A look back: best of books

Eileen Sabrina Herman, Staff Reporter

2010 was a pretty good year in terms of books published. The children’s book market exploded with titles like, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and How to Train Your Dragon, both of which were adapted and set onto the silver screen. The romance section also had several hits, as well as the sci-fi genre: pretty much every section of Barnes & Noble had a good run this year. Also, I like a little political satire, so don’t be surprised to see my favorite crazy-man on this list! And so without ado, here are my top 10 books of 2010 (in no particular order):


How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Let’s face it: everyone loved this movie. Film Society had a packed audience of college students the night they screened it, and this children’s book series definitely crossed the border between kids and adults. Though the book series is much different in several key ways (There is no Astrid; Toothless actually IS toothless), the allure of dragons and adventure has remained the key to everyone’s inner child’s heart.


The Autobiography of Mark Twain: Part One

Samuel Clemens was a man who liked a good joke, and was willing to wait for the punchline, much like this book, which was released 100 years after his death, per his specifications. Mark Twain specifically told the publishers that he would dictate his life under the conditions that it be directly transcribed and hidden following his passing, so as to not piss off the people he badmouthed. It seems as though Mark Twain has one more amazing story to tell, and this is only part 1!


The Snuggie Sutra by Lex Friedman

An absurd, hilarious book that takes the old Kama Sutra that everyone has heard about but probably never read, and puts the figures in Snuggies. Be on stocking stuffer alert for this one.


The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney

While technically another children’s title, this book has spawned a mini-empire of other books just like it that I see every time I walk into a bookstore. This is the fifth book in the series, and pretends to be a coming-of-age story that is actually full of funny anecdotes about high school and earlier life for one really unlucky kid. The main character writes about the wimpy kid in all of us.


S— My Dad Says by Justin Halpern

This book is on the list only for 2 reasons; One, it has a hilarious title, and second, it is the definition of a self-made book, because originally this entire thing was based on a Twitter feed. While I do love to watch the insanity that is Twitter, the idea that a book was based off of what some guy (Justin Halpern) wrote on his account about… s— his dad said. The book is actually hilarious, and the best part is that the feed keeps updating daily.


Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

I got an advance copy of this book, and like her other titles, I loved it. This book is both hilarious and informative for those who have even a passing interest in science. How is a toilet designed for optimal efficiency without gravity? Did astronauts really have sex in space? This book answers these questions and more.


Southern Vampire Mysteries: Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

This is the tenth book in the series, focusing on Sookie Stackhouse and her misadventures as a telepathic barmaid in Louisiana. This book series was adapted into a little TV show called True Blood, and has enjoyed a long popularity in both markets. Sookie’s romantic exploits are complex, but unlike her literary counterpart Anita Blake, Sookie did not turn into an open house for magical beings, and the author did not project herself into the novel, and so this is an awesome read. I would suggest, however, that you start at the beginning, because the book weaves quite a tangled web of stories.


Pinheads and Patriots: Where You Stand in the Age of Obama by Bill O’Reilly

I’m going to be completely honest. The reason this book made it on the list is because it’s hilarious. Bill O’Reilly is my favorite angry person, and this new book is more of what he’s best at: making up facts and being very, very angry. I think my favorite part of this book was his chapter, “Loathing Obama”, in which he basically admits that he (Bill) is treasonous to the United States. Way to go, buddy!


The Phantom: Vol. 1 by Lee Falk

This is the first volume of the reprint of the classic comic strip The Phantom. The story is archetypal, the characters are funny and sometimes amazingly stupid, and even though it was written in the 1930’s, it still draws in audiences today. This superhero story is actually a romance at heart, with a lot of action thrown in for good measure. If you want to get your parents or grandparents something for the holidays, this will bring them back to their childhoods, and you may find yourself strangely drawn to it too.


Star Trek: The Original Series 365 by Paula Block

This beautiful, semi-artbook covers every episode of Star Trek in detail. It also includes never-before-seen images of the cast off set and during production, and is a wonderful book for any fan. As a major Trek fan, I had to buy this book, and I wasn’t disappointed.