Happy New Year! A Round-Up of 2009’s Best Books

>As a persnickety librarian, I must insist on the decade’s not being over till Dec. 31, 2010, but I can still point out three best books of the decade lists that have been posted prematurely:

But what’s the rush to close out the decade? There was a lot of good reading published in 2009 alone, starting with those on The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2009.

Although Publishers Weekly editors came out with their 2009 Top Ten early and was criticized for not choosing any books by women, two of my favorite novels of 2009 are by women — The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt and A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore. Both books made Library Journal‘s Best Books 2009. A Gate at the Stairs also appears on The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2009 list, as well as The Washington Post Book World’s Ten Best Books of The Year,  the San Francisco Chronicle’s list, and Slate‘s list, Booked for the Holidays. (I think The Children’s Book came out too late in the year to make some of the lists.)

NPR’s Best Books of 2009 includes best cookbooks, best memoirs, best books for a book club, and Librarian Nancy Pearl’s suggestions for “Under-The-Radar Gift Books”, among others. For a list that’s heavy on nonfiction, try The Economist’s list of 2009 Page-Turners.

I didn’t know the online superstore Amazon had editors, but it does, and they have named Colum McCann’s novel Let the Great World Spin book of the year for 2009, part of the Amazon’s Top 100 Editor’s Picks.
One novel that I think may have appeared on every single list mentioned here, is Hilary Mantel’s work of historical fiction, Wolf Hall — the 2009 Man Booker Prize winner. Check for library availability and log in to place your hold from the Brockton Public Library System here, and read an excerpt from the book on The New York Review of Books’ Web site here. Happy Reading!

P.S. If you’re in the mood for a movie instead of a book, check out NPR reviewer Bob Mondello’s list of The Year’s Top Ten. He includes a few family-friendly suggestions.

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