Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Year-End Wrap-Up 2009

We are back in town after a little Christmas jaunt up to my parents' house in Northern California. We had a lovely time. I took my daughter to see the San Francisco Ballet's production of The Nutcracker, which was magical. I'm not sure which I enjoyed more, watching the dancing, or seeing the scores of little girls in the audience, all dressed up in their holiday finery. My daughter loved it all!

I always hesitate to do a year-end reading wrap-up, because I usually haven't read that many books actually published in the year I'm wrapping up. This year I have a few books from 2009 to recommend, so I will. I'll also throw in my cousin's favorites of the year, since he's a voracious reader, he reads mostly new fiction and non-fiction, has good taste, and his favorites include a bunch of things I want to read!

Some of my favorite reads of 2009, published in 2009:

The Anthologist: A Novel, by Nicholson Baker
The Lacuna: A Novel, by Barbara Kingsolver
The Believers: A Novel, by Zoe Heller
A Gate at the Stairs, by Lorrie Moore
The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

Lit: A Memoir, by Mary Karr
Confections of a Closet Master Baker: One Woman's Sweet Journey from Unhappy Hollywood Executive to Contented Country Baker by Gesine Bullock Prado

My cousin's 2009 favorites include:

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned: Stories-Wells Tower
The Believers-Zoe Heller
Sag Harbor: A Novel-Colson Whitehead
Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It-Maile Meloy
Juliet, Naked: a novel-Nick Hornby
A Gate at the Stairs-Lorrie Moore
A Good Fall: Stories-Ha Jin

The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon-David Grann
Losing Mum and Pup: A Memoir-Christopher Buckley
The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter-Jason Kersten
True Compass: A Memoir-Ted Kennedy
Lit-Mary Karr
The Hunger: A Story of Food, Desire, and Ambition-John DeLucie
Dangerously Funny: The Uncensored Story of "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour"-David Bianculli

What does your year-end wrap up look like this year? Do you make an accounting of what you've read in the year?


Bookfool said...

I haven't read any of those titles, but I have a copy of The Help. Need to get to that, don't I? Thanks for mentioning