Thursday, December 31, 2009

My Favorite Reads of 2009

It's that time again- when bloggers everywhere list their top favorites of the year. Here are mine, in no particular order because I loved them all.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
, by Winifred Watson. Sunshine on the page. Loved it. Lively fiction set in England between the wars.

Cutting for Stone
, by Abraham Verghese. Amazing instant classic and beautiful surprise. A sprawling epic about love and medicine.

Someone to Run With
, by David Grossman. Fantastically well-written literary fiction about contemporary Israel, it's a story about a young girl trying to save herself and her friends.

Siberia, by Nikolai Maslov. Published in 2006 and a true story, it's far and away the best graphic novel I read this year. A stunner.

The City and The City, by China Mieville. Expertly written politico-science fiction. I really enjoyed this neat, unique novel.

Wild Strawberries, by Angela Thirkell. Light, lovely fun for a summer's
day- an English countryside comedy of manners.

Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout. A beautiful, luminous novel-in-stories about a complicated and fascinating character.

The Children's Book, by A.S. Byatt. Gorgeous achievement by one of the top writers in English today.

School for Love
, by Olivia Manning. Wonderful lesser-known novel about exiles in Jerusalem in the early 20th century.

Sacred Hearts, by Sarah Dunant. Beautiful, suspenseful story about Renaissance-era nuns.

Lavinia, by Ursula K. LeGuin. Can't say enough good things about this post modern take on The Aeneid starring one of its minor characters.

Valley of Strength, by Shulamit Lapid. Fine historical fiction about pre-state Israel about a young mother homesteading with her new husband.

The Year of the Flood, by Margaret Atwood. Great dystopia from one of the genre's best practitioners and a fine follow-up to her Oryx and Crake.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie. Beautiful, brilliant young adult coming-of-age story about a young boy growing up on and off the reservation.

Slumberland, by Paul Beatty. A fun, lively, cracking good read about an African-American man searching for a composer in modern Germany.

In 2010 I'm going to pay less attention to current releases and hype and spend more time pursuing my own interests- literary fiction, Russian and Jewish fiction, and those classics I've been meaning to read forever. So that means fewer ARCs and fewer review requests. We'll see how it goes!