It’s crazy to think that at the beginning of this decade, I was finishing out elementary school and, literature-wise, avidly keeping up with the latest “Percy Jackson” novel. Now, Rick Riordan’s onto his third sequel series and I’m paying thousands of dollars to attend school. Weird. However, the past ten years have not only brought increasingly impressive releases in the literary world, but also much development and growth in my reading interests. Here are my top picks released every year in the past decade that have shaped my growth as a bibliophile.
2010: “The Lost Hero” by Rick Riordan
Oh, what do you know, a Rick Riordan book! But seriously, in 2010, I had just finished “The Last Olympian” to the original series and 10-year-old Hollie was shook when she heard a sequel series was coming out. The school librarian even put it on hold for me to take out first. Luckily, it did not disappoint.
2011: “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Laini Taylor
I was pretty conflicted choosing the book for this year, which included the slew of dystopian novels that came out after the conclusion of “The Hunger Games” trilogy the previous year. Special shoutout to “Legend” by Marie Lu, but I have to give it to this glorious gem of a book that introduced the beauty of prose to me. This urban fantasy with a parallel world of angels, chimera and magic fuelled by teeth could only be matched by Taylor’s lyrical storytelling.
2012: “Cinder” by Marissa Meyer
“The Lunar Chronicles,” which puts a sci-fi, futuristic spin on classic fairy tales, includes wholesome relationships (platonic and romantic), masterful plotting and important character representation. This series just got updated covers for paperbacks, but the iconic cyborg Cinderella shoe will always live on.
2013: “Crazy Rich Asians” by Kevin Kwan
I’m glad this book got its due respect with the amazing film adaptation released last year. Reading a book that included representation of my racial identity was more important than I could have realized at the ripe age of 13, and coupling that with the fun decadence of luxury high life in Singapore made this book much more than just a fun summer read.
2014: “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han
This book, with its heartwarming representation in the place of lovely Lara Jean, holds a very special place in my heart. Along with the movie adaptation, released around the same time as “Crazy Rich Asians,” the book was just another important way to raise awareness about the need for Asian-American representation in the media. It hit even closer to home than the previous novel, because the trio of sisters and navigation of high school to college struggles paralleled fairly similar experiences to me at the time.
2015: “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo
This book (and series) has been mentioned maybe every other week in my column, so I’ll chill on it for now, but it’s greatly deserved. Bardugo blew away all my expectations and I’m glad for the duo’s existence, pretty covers, superb writing and all. Some of my favorite books, if you haven’t heard already.
2016: “The Winner’s Kiss” by Marie Rutkoski
Like the previous entry, you’ve probably heard me talk about this series multiple times before, but for good reason! This is probably the best ending to a trilogy that I’ve read. Previous to this book, I’d become jaded by being let down by finales before, so this book was key in instilling my hope back into series conclusions.
2017: “The Sun and Her Flowers” by Rupi Kaur
Some of Kaur’s poems are plastered on my collage wall, and every time I read them, I’m filled with both empowerment and contentment. Kaur shows how poetry can be accessible and relevant, and I’m grateful for the quiet strength that her work instills in readers.
2018: “Circe” by Madeline Miller
Released on my 18th birthday, I couldn’t have asked for a better gift. This book is beautiful, from its prose to characterization to interweaving of the Greek mythology. Similar to the last entry’s themes, the empowerment discovered through Circle’s personal growth continues to have such a poetic and profound impact on me.
I’m not sure what my book of this year is yet! I managed to get a good amount of reading done this summer, but there are still a few books that came out in 2019 that I’m planning to read this winter break. I’m excited to see what this next decade brings to the literary world and what I’ll be reading. See you all in the roaring ‘20s!
Hollie Lao is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.