January 21, 2010

Top Reads of 2009

I've been working on this Top Ten list for the past few days and needed to look at last year's list for some additional information. I thought I was terribly far behind getting this posted, but I see that my list for 2008 was also posted on January 21st. Now how weird is that?! At least I'm consistently late! ;)

I've been keeping track of how many books I read each year since 1999. I don't know if those early records included the books I quit on or just the ones I finished, but this year's total is pretty small compared to previous year's. Take a look:

1999 42 books
2000 60 books
2001 63 books
2002 72 books
2003 88 books (includes books I quit on)
2004 82 books (doesn't include the books I quit on)
2005 57 books (quit on 12)
2006 73 books (quit on 17 more)
2007 58 books (quit on 9 more)
2008 46 books (quit on 6 more)

and this year...

45 books (quit on 7 more)

Sheesh. The best years were when I was a nanny to my two nieces. Nothing like those long afternoon naps to squeeze in a few hours of reading! Oh, well. I love my job at B&N and won't worry about the numbers. A book a week average isn't terrible. I figure as long as I'm reading and I'm happy with what I've chosen, the numbers don't matter.

2009 Stats:

Male Authors 13
Female Authors 31 (same as last year!)
New-To-Me Authors 27 (same as last year!)
Fiction 34
Nonfiction 10
Epistolary 4
Current Affairs 0
Cultural Studies 1
Audio 1
Historical Fiction 5
Classics 0
Graphic Novels 1
Poetry 1
Teen 2
Kids 2
Science Fiction 2
Fantasy 1
Horror 2
Romance 0
Culinary 3
Humor 0
Travel 0
Memoir 7
Mystery/Thriller 6
Re-read 1
Did Not Finish 7
Advanced Reader Copies 11
Borrowed from Library 15
From my stacks (including ARCs) 29

And now for my Top Ten for 2009 (listed in the order read) ...

1. In the Woods by Tana French

2. The Likeness by Tana French

3. The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

4. Still Alice by Lisa Genova

5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

7. In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan

8. Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg

9. Abandoned by Cody McFadyen

10. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

Click on the titles to read my reviews

Honorable Mentions

The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

The Laws of Harmony by Judith Ryan Hendricks

Kabul Beauty School by Deborah Rodriquez

Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult

Little Bee by Chris Cleave

The Midwife by Jennifer Worth

The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Finn

Blue Water by A. Manette Ansay

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

South of Broad by Pat Conroy

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard

Havah: The Story of Eve by Tosca Lee

These Is My Words by Nancy Turner

The Mongoose Diaries by Erin Noteboom

20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill

The Language of Threads by Gail Tsukiyama

You can find links to my reviews on my list of books read in 2009.

And, finally, if I had to pick my favorite book of the year, I'd have to say it's Kathryn Stockett's outstanding novel, The Help. I read it early on in 2009 and am now listening to the audio version, which is just as good, if not better! The four readers are absolutely amazing and I've fallen in love with the characters all over again. Superb book!


  1. We have a lot of reads in common. Love your stats and lists of top books!

  2. What a great list Les. Many of the books on your list of favs and honorable mentions were also very enjoyable for me. Happy Reading in 2010 and thanks for sharing your list.

  3. Anonymous6:18 AM

    It's never too late for your list. Enjoyed reading it though. Three of your top 10 were on my top 10 I think...The Help, In the Woods and Still Alice. And my top book for the year was the same. There are several on your lists that I intend to read, at some point anyway. My mystery group is doing Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie for April I think.

  4. Yay! I'm glad to see The Help at the tippy-top of your list. I have it on Nook and it'll probably be the next book I undertake after I finish up Emma and my re-read of The Graveyard Book.

  5. Melanie Bates7:54 AM

    I just picked up *The Help* the other day... and then I set it back on the shelf because I have some forty plus books on my tbr shelf. Now... I need to go and get it!! I also have *Hunger Games* on my tbr shelf.


  6. I wish I'd kept track over the years...maybe there have been some years where I've come close to reading the number of books that you have, but I'm doing well if I read two a month these days.

    I also think this is the first year since I've known you that I haven't read a single book from your top ten. And I've only read one of your honorable mentions (These Is My Words) and I read that years ago.

  7. I just recommended In the Woods to a young friend based on your praise for it. I've got Sweetness coming from Book Depository when it is in pb. I've so longed to read it. And Dragon Tattoo sits on the shelf waiting patiently. So that's pretty good, eh, dearie? Two books we may share a love for? :<)

  8. I have read and agree with you on 6 of your top 10. I guess this means I better read the other 4.

  9. I agree completely - the number doesn't matter as long as you're enjoying your reading. I know several readers who are so intent on racking up the numbers that they barely skim the books. Seems to me that sucks the fun out. I think your list is pretty impressive - keep up the good work and good reviews.

