My books of the decade

I hope you all had a great Christmas!

This is the time of year when bloggers start posting their ‘books of the year’ lists, but I usually try to leave mine until as late as possible just in case I read something wonderful in the last few days of December. However, as we’re also approaching the end of the decade (unless you consider that it ends in December 2020 rather than December 2019), I’m noticing that a lot of people are also putting together lists of ‘books of the decade’ and I thought I would do the same.

I began by looking at my previous end of year lists and trying to choose one book to represent each year, but quickly decided that would be impossible – in fact, I really couldn’t narrow things down any further than ten books per year. So here they are: ninety of my favourite books read from 2010 to 2018, with 2019’s choices to be added next week. In some cases I have counted a whole series or trilogy as one book, otherwise the list would have been even longer!



Wild Swans by Jung Chang
The Scapegoat by Daphne du Maurier
Tess of the d’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
Middlemarch by George Eliot
The Sunne in Splendour by Sharon Penman
The Glass of Time by Michael Cox
The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte
A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley


Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
The House on the Strand by Daphne du Maurier
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart
South Riding by Winifred Holtby
Little Boy Lost by Marghanita Laski
Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
The Children’s Book by AS Byatt
Stone’s Fall by Iain Pears


The Lymond Chronicles by Dorothy Dunnett
The House of Niccolò by Dorothy Dunnett
Here Be Dragons by Sharon Penman
Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Master of Verona by David Blixt
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Gods of Gotham by Lyndsay Faye


Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini
The Iron King by Maurice Druon
King Hereafter by Dorothy Dunnett
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham
The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
Twenty Years After by Alexandre Dumas


The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb
Little Man, What Now? by Hans Fallada
The Moon in the Water by Pamela Belle
The Convictions of John Delahunt by Andrew Hughes
Zemindar by Valerie Fitzgerald
A History of Loneliness by John Boyne
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
An Officer and a Spy by Robert Harris
The Devil in the Marshalsea by Antonia Hodgson


Imperium by Robert Harris
Death in Kashmir by MM Kaye
Temeraire by Naomi Novik
The Last Light of the Sun by Guy Gavriel Kay
The Sea Hawk by Rafael Sabatini
Beau Geste by PC Wren
The Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh
The Vicomte de Bragelonne by Alexandre Dumas
The Hollow Hills by Mary Stewart
David Copperfield by Charles Dickens


Kristin Lavransdatter by Sigrid Undset
Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz
Exposure by Helen Dunmore
Prince of Foxes by Samuel Shellabarger
Dictator by Robert Harris
The White Witch by Elizabeth Goudge
Troy Chimneys by Margaret Kennedy
The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy
Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore
The Moving Toyshop by Edmund Crispin


The Red House Mystery by AA Milne
Lost Horizon by James Hilton
Shadow of the Moon by MM Kaye
Long Summer Day by RF Delderfield
The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
Towers in the Mist by Elizabeth Goudge
They Came to Baghdad by Agatha Christie
Wintercombe by Pamela Belle
Golden Hill by Francis Spufford
His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet


The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West
The Tawny Man Trilogy by Robin Hobb
Britannia Mews by Margery Sharp
The Crowded Street by Winifred Holtby
Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce
The Feast by Margaret Kennedy
The Winds of Heaven by Monica Dickens
The Corinthian by Georgette Heyer
The Murder of My Aunt by Richard Hull
The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden


Coming soon…


Have you read any of these? What are your favourite books of the last ten years?

17 thoughts on “My books of the decade

  1. piningforthewest says:

    Quite a lot of your favourite books are the same as mine but there are also plenty that I’ll have to add to my ‘to read’ list as you’ve enjoyed them so much.

  2. Margaret says:

    I’ve read several of these too and am especially glad to see The Woodlanders, Life After Life, Mantel’s books, South Riding, Little Boy Lost, Wild Swans, The Scapegoat and the wonderful Sunne in Splendour! Such lovely memories.

  3. Jo says:

    Oh crikey. I have no idea how to look back at the decades worth of reading as I only realised that I have been keeping my blog for the same amount of time.
    There are some books on your list that I have read and I cannot believe that some of them were so long ago I am sure I only read them this year.

    • Helen says:

      Luckily, I have been posting a list of favourites at the end of every year since 2010 so I found it easy enough to look back and choose ten from each list (I couldn’t narrow things down any further than that though). And yes, it doesn’t seem like five minutes since I read some of these books!

  4. jessicabookworm says:

    Wow Helen, that is one seriously impressive list of books!! I have also read and loved The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and A Tale of Two Cities in the last ten years. I have really been enjoying these top books of the decade posts, but unfortunately, I haven’t been blogging for the last ten years, which means it would be very hard to remember everything I’ve read to do my own post. Oh well, maybe in the nest ten years?! 😀

    • Helen says:

      This was quite an easy post for me to put together as I’ve been blogging for almost exactly ten years and have posted a list of favourites at the end of every year that I could look back on. I’m glad you loved The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and A Tale of Two Cities too!

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