Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Best of the Best for 2009

It's that time of year again, when everyone pulls out their notes and comes up with lists of best books, best music, best movies, etc. There are a few that I look forward to...Entertainment Weekly's Best Books of the year, and Stephen King's best books, songs and movies. (I had even entertained the idea of hosting a challenge to read EW's top books, but I'm thinking there is probably enough challenges out there already.) Last year I did not prepare a list of my favorite books, as I was new to blogging and had no earthly clue what I'd read in 2008. But I am prepared this year!

One disclaimer however. The books I list are not necessarily new to 2009. If you follow me, you know that I am often the last person on earth to read a book, which means if I had to stick with new books, I might have THREE on my "best" list. So you are going to get new, old, classics, the whole bit.

I started a rating system in April, so I am making a few judgements on my earlier books. But it seems I have read approximately 25 books this year that would be considered five stars. So I have to do some prioritizing, and it ain't easy. Here are my top ten in no particular order:

Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier (read-along comments here and here)

Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon (audio)

The Help - Kathryn Stockett

School of Essential Ingredients - Erica Bauermeister (audio)

Random Acts of Heroic Love - Danny Scheinmann

The Problem with Murmur Lee - Connie May Fowler

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (audio)

Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (audio)

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Schaffer (audio)

Every Man Dies Alone - Hans Fallada

Other ones that came close to the top 10, that need to be listed so I don't feel guilty:

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson (audio)

The Glass Castle - Jeannette Walls (audio)

Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri

The Little Stranger - Sarah Waters (audio)

When Katie Wakes - Connie May Fowler

The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins (audio)

Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh (audio)

The Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield (audio)

So what about yours? Are any of the books above on your lists as well?


Susan said...

Since I haven't a clue as to how many or what I've read unless I see the titles in print, I can't make a list. But one of yours I definitely did read this year...The Glass Castle...and was blown away by it. I'm looking forward to reading her new one soon.

Anonymous said...

Great list, I also did mine today, I think a lot of the blogging world will. I so need to read The Help, everyone has been raving about that book and it seems to have passed me by.

Unknown said...

Lists are everywhere today! I love lists! Between the two of us we'll make Hans Fallada a phenon. ;-) Wishing a happy new year to you and your family down in Florida.

Where do I find Stephen King's top ten list?

Sandy Nawrot said...

Susan - I fear no other memoir will ever live up to The Glass Castle. I'm reading Mary Karr's The Liar's Club right now, which is great, but just not the same!

Simon - I don't think I've read one bad review of The Help. It is phenomenal!

James - I know, I feel a mission coming on (similar to the one I have with Connie May Fowler!). Need to get the word out on Fallada! Here is Entertainment Weekly's post on Kings list:,,20317203_20331246,00.html

Julie P. said...

I've read quite a few of your top ten and I agree with you -- fabulous books. Your list is the first one where I've read more than one or two!

Kaye said...

Oh, you sure have some fabulous books on that list. I want to wish you and yours a most happy, healthy and joyous new year. Happy reading and blogging. May all your reads be 5 star!

Tasha said...

I see quite a few on your list that I'd like to read in 2010 - Rebecca, The Shadow of the Wind, The Help, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love the "guilt listing"!!! Anyway, who says one has to stop at 10?

I hope you have the happiest of new years!!!

Literary Feline said...

It's hard narrowing the list down, isn't it? My first five were fairly easy, but after that, I really struggled.

I like your idea of a EW Best Books Challenge. I'm reading that issue now (yeah, a little behind) and haven't made it quite to that section yet.

You've come up with a great list of favorites. Pride and Prejudice is one of my all time favorite books. :-)

Enjoy the last day of 2009, Sandy! And have a Happy New Year.

JoAnn said...

I've read (and loved!) 6 of your top 10, and have 2 more on my tbr list. I'm adding the other two - now!

Kimberly said...

The Glass Castle was good, but difficult for me. I have to add The Shack...I read and reread this book in much to ponder!

Molly said...

OH MY GOODNESS --- we have such similar reading tastes! I have read (and loved) 9 of the books that you listed, and I have another 4 on my TBR pile!

