Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Best of 2009 - Books for Breakfast-style

These are the books that received my highest ratings (listed here in order, with best ratings at the top). I left out any glowing reference to Diana Gabaldon, and if you are a reader of this blog, you know why. Otherwise, search her name.

It is always humbling to rate someone else's work, whether it is a grade or a proposal or a book. Why should anyone listen to me?

Perhaps because I have read books since I was five years old. Perhaps because I am also a writer, so I understand the nuances of characterization and imagery. Or, perhaps it is simply because I have read more than 600 books in my lifetime, so I have an idea of what appeals to other readers.

So, sit down with a cup of cocoa and peppermint schnaaps, and make your reading list for next year:

THE STORY OF EDGAR SAWTELLE ~ David Wroblewski (4.75) - I hate when Oprah is correct.

THE SKY ALWAYS HEARS ME AND THE HILLS DON'T MIND ~ Kirstin Cronn-Mills (4.75) - a powerful new voice in YA writing.

WOLF HALL ~ Hilary Mantel (4.75) - I laughed, I snickered, I loved the bitchy dialogue.

BEND WITH THE KNEES AND OTHER LOVE ADVICE FROM MY FATHER ~ Benjamin Drevlow (4.5) - short stories with long reverberations.

THE GARGOYLE ~ Andrew Davidson (4.5) - still hits me as I think of it, and not many books can resonate for months or years.

OUTLIERS: THE STORY OF SUCCESS ~ Malcolm Gladwell (4.5) - I still think about the messages in this book.

THE HELP ~ Kathryn Stockett (4.3) - recent read, but it is still weighing on my mind.

WELL DESERVED ~ Michael Loyd Gray (4.3) - unexpected beauty in writing about darkness.

DROOD ~ Dan Simmons (4.25) - it's Dan Simmons? And Charles Dickens! Need I write more?

IN THE WAKE OF THE BOATMAN ~ Jonathon Scott Fuqua (4.25) - prose that made me realize I will never be a "literary" writer.

THE CHILDREN'S BOOK ~ A.S. Byatt (4.25) - epic storytelling without the fairy tale ending.

THE LIGHTNING THIEF ~ Rick Riordan (4.25) - "say it's sick writing."

THE WEIGHT OF HEAVEN ~ Thrity Umrigar (4.25) - the weight of reality; if this does not make you grateful, I do not know what will.

THE DEAD FISH MUSEUM ~ Charles D'Ambrosio (4.0) - the new king of one line intros and conclusions, and I am ill with jealousy.

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO ~ Stieg Larsson (4.0) - twisty-turny mystery for a quick read.

JOSEF JAEGAR ~ Jere' M. Fishback (4.0) - thank you to publishers who are finally letting these types of YA stories out into the world.

THE MEMOIRS OF CLEOPATRA ~ Margaret George (4.0) - a luxurious read, especially in a freezing environment.

SOMEDAY THIS PAIN WILL BE USEFUL TO YOU ~ Peter Cameron (4.0) - a copy will go to teens I want to encourage.


What will the goal be for 2010? You shall find out within the week. I promise.


Kristin Dodge said...

I'm not going to edit this, but there must be a reason why I use the word "still" so much. Perhaps our corn and grapes should go to a much better use.

Sandra said...

Edgar Sawtelle, Gargoyle, and Weight of heaven were on my favourites lists too. Wolf Hall, The Help and The Children's Book are at the top of my tbr list so I'm glad you enjoyed them. Happy reading in 2010.