I love making and reading lists so I’ve been enjoying everyone’s posts with their choices for the best books of the year. Of course I had to create my own list. Keep in mind that this isn’t the “10 best books published in 2009″; simply the “10 best books I read in 2009.” To create my list, I looked at my list of the 77 books I read in 2009 and kept deleting ones until I got down to the 10 books I liked the most. This was where assigning ratings to books are a curious thing, For example, although I enjoyed I Love You, Beth Cooper and still think it is a funny book, it didn’t end up making my top 10 list and I included a book that I gave a lower ranking to initially. (Still, it is a really good and funny book. You should read it.)
So here is my favorite books I read this year and a little commentary about each one.
- Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips – I read this very early in the year, and I still have good feelings about it. The concept was clever, well-executed and it was just fun with a naughty sense of humor that I just loved.
- The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer – Do I feel guilty including this on my list? Yes. But damn it if this series (which I was prepared to hate) didn’t suck me in (pun intended) and force me to read all four books within two weeks. A total guilty pleasure.
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery – Anne lives in the world I wished I lived in or grew up in. I adore her and want to live in the Avonlea she described. So glad I finally read this classic; I think all girls should be forced to read it during childhood! I sure wish I had!
- The Ridiculous Race by Steve Hely and Vali Chandrasekaran – I love humorous travel books and this one was just so fun. It isn’t your conventional travel narrative but rather a snarky, fun account of two sitcom writers racing around the world. (You’ll pick up some basics about their travels but this is more about their personalities than anything else.)
- Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore – I first read Moore’s You Suck and knew I had to read more by this author. During December, I treated myself to Lamb and it was brilliant. I have yet to write my review for it, but anyone who can pull off writing a “Fourth Gospel” and mix sincerity, spirituality with sarcasm and snarky humor gets my eternal devotion.
- Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster – I started with Bitter Is the New Black, but I liked this follow-up even better. Jen Lancaster has the kind of writing style that I wish I had and a knack for making her everyday life a fount of fun and hilarity. I’m so glad you lost your job and turned to writing, Jen Lancaster! I’ll be reading the rest of your books as soon as I can get them.
- Little Children by Tom Perrotta – I first discovered this author after I read The Abstinence Teacher. I loved his mix of satire that also had a human edge to it. After The Abstinence Teacher, I read Little Children and Election. In the end, I think my favorite was Little Children but I don’t think you could go wrong with any of these books.
- I Was Told There’d Be Cake by Sloane Crosley – I picked up this book of essays not expecting too much. It had been sitting on my bookshelves forever, but I ended up just loving her writing and perspective on things. Reminds me a bit of David Sedaris (and that is a very high compliment) but with a more feminine slant.
- Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri – This collection of short stories changed the way I think about short stories. I found her writing sparse yet full of detail. Simple yet conveying complex thoughts and feelings. Each story was perfectly crafted, and I still sit in awe of her talent. I’ll be reading Interpreter of Maladies in 2010 and I can hardly wait.
- What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn – I have no idea why I requested this book from Paperback Swap earlier this year (and if one of you is responsible, I want to thank you). It sat and sat there, and I kept passing it by all year until I finally picked it up in December. It was so unexpectedly wonderful, and I immediately fell in love with the characters, the story and the author. I don’t see that Ms. O’Flynn has any other books out, but I’ll be there when she writes another.