Personally, I think you should go for the EW book challenge. I think it sounds like a great idea.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful New Year's Eve celebration and a great 2010!

Jackie (Farm Lane Books) said...

I'm so pleased to see Random Acts of Heroic Love on your list - I hope we will still be able to persuade a few people to read it. It hasn't had enough attention in the blogging world!

I loved many of the others on your list and hope to find School of Essential Ingrediants soon.

Happy New Year!

bermudaonion said...

Great list! I've read 5 of the books you've listed and have 3 more of them in my TBR pile.

Darlene said...

You've got some great books on your list Sandy. School of Essential ingredients is going to be on my list as well and To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all time favorites. I hope you have a great reading year next year!

Happy New Year to you and your family! All the best to you in 2010!

Lauren said...

Excellent list! Happy new year :)

Serena said...

Excellent list of books. Happy reading in 2010 and happy new year!

Trisha said...

Great list of books! Rebecca was an awesome read wasn't it? That's one of those books I wish I could experience for the first time all over again.

ANovelMenagerie said...

You've picked some great ones there! I also read Pride & Prejudice for the first time this year. I also read To Kill A Mockingbird (didn't like that as much). I also liked Barrows' book.

Happy New Year.

Nise' said...

Many great books on your fav list. I listened to Mockinbird and P & P this year as well.

Zibilee said...

Great list Sandy! Many of those books are on my list for the upcoming year and I will have to agree with the greatness of The Shadow of the Wind. If you haven't read the sequel, The Angel's Game, I highly recommend it. It's much darker than Shadow, but in my opinion, more impressive. My favorite book this year was Great Expectations. It was my first Dickens, but it made me an instant fan! I hope you have a very Happy New Year!!

Melissa said...

You do have a lot of audios on your list! I have quite a few of yours to read, but most I already have copies of, so I'll be going the print route instead of audio.

Ti said...

I just love a good list. You did a good job with yours and I am glad you includes the ones that almost made it too.

Happy New Year Sandy!! Here's to another year of reading!

Kathleen said...

Rebecca is certainly at the top of my list this year too! It was fun reading it along with all of glad I joined the read-a-thon and got to know you!

Anonymous said...

Great list! And I wish you a happy new year with lots of other great books :)

I think all 'normal' readers make a list of the books they've read during the year and not necessary published that year? LOL I think I've read only one book that originated from 2009.

I still have to decide on a definite list (no time today, I hope to get to it in the weekend). I liked To Kill a Mockingbird but it won't make my top list. Brideshead Revisted ends up high though :)

Anonymous said...

I've read quite a few of those and plan on a few more this year. Great list!

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I love The Help and Pride & Prejudice. Still have to get my hands on a copy of The School of Essential Ingredients along with enough time to read it!

Iliana said...

I always look forward to best of year lists! And, I can totally relate to not reading the newest books first.

I can't wait to read some of your favorite books, especially The Help!

Here's wishing you a great 2010!

caite said...

you and I must have similar tastes. because I agree with all your picks that i have read, which are quite a few actually. About 10 in total.

Which tells me I need to check out the others I guess!

Beth F said...

Great lists! Many on there I liked too or I have added to my wish list.

The Bumbles said...

The Help is by far the best of the year. My other 5* was The Book of Lost Things - but that didn't come out in '09.

If you are looking for another terrific memoir try All Over But The Shoutin'. It won't let you down.

Anna said...

Great list! I'll be compiling mine tomorrow, and Guernsey and the School of Essential Ingredients will be among my favorites, too.

Diary of an Eccentric

Lisa said...

School of Essential Ingredients keeps showing up on "best of" lists. I'm going to have to get this sooner rather than later!

Jenners said...

My subscription to EW ran out ... what are their top books of the year ... just out of curiosity? And I do like your concept for that challenge!!!

I'm glad that some of your favorite reads are on my list for 2010. I'm just going to start the Potato Peel book now!

Ana S. said...

I need to read Random Acts of Heroic Love! And yes, Rebecca and To Kill a Mockingbird and so on are amazing. Happy reading in 2010, Sandy!

Eidin said...

:Yhe Help" made my list. Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri should have been on my list because she's one of my favorite authors.