best of 2009

Sunday, December 27, 2009 |
I know everyone does these lists - the ones where you record your 'best' or 'favorite' reads of 2009. I had great plans before the holidays to do gift guides and so on. I got busy. So...just my Best of 2009 reading list. Not all of these were necessarily published in 2009, but I read them this year. Not all are wonderful literature (gasp!), but all ARE: moving, or entertaining, or thought-provoking or simply un-put-downable. What were your best books from the last year? Feel free to link in the comments!

Best of 2009 (in no particular order)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – You’ve probably heard all the hype by now. I thought it was completely warranted. This book made me cry in public. Yep. Couldn’t stop, and I didn’t care.

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – A gripping, rattling, non-stop action read. It ripped me up inside, and I was amazed again by the strength of dystopian YA lit as a genre.

Angels’ Blood by Nalini Singh – I love paranormal romance with a strong heroine and unique world-building. This one sucked me in with a dark story and characters I loved/hated/thought were really hot.

Wake by Lisa McMann – Up-front one of the most engaging and mysterious YA novels of the year. Really gripping storyline, and a couple of completely unforgettable teenage protagonists.

The Mysterious Benedict Society – I’m a sucker for clever films. Turns out I’m a sucker for clever children’s books, too. This was so SMART, and fun, and I loved it to pieces. I gobbled it up and was absolutely enthralled by the plotting and pacing of this delightful mystery.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld – My first foray into proper ‘steampunk.’ A delightful action adventure that ran across Europe and introduced the reader to characters as inventive and courageous as anyone could wish for. Left me DYING for Behemoth, the sequel.

Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede – Wrede is one of my all-time favorite fantasy authors, and she doesn’t disappoint in this first entry in an alternate American West. Eff and her multitude of brothers and sisters are a joy to hang with, and I’m all set for the next installment.

House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones – A follow-up of sorts to Howl’s Moving Castle, and another quirky, funny, and sometimes bizarre fantasy tale. All sorts of fun. Really.

Peter & Max by Bill Willingham – Bloodthirsty. Fairy. Story. Adventure, murder, mayhem, magic, Happily Ever After. “What?” you say? Just plain awesome. Go read it.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith – A rollicking good mash-up of zombies and a fiction classic. Both the writing and the illustrations made me laugh aloud at various points, and I gained a reputation as a zombie-lover by recommending this to friends.

Eyes Like Stars by Lisa Mantchev – Theater/fairy story with a surplus of charm and energy and verve. Really wonderful writing to boot. What’s not to like?

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – The man can WRITE. Like, whoa. I read an excerpt from his recent War Dances, and that led me to this one. Full of laughter, tears, life lessons and again, ridiculously good writing.

Soulless by Gail Carriger – You know how I mentioned love of paranormal romance and steampunk? This one marries the two with the wittiest and most entertaining dialogue I can remember reading. A jolly good time.

The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis – I read theological books, but don’t often “enjoy” them. This one…it makes you think about heaven and hell and what the divide between the two really is (if there is one). Lewis is a classical scholar and writer who can couch these deep spiritual truths in simple language and metaphors.

Pretty Monsters by Kelly Link – Take bizarre to outer reaches. Make me laugh at alien abduction stories. Do the dark in a light fantastic sort of way. You end up with this stellar short story anthology. I wasn’t a fan of the form before, but I sure am now.

Troll’s-Eye View by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling – A children’s short story anthology, with contributions by the masters of fantasy. Fairy stories told from the villain’s point of view. Another volume that made me re-think my aversion to short stories. Super awesome.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card – An absolute classic in sci-fi – the only mystery is why it took me so long to read this one. Because it blew me out of the water. Isolation and genius so well-portrayed. Was beyond impressed.

The Demon’s Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan – Hottest teenage hero of the year award goes to Nick. He’s not good for you, but he’s compelling and you have to love him. I can’t wait for more of Brennan’s writing – and swords kept under the sink.

Academy 7 by Anne Osterlund – Space school, mystery, touching romance. Put in pot, stir, add a dash of betrayal, uncertainty and distrust. Produces an amazing book that you’ll want to re-read.

What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips – This author guarantees multiple laughs, teary eyes and a happy ending. Truly wonderful romance/women’s fiction. I can’t get enough of Ms. Phillips – some of my favorite standby comfort fiction, and this one will join the stable, no problem.

And that's all for now, barring any intense, amazing reads in the next couple of days. *smile*


Jenn M. said...

OOOOh. Good list!

I am one of those people who has been apparently hiding under a rock instead of reading Hunger Games! :) I want to read it...just haven't yet!

I LOVED The Mysterious Benedict Society! I checked it out for my daughter and read it as well. There are TWO more books in the series I haven't gotten to yet. I thought it was amazingly written, especially since it was entertaining to me as an adult and it is a children's book.

House of Many Ways was pretty good too. I think I liked Howl's Moving Castle better though. You got it though...bizarre! But really fun!

Soulless is on my list to grab next time I am at the bookstore. I think it is a book I would really enjoy!

Again, great list. I really SHOULD put something together, but I will be lucky if i get my review posts up!

Lauren said...

Such a great list! The fact that you have so many I loved on there, and so many I'm dying to read, tells me I need to check out the other titles too. I'm feeling a little guilty that I've had The Knife of Never Letting Go in my TBR pile for *months* now, so that'll be one of my New Year's Resolutions for sure. Same goes for The Demon's Lexicon.

I completely agree about The Hunger Games. Sometimes books are hyped because they are *really* that good, and The Hunger Games is one of those books.

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

Ya know...I haven't read one book on this list, but there are a few I have in my TBR pile. Like Hunger Games for example - I think I'm the last person on the planet who hasn't read it!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

This is such a good list that I was forced to add the ones I haven't already read to my list of GET THESE NOW, since I loved the ones on your list I did read!

Robby said...

These books sound great!
I may have to do one of these now.

Ryan said...

Great list. It's full of book I want to read but haven't got to yet. The only 2 I have read are Pride & Prejudice & Zombies which I loved and The Mysterious Benedict Society which I found to be cleverly written.

Anonymous said...

I love lists like these! Thanks for taking the time to make one. :)

The Cozy Mystery Journal said...

So many great books on that list. I'm hoping to read Soulless soon. It looks so good.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great list. The only one I've read was Ender's Game, and I loved it. Several of the others are already on my to-read list.

Rhiannon Hart said...

Awesome list! I just bought Academy 7 yesterday as Tamora Pierce was raving about it. There needs to be more YA in space!

Lisa said...

I love reading everyone's top lists. It's really where I'm seeing the reading personalities of all of my blogger friends!

Kim said...

How great is it to have so many you liked! I haven't read Ender's Game but will add it to my list for some variety of classics. Thanks!

She said...

I'm glad to know that Leviathan and Soulless were both on your list. I ordered them both and have been saving them for the new year.

Unknown said...

Note to self: read everything on this list. Except maybe TKONLG which I am afraid of. And also Leviathan, which I have already read and enjoyed.

Tales of Whimsy said...

I could not agree more on Hunger Games :)

*high five*

Ya know I've been dying to read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian!

Maybe I should pick it up.

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