A Book Nerd’s Look at the Best Books of the Decade (2010-2019)

As 2019 comes to an end, “Best Books of the Decade” lists are bound to start popping up everywhere. This is ours. Of course, as a used book store we also want to remind you that every book is new if you haven’t read it yet, so I’ve also added a list of the best books I’ve read this decade!


The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot—A nonfiction book and winner of the National Academies Communication Award (published 2/2/2010)

  • Honorary mentionRoom, by Emma Donahue (published 8/6/2010)
  • Best book I read in 2010Red Harvest, by Dashiell Hammett (published in 1929)


Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline—A science fiction novel that is a treasure of pop culture and 80s references. (published 8/16/2011)

  • No honorable mention neededReady Player One is hands down the best book from 2011.
  • Best book I read in 2011Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver (published 2/14/2010) (I didn’t read Ready Player Oneuntil a few years later.)


A Man Called Ove, by Frederick Backman—The debut novel of one of Sweden’s most successful authors about a grumpy old man and the boisterous family that moves in next door. (published 8/27/2012)

  • Honorable mentionThe Fault in Our Starsby John Green (published 1/10/2012)
  • Best Book I read in 2012Divergent, by Veronica Roth (published 4/26/2011)


The Goldfinch, by Donna Tart—Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, this novel examines the devastating impact of grief and the underworld of art and wealth. (published 9/23/2013)

  • Honorable mention: Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi (published 5/14/2013)
  • Best book I read in 2013Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card (published 1/15/1985)


The Martian, by Andy Weir—This science fiction novel peppers humor into life and death situations and was nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read. (published 2/11/2014)

  • No honorable mention neededThe Martian was hands down the best book from 2014.
  • Best book I read in 2014Cinder, by Marissa Meyer (published 1/3/2012)


Go Set a Watchman, by Harper Lee—The long awaited follow up to To Kill a Mockingbird leaped to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list almost before it was published, with 2 million advance copies sold. (published 7/14/2015)

  • Honorable mentionThe Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins (published 1/6/2015)
  • Best book I read in 2015Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline (told ya.). The second best book I read in 2015 would have been The Martian, by Andy Weir.


Harry Potter & the Cursed Child, by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany—This two-part play received eleven nominations and won nine awards at the 2017 Laurence Olivier Awards and six awards at the 2018 Tony Awards. (published 7/31/2016)

  • Honorable mentionWhen Breath Becomes Air, by Paul Kalanithi (published 1/12/2016)
  • Best book I read in 2016The Heist, by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg (published 6/18/2013)


Sing, Unburied, Sing, by Jesmyn Ward—Winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, this novel lyrically weaves together a legacy of love and violence for one family as they journey through Mississippi. (published 9/5/2017)


Becoming, by Michelle Obama—The former first lady’s memoir talks about her roots as well as her time in the White House. More copies of it were sold than any other book published in the United States in 2018. (published 11/13/2018)

  • Honorable mentionEducated, by Tara Westover (published 2/20/2018)
  • Best book I read in 2018Good Luck with That, by Kristan Higgins (published 8/7/2018)


Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James—Inspired by African mythology, this novel is a fast-paced, fantastical adventure. (published 2/5/2019)

There are still so many other books that could be mentioned like There, There, by Tommy Orange, Where the Crawdads Sing, by Delia Owens, or even All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr, but if I were to list all the wonderful books published in the last ten years, this blog would never end. So, I’ll just leave you with the knowledge that you can find all these books and more at your local Half Price Books store and HPB.com.

What were your favorite books of the past decade?