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Topic: Your best read of 2009.

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Subject: Your best read of 2009.
Date Posted: 12/31/2009 11:25 AM ET
Member Since: 11/8/2006
Posts: 871
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The end is near.  Of 2009, that is.  Of the books you completed this year, what were the absolute best?  Or if you discovered a great new series or author in 2009, what was the series/author?  Could be older work that is new to you.

For a new series, I started Stephen King's Dark Tower.  I'm on the 3rd book of 7.  The trade size books have these really good illustrations.   This will probably become one of those love it or hate it series.  So far, so good.

I tried lots of sf this year so of those.  Best Classic:  Hyperion by Dan Simmons.  

ETA:  Simmons seemingly draws his inspiration from "The Canterbury Tales." Seven pilgrims journey to the Time Tombs on planet Hyperion, a place where time has little meaning. The narrative alternates between present time Hyperion and times past as each pilgrim (Priest, Soldier, Poet, Scholar, Detective, Consul and Captain) reflects and reveals what events brought them on this pilgrimage.  Each story has a different feel. The Soldier's story is war, epic action and sci-fi violence. The Jewish Scholar's story is domestic, tame and entirely family centered. The Detective's story is mystery, love and suspense.  Each narrative interesting in its own manner.

Newer Classic:  Perdido Street Station by China Mieville. 

Surprisingly entertaining, Battle Royale by Koushun Takami.  This is popular Japanese pulp fiction selling millions of copies in Japan.



Last Edited on: 1/1/10 2:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 12/31/2009 1:38 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2005
Posts: 385
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The Help-  by Kathryn Stockett

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step.

Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed.

In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women—mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends—view one another. A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t. -AMAZON

Date Posted: 12/31/2009 3:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2008
Posts: 1,958
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Lonesome Dove, Gone With the Wind, The Art of Racing in the Rain, What is the What

All so amazing that I cannot choose just one!

Date Posted: 12/31/2009 3:52 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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I've been pimping this book pretty consistantly - but The Fountain Overflows by Rebecca West was easily my favorite book of the year, and definitely one of my all-time top ten.

Date Posted: 12/31/2009 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 2/17/2009
Posts: 834
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I have to say, the author Elin Hildrebrand.  I found her this year and read EVERY book by her this summer.  I loved each one more than the next!

Date Posted: 12/31/2009 8:48 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2008
Posts: 1,976
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The Help  by Kathryn Stockett and The Art of Racing in the Rain

Date Posted: 12/31/2009 9:32 PM ET
Member Since: 11/5/2005
Posts: 571
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Graceling and Fire by Kristin Cashore, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder, The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

Date Posted: 12/31/2009 10:01 PM ET
Member Since: 4/18/2009
Posts: 1,376
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The two best books I read this year were The Nine Tailors, by Dorothy Sayers and Farthing, by Jo Walton. The Nine Tailors is rightly considered Sayers' best book (which is saying something, considering how consistently good the Wimsey mysteries are); I absolutely loved the atmosphere. Farthing is a book I never would have read if I hadn't designed the SF Challenge; the first 2/3 are written like a classic British country house mystery that just happens to be set in an alternate England that made peace with Hitler in 1941, while in the last 1/3 all the alternate history bits come to the fore in what is simultaneously a great conclusion to the mystery and an emotional punch to the gut. It's absolutely brilliant.

 

Three other books that I personally loved (and thus rated 5 stars) but which aren't objectively quite as good are Naamah's Kiss, by Jacqueline Carey (which sadly suffers from being just the tiniest bit not quite as good as the best of the Kushiel novels); Inside Job, by Connie Willis (which sadly suffers from being just the tiniest bit lightweight compared to the best of Willis' novels); and Transformation, by Carol Berg (which sadly suffers from its sequels being way less good than it is, which caused me to reevaluate it in retrospect and become not quite as pleased as I was at first).

Date Posted: 12/31/2009 10:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2008
Posts: 1,958
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This list has my reminder list getting longer and longer.

Date Posted: 1/1/2010 2:58 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2007
Posts: 702
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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.  A runner-up would be People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks.

Subject: Mine
Date Posted: 1/1/2010 6:22 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2008
Posts: 9,343
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Date Posted: 1/1/2010 11:14 AM ET
Member Since: 4/3/2008
Posts: 541
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Well, I reread Gatsby for about the 10th time. 

Of the books I've never read before... there were  a lot, but the one that sticks with me the most and that I'm still thinking of often months later is Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin.   If you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend it.  One of the best books I've read in many years, not just this one.

