Monday, December 28, 2009

Top Tens of 2009

The year's nearly over, and it is so fun to look back and remember all the books I've read -- 133, and counting (might get up to 135 by the end of the week!).  Some great books, some mediocre ones, but overall, a good year.  There's really no fair way to compare say, Steinbeck to Suzanne Collins, so I've taken a cue from Suey and created four different lists.  Since I've read more than 100 books this year, I think it's pretty reasonable.  And how could I narrow it down to just 10 anyhow?

Top 10 Adult Current Fiction/Nonfiction

1. A Very Long Engagment by Sebastien Japrisot -- why did I wait so long to read this book?

2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
3. The Ginger Tree by Oswald Wynn -- again, kicking myself for waiting so long.  This book sat on my shelf untouched for about 15 years.  I loved it!
4. When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson
5. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper -- irreverent, bawdy, hilarious
6. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini -- I was dreading it after The Kite Runner, but I couldn't put it down.
7. The Family Man by Elinor Lipman
8. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
9. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
10. In the Woods by Tana French -- a good thriller, if slightly frustrating.

Top 10 Juvenile/YA
1. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak -- I cried like a baby at the end.
2. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead -- my top pick for the Newbery Award
3. The Hunger Games/Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
4. The Dead and the Gone and Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer -- engrossing and scary.  Made me want to go out and stock up on canned goods and batteries.
5. The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich -- the Native American side to all the Little House books. 
6. Pedro and Me by Judd Winick
7. Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples -- a great feminist YA book, and a great look at life in the Middle East.
8. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis -- made me laugh and cry.
9. The Circuit: Stories from the Life of a Migrant Child by Francisco Jiminez
10. Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman

Top 10 Classics:

1. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell -- the perfect book for the Jane Austen fan.

2.  Bleak House by Charles Dickens -- made me into a Dickens fan.
3.  The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
4.  Daddy Long-Legs and Dear Enemy by Jean Webster -- the book that made me start blogging.  Undeservedly ignored by readers today.
5. Can You Forgive Her? by Anthony Trollope  -- still reading it, but I love it already.
6. The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton -- not her best, but still a fascinating character study.
7.  Elizabeth in Her German Garden by Elizabeth von Arnim
8. Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell -- not so much like the miniseries, but gently humorous and endearing.
9. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
10. Don't Look Now by Daphne du Maurier
11. The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins -- the groundbreaking sensational novel of the Victorian era.  Brilliant cliffhangers.  (Sorry, I couldn't stop at just ten!)

Best Rereads of 2009

1. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton -- so bleak and tragic, but I can't stop reading it. 
2. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones -- give this to all the Harry Potter fans who need a new author to love.
3. The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham -- Kitty is another heroine who needs a good sharp slap, but her personal development makes for a great read.
4. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier -- poor Mrs. de Winter.  Best Gothic novel, ever.  The great plot twists overshadow some beautiful writing.
5. The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
6. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
7. Emma by Jane Austen -- I want to smack her, but I still love her.
8. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (OK, so it's seven books. Forgive me.)
9. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri


  1. So many things to comment on here! First, I haven't yet read The Kite Runner, but I read A Thousand Splendid Suns last year and it was just sort of meh for me. Ah well. Same thing with The Book Thief. I had Shabanu on my shelf for a really long time and finally just gave it away on Bookmooch. I didn't realize it was feminist at all. I didn't include rereads in my top books this year, but then again, I let myself have a top 20. :D

    Can't wait to see how 2010 goes!

  2. I'm looking forward to reading your top 20. I do love end of year lists. I'm thinking about doing the 10 10 next week.

  3. I have to admit, I hadn't even HEARD of Elizabeth von Arnim! I'll have to look her up :). I'm glad you enjoyed Ms Gaskell, too! I'm really hoping to read several more of hers next year.

  4. Of Von Arnim's works, I recommend Enchanted April to start. Great book and fanastic movie adaptation.

  5. Your comment about Wives and Daughters makes me want to go out and read it now!!

  6. Rebecca -- Wives and Daughters is just wonderful, my favorite Gaskell so far.


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