Top Ten Tuesday: Ten books I loved in my first year of blogging

Top Ten Tuesday (hosted by The Broke and Bookish) is not something I participate in every week, but sometimes a particular topic appeals to me and I decide to put a list together. This week’s ‘throwback freebie’ theme gives me a chance to look back at some of the great books I read during my first year of blogging (from October 2009 to October 2010) – it seems so long ago now! This list could have been much longer, but I have narrowed my choices down to the following ten:

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1. The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier (read May 2010)

I also read and loved My Cousin Rachel in 2010, but I’ve chosen to feature this one here as it’s a less well-known du Maurier novel which really deserves more attention!

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2. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë (read February 2010)

Despite having read both Charlotte Brontë and Emily Brontë as a teenager, I didn’t get round to trying one of Anne’s books until 2010. I loved The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and went on to read Anne’s other novel, Agnes Grey, later in the year.

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3. Wild Swans by Jung Chang (read April 2010)

The first of two non-fiction books on my list, I found this memoir of Communist China shocking, fascinating and completely riveting.

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4. The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox (read May 2010)

I loved this complex and atmospheric mystery set in Victorian England – and I thought the sequel, The Glass of Time, was even better.

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5. The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas (read June 2010)

Dumas is a favourite author of mine and although this book is much less famous than The Count of Monte Cristo or The Three Musketeers, I still loved it. A book about a contest to grow the world’s first black tulip may not sound very exciting, but this one certainly was!

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6. Miss Ranskill Comes Home by Barbara Euphan Todd (read June 2010)

2010 was the year, thanks to blogging, that I discovered Persephone Books. This one, about a woman who returns home after four years trapped on a desert island only to find that war has broken out in her absence, is still one of my favourites.

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7. Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (read November 2009)

This was one of the first books I reviewed on my blog. I loved it and, despite the length, I would like to read it again one day!

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8. A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy (read July 2010)

I also read and loved Tess of the d’Urbervilles in the same year, but, as with the du Mauriers, I want to highlight this one because it is the less well-known of the two.

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9. Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain (read November 2009)

This moving account of Brittain’s time as a VAD nurse during the First World War is the second non-fiction book on my list. It’s both heartbreaking and inspirational!

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10. Middlemarch by George Eliot (read August 2010)

Having previously had two failed attempts to get into Middlemarch, I joined in with a readalong in the summer of 2010 – and was glad I’d given it another chance because I loved it.

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Well, I’ve enjoyed my little trip down memory lane! Have you read any of these books? If you’ve been blogging for a while, as I have, which books do you remember loving in the first year you started your blog?

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27 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Ten books I loved in my first year of blogging

  1. margaretskea Author of prize winning historical novel Turn of the Tide says:

    Ashamed to admit I’ve only read 1/2 of these, but loved those I have. And totally agree re the Scapegoat – I think it is one of du Maurier’s best. It was also televised relatively recently, and done well I thought.

    • Helen says:

      The Scapegoat is a fascinating book – so clever and thought provoking! I have since read almost all of du Maurier’s other novels, but that one is still in my top three or four.

  2. Sandra says:

    What a fantastic list! Some favourites of mine too, and several others are on my ‘must read’ list. It makes me think I should explore the one or two that are new to me.

  3. Jess @ Jessticulates says:

    Great list! I had to read bits of Vera Brittain’s work during my A Levels and loved it. I’ve read bits of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, too, while studying but I’ve never read it through from start to finish which is something I definitely need to rectify, and Wild Swans and The Scapegoat are both on my TBR as well. The Black Tulip sounds really interesting, I’ll have to check it out!

    • Helen says:

      I found Middlemarch very slow at the beginning, which is why I kept putting it down, but once I got past the first few chapters I loved it. I hope you do too!

  4. J.E. Fountain says:

    I admire your choices of some of the lesser known works of classic authors. I’m also very anxious to get to the lesser known of the Bronte Sisters. I loved J.E. by E.B, but nearly hated W.H. by E.B., so I’m interested in how Anne settles the tie.

    • Helen says:

      I love both Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights, which seems to be unusual as most people say they like one but not the other! I think you’ll find Anne’s writing style very different from her sisters’ and hopefully you’ll enjoy her books as much as I did.

  5. cirtnecce says:

    What a lovely Top 10! I am almost tempted to delve into a similar list. Wild Swans is one of my favorite all time books and I love the Black Tulip. But I never managed to complete either Middlemarch or Tenet of Wildfield Hall. I know both are classics, especially Elliot, but I simply could not get going. Maybe I will attempt it again soon!

    • Helen says:

      I would recommend trying Middlemarch again, as it did take me a few attempts to get into it. I read it with other bloggers for a readalong, so I think that helped to motivate me. I’m glad you love Wild Swans and The Black Tulip too! 🙂

    • Helen says:

      I think you would enjoy both The Black Tulip and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, Jessica. All of Daphne du Maurier’s books are good, in different ways, but The Scapegoat is one of my favourites of hers.

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