Friday, February 19, 2010
Laura’s Top Ten Books of 2009
I’m a little late getting to my annual list of favorite books of the year. My top ten books include books I read in the year 2009, but that weren’t necessarily published in 2009. I didn’t count books that I read again for at least a second time as I obviously love them, such as Wuthering Heights, Sense and Sensibility, Outlander, My Sister’s Keeper, Twilight, etc.
I read many good books in the year 2009 and was excited to join challenges for the first time, such as The Victorian Challenge , The Everything Austen Challenge, and The Classics Challenge. The books I picked for this list are books that I read, thought about, pondered, and have stayed with me through the year. (Also see my top picks for 2007 and 2008).
In no particular order, my top ten books of 2009:
1. Watchmen by Alan Moore & Dave Gibbons: This was my first graphic novel, and it was definitely a great first impression. Moore and Gibbon’s tale of an alternate world populated by super heroes was fascinating and thought provoking. The story, within a story “The Black Freighter” was also riveting and provided a great parallel to the story.
2. The Piano Teacher by Janice Y.K. Lee: The Piano Teacher was an unforgettable love story set in Hong Kong at the start of WWII. It was a painful story of what one sometimes has to do to survive.
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett: The Help is a multi-faceted story, on one hand it is a great story about racism in the 1960’s south, but on the other hand, it is the story of a group of very strong women and their friendship. Overall, it is unforgettable.
4. Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith: I read many great Jane Austen spin-offs this year as part of the Everything Austen Challenge. PP&Z was my favorite though as it was a totally original concept that made me laugh out loud . . . a lot! Seth Grahame-Smith kept much of Austen’s original text, but changed just enough to create a great Zombie story. I like how Grahame-Smith was able to make a lot of inside jokes that Pride and Prejudice lovers would love as you read through the book. Now there are a lot of similar type spin-offs, but I’m not sure about them. For more serious spin-offs, I loved The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview and I think it is the best Pride and Prejudice sequel I have ever read.
5. An Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon: I LOVE Diana Gabaldon. The only thing I don’t love is the long wait in between the books of her Outlander series. The long wait for An Echo in the Bone did not disappoint. It was a great novel and the only negative was that it had to end. The Outlander series is a fantastic historical fiction saga with great love, great characters, and great description. If you haven’t read the Outlander series, what are you waiting for?
6. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: I finally read this classic for the first time and loved it. In beautiful prose, Bradbury wrote a great adventure story that includes the evils of banning books as well as the evils of being caught up too much in an electronic world.
7. The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder: What is the meaning of random “Acts of God?” Are some people’s lives worth more than others? This beautiful and short book explores very deep themes. I loved it!
8. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout: Olive is not a woman that I liked, but her story is unforgettable. My entire book club loved this book and all for different reasons. A series of short stories that all involve the character of Olive Kitteridge, this book was a very interesting study on perception.
9. True Compass by Edward M. Kennedy: Whatever your politics, Ted Kennedy lived a fascinating life. His candid biography was riveting and really brought history to life.
10. Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan: I listened to the audiobook of Say You’re One of Them, and it was painful at times. It is hard to believe that such evil can still exist in the world. The stories did make you think about what it means to be human and what life is like outside of the United States.
And for a Bonus, a good light book for a good laugh, Bet Me by Jennifer Cruise.
What are your thoughts on these books? What favorite books did you have in 2009?