite simply, blow you away. The top five are books I wish I had read more slowly, so I could have prolonged the experience with each. They are books I would buy for others as gifts, because I know they are that good. 

But every book on this list provided a wonderful reading experience. I highly recommend each one. And although choosing favorite books is personal, my recommendations are not altogether arbitrary (unlike, say, someone who would recommend 50 Shades of Grey because it makes their lady-parts tingle). They're good books. They have complex characters and theme driven plots and many take risks which I haven't seen before. Read them, won't you?

Oh, and I would love to hear some of your favorites from this year (or of all time). I'm always looking for new books to add to my Christmas wish list. 

*Cutting for Stone almost didn't make the list because the first 175-200 pages are dreadful to get through. Keep that in mind if you're going to pick this one up. However, it redeems itself over the course of it's 650 or so pages, and I figure greatly enjoying at least 2/3 of the book makes it worthwhile.