  10. I've only read one of your Top Ten or Honorable Mentions. Several are on my TBR list and I think I will be adding a few others. Thanks for the recommendations.

  11. The Help seems to be a universal favorite--it made my list, too. I have Still Alice in my tbr pile but must get to it soon since so many people seem to love it.

  12. Anonymous6:10 AM

    It's because of you that I picked up The Help, and I'm so very glad that I did. It made my top of 2009 list as well; I'll never forget the Terrible Awful (!), but I also feel like the characters were really my friends. Skinner remains one of the best. She's such an inspiration!

  13. Staci - Reading as many ARCs as I did, it's no surprise that I share a lot of common reads with so many bloggers. Glad you enjoyed my lists!

    Diane - 2010 is starting out quite well with regards to my reading. I thought about joining a bunch of challenges, but I think I'll stick to simply reading what appeals to me at the moment. So far, so good.

    Kay - Maybe posting later is better. This way my list doesn't get lost in the shuffle of all the others. ;) I think your mystery group will really enjoy The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. His new books should be coming out pretty soon. Tana French's, too!

    Andi - I can't gush enough about The Help! You are in for such a treat. If you get a chance, listen to the audio after your read the book. Maybe 6-12 months after. It is absolutely amazing. I've never enjoyed an audio book as well as this one! The readers are spot-on in their roles and every detail and scene is as vivid and memorable as if I were a part of the story.

    Mel - Hey there!!! Don't wait. Read The Help asap! And The Hunger Games. Both are very different, but very much worth your time. You are gonna love The Help. See my note to Andi about the audio.

    Janet - Wow. I'm surprised you haven't read any of these books. If you only read one, I'd go with The Help. Or Still Alice. Both are very powerful stories. These Is My Words was my only re-read. I can't wait to read the sequels now that I've refreshed my memory.

    Nan - I hope your friend enjoys In the Woods. Rod preferred that one over The Likeness. I loved them both. And her 3rd is coming out on July 13th. It's called Faithful Place. I. Can't. Wait!!

    I think you're going to love Sweetness! But there must be more than just two books we share a love for. :)

    Pam - Which four haven't you read? It appears we have similar taste in our books. I should get my recommendations from you!

    Dave and Tami - I am always amazed to read that a blogger has read over a hundred books in on year. Even more astounding is to know some who have read over 300! I'd be satisfied with somewhere around 80, but as long as I'm reading, I'm not going to fret about the numbers. Too much. ;)

    Framed - Hope you find some winners on my list. Just out of curiosity, which book have you read and did you enjoy it?

    Lisa - The Help has become the darling of 2009, hasn't it? I wonder what Stockett is working on now. I know I'll be first in line to read whatever she publishes.

    Still Alice is a remarkable story. I had to keep reminding myself as I read that it wasn't a memoir. The author did an amazing job of getting inside the head of a Alzheimer's victim. It's quite a powerful read and probably one everybody should read.

  14. Anonymous8:00 AM

    Les, I nominated you for an award, Lesa's Creative Writers. Come on over and see!

  15. Bellezza - I'm glad you did, too. If you ever get a chance, listen to the audio. It's FANTASTIC! Skeeter is one of my all-time favorite characters. I love the four readers for this audio book and think you will, too.

    Kay - Thanks for the award. I'll try to come up with something creative if I decide to play along. :)

  16. My sister-in-law just gave me The Help! I can't wait to read it!

  17. Allie - Lucky you! My recommendation? Move it to the absolute top of your TBR stack. Do not read anything else until you've read The Help. You won't be sorry.

  18. I'm finally reading In the Woods and so far I'm really enjoying it. I have several in common with your top 10 list, except for one: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - I seem to be the only one that did not like that book. I understand how The Help can be your favorite of the year - very good book; however, I loved Still Alice more. All in all, you had a great year of great books!

  19. Joy - I'm so glad to hear that you're enjoying In the Woods. I hope you continue with her books and read The Likeness when you get a chance. I think it's the better of the two.

    Sorry to hear you didn't care for The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. Too cute of a heroine?

    I think Still Alice would have been my #1 pick had I not started listening to The Help. The audio version is incredible and I'm getting even more from the story than I did when I read it.

  20. Great list! I loved many of these too. I see you just read Mudbound! I can't wait to hear some of your thoughts.

  21. Tara - I hope to get my review for Mudbound posted tomorrow. It's been a little busy around here this week!

  22. No - as the exception to common opinion - I thought she was obnoxious, vicious, revengeful, and just plain mean. I don't like seeing children act that way - at all! However, overall, I thought the book was okay. I liked some of her wit - at times.

  23. Joy - Ah, that's right. I remember how you felt about Flavia. :)

  24. LOL Was I clear enough?

  25. Joy - Crystal clear! ;)


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