Date Posted: 1/1/2010 12:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/19/2007
Posts: 5,931
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  • January- Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore, runner up: Hot, Flat & Crowded by Thomas Friedman, least favorite: On Agate Hill by Lee Smith 
  • February- Shutter Island by Denis Lehane, runner up: The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins                                                                            Honorary mention (read over January & Febuary): Preacher by Garth Ennis (9 volume graphic novel)
  • March- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov (wow- just freaking wow.  this book was horrifying and fascinating and totally enthralling. the writing is like nothing I've ever encountered)
  • April- From Hell by Alan Moore, runners up: Fool by Christopher Moore,  Breathers by S.G. Browne, Pride & Prejudice & Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith and A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • May- Let the Right One In by John Alvide Lindqvist, runner up: Duma Key by Stephen King 
  • June- Drood by Dan Simmons, runner up: The Given Day by Dennis Lehane 
  • July- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (fantastic multilevel mystery with a remarkable lead character, parts of it were really disturbing, definitely a page turner), runner up: The Strain by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan (best new vampire novel- scary, evil vamps, not romantic vamps- since Salem's Lot)
  • August- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (took me about 3 months to finish the whole thing, but woah, was it worth it) 
  • September- The Sandman by Neil Gaiman (haunting, funny, totally hypnotic fantasy, unforgettable), runners up Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, The Boys by Garth Ennis
  • October- Helter Skelter by Vincent Bugliosi
  • November- tie: The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson & The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler both fantastic mysteries, superbly written and page-turningly suspenseful
  • December- Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis (also The Terror by Dan Simmons, but that's a re-read so I'm not counting it)

Best book of the year?  That's tough, I read a lot of great books this year, but I'm going to have to go with Helter Skelter.  Although The Girl Who Played With Fire has me itching for the next book in a way no series has since Harry Potter. 

Date Posted: 1/1/2010 1:13 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2005
Posts: 1,239
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The best book I read was  Kindred by Octavia E. Butler. This was my first book ever read by her and it made me a fan. She is one of the first A. American woman Sci-fi writers and I seriously admire her.



Last Edited on: 1/1/10 1:13 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/1/2010 4:55 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2009
Posts: 611
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I think my favorite was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. 

Date Posted: 1/1/2010 5:23 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2009
Posts: 3
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My 2009 favorite reads:

  • Wanderlust by Ann Aguirre (Science Fiction Romance):  Witty, dark, adventurous and great characters.
  • Lucy in the Sky by Barbara Elsborg (Science Fiction Romance/erotica e-book):  A totally entertaining and steamy space romp.
  • The Ghost Brigades by John Scalzi (Science Fiction)  Thought-provoking, humorous, imaginative and a complete page-turner.

and last but certainly not least...

  • Strangers by Barbara Elsborg (Contemporary Romance/Erotica e-book).  The BEST contemporary romance I've EVER read!  Captivating.


Last Edited on: 1/1/10 5:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/1/2010 5:23 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2009
Posts: 3
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Last Edited on: 1/1/10 5:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/1/2010 5:23 PM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2009
Posts: 3
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Last Edited on: 1/1/10 5:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: Best reads of 2009
Date Posted: 1/1/2010 8:17 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 25
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I had many enjoyable reads this year but especially enjoyed Ariana Franklin's Mistress of the Art of Death (and the next two in that series.  As far as mysteries I also liked Monkeewrench by P.J. Tracy and just finished the third in that series, Dead Run. For romance, it was JoAnn Ross' Shattered; for paranormal it was Moning's Dreamfever and non fiction - Ron Kessler's In the President's Secret Service.

On to 2010 and the 140 plus books on my TBR list.

Date Posted: 1/1/2010 9:55 PM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,505
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I read quite a few good books.  I think my favorites might have been "It Came From Berkeley" a light history of Berkeley, California.  The other was Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas.  I don't read many memoirs.  The book is based on her life as an Iranian immigrant growing up in the US.  It is the typical immigrant story and it's quite funny.  An enjoyable read.

Subject: The Very Best of 2009
Date Posted: 1/3/2010 6:48 PM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 31
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My very best for 2009:

 

THE BOOK THIEF

THE HELP

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

THOSE WHO SAVE US

CITY OF THIEVES

Date Posted: 1/3/2010 7:35 PM ET
Member Since: 5/9/2007
Posts: 15
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I'd have to say my favorite book of 2009 was Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum!

Date Posted: 1/3/2010 11:02 PM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2007
Posts: 126
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Ooh this is tough. So many good books! If I had to choose one, I'd say Watership Down, with Birdsong, Jane Eyre, and pretty much anything by Neil Gaiman come as close seconds. 

Date Posted: 1/5/2010 3:21 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 439
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Oh no! This thread is making my wish list grow and grow!  I just ended up putting Those Who SAve Us on my WL and Elsewhere as well (sounds similar to The Lovely Bones, yes?)

Definitely my favorites this year were the Janet Evanovich Stefanie Plum series. They had me laughing out loud and hauling them around everywhere I thought I might sneak a few minutes to read a few more pages. I only made it through the first 8 so far but really love them.

My second favorite - the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer. And how can I forget The Glass Castle???



Last Edited on: 1/5/10 3:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/5/2010 8:47 PM ET
Member Since: 6/28/2007
Posts: 2,656
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The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle.  I read this back in Feb. & loved it, it is one that will stay w/ me for a long time.  She has 2 other books I haven't read yet but plan to this year...I have heard they are just as good.  I am so glad I found this author!

Here is a link to the book     http://www.paperbackswap.com/book/details/9780060564742-The+Kindness+of+Strangers+A+Novel



Last Edited on: 1/5/10 8:48 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
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