Another year has come to pass; in one way it felt as if 2009 sped by me like a bullet, leaving me breathless and an little confused (what the hell was that?), in another way it seemed as if it would always be 2009, an unending nightmare of job losses, home values dropping and a slow economic recovery. This was my son’s senior year of high school and I was warned the year would speed by leaving me wondering what happened to the small child I held in my arms not that long ago. The person who warned me was right; this last year with my son is going to be over too soon. Yet, I hope 2010 brings changes to our economy and to my personal life. I do look forward to ringing in a new year!
Like most readers, one of the things I reflect on this time of year is my list of past reads. I mull over the titles of my reads as I get ready to list my favorites. Most years I have one in particular that really stands out; one that has stayed with me all year long. This is when writing my list is easy, when I have one perfect book to write about. This year is wildly different. This year I realized I have read some really great books both fiction and nonfiction. This last year took me from the birth of India to Jewish vampires in modern day Brooklyn. I read about the lives of medieval children and a Roman doctor and his assistant. I finally read Outlander and four classics I have been putting off. I fell in love with a new author to me and reconnected to an old favorite. This certainly has been a year of a variety of genre’s and authors.
Remember I said this year seemed to drag on? Well imagine my surprise to find that some books I thought I read last year were actually read this year! As I looked at my spreadsheet it dawned on me that I had a long reading year. I could have sworn I read Midnight’s Children in 08, but no, I read it last January, same with Stephen Hawking a life of Science by Michael White. I thought I had read it long before I really did. This threw me off as I had a pretty good idea of which books would make my top 5 but after looking at my January reads, I had to rethink my list. With so many good reads I had a very hard time narrowing down my favorite or even favorites.
I had to come up with new criteria in order to keep my list short.
The books on my favorite 2009 list are books that:
Held my attention for long periods of time; some I read in one sitting some, I read in just a couple of days. I picked up Lady Macbeth not knowing I would not put it down until I finished.
Had characters that stayed with me long after I finished the book. I always feel a book is well done if I think about its characters after I have moved on. . Marisha Pessi wrote some very memorable characters in Special Topics in Calamity Physics.
Made me cry. I have been told I am to stoic and not easily moved, so any book that brings me to tears or hits me emotionally is an exceptional read. I would question anyone who said they read Glass Castles and did not feel something.
Taught me something and or made me eager to learn more. I had no idea medieval children led such normal lives and that evolution is taking place for us to see and seems to be accelerating in some species.
Nonfiction that read like a novel. I ended up with more than one nonfiction book on my list this year because a few of them read like entertaining fiction. Thomas Levenson’s Newton and the Counterfeiter comes to mind as I write this.
So this was my criteria, now here are my lists; again a new thing for me this year two lists.
The Greatest show on earth Richard Dawkins
Glass Castles Jennett Walls
Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation Mitch Horowitz
Stephen Hawking a life of Science Michael White
Medieval Children Norme Ome
Isaac Newton and the Counterfeiter Thomas Levenson
Midnight’s Children Salam Rushdie
Lady Macbeth Susan Fraser King
American Gods Neil Gaiman
Special Calamity Topics in Calamity Physics M Peese
Between a bridge and a river Craig Ferguson
Half the Blood in Brooklyn Charlie Huston (this is on my list not because it is great writing but because it was cheep fun and was like nothing else I have read in a long while)
Well dear reader, this is my list. I read many good books this year which made it hard to narrow down to just a few. I look forward to what next year brings and I look forward to sharing more with you.
If you have a list please include a link in the comment section. I am eager to see what others pick for their top 2009 reads.