These are the books first read this decade that I really think will stick with me. It was tough to choose, but I realize that all of these are books that I want to read over and over, so there you have it. In alphabetical order by author, because I can't possibly rank them:
Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen -- I love them both so much, I can't choose one over the other.
West with the Night by Beryl Markham -- Nonfiction that's as good as fiction. This book is so wonderful, I tried to read it slowly to make it last longer. Get the illustrated version if you can.
Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier -- now I'm fascinated by Vermeer.
Bleak House by Charles Dickens -- the ultimate Victorian writer. You can't beat the cliffhangers and brilliantly intertwining plots and characters. (Also a brilliant TV adaptation by the BBC!)
Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman -- Fat Charlie is the son of a god and learns to deal with it. The audio adaptation by Lenny Henry is hands-down my favorite audiobook of all time. I bow to my librarian friend Melissa for recommending it. I am forever in her debt.
Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell -- like Jane Austen, but with more pages so it lasts longer!
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon. Heartbreaking and fascinating.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith -- Why did I wait so long to read this book. Kicking myself!
Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck -- completely converted me to Steinbeck.
The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope -- I couldn't put it down, I've never read an 800 page book so fast. And the timeliness of the financial scandals is pretty eerie.
The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton. Both beautiful and tragic, but I can't choose one over the other.
So -- a great look back a great decade of reading! I'm already immersed in some great books for 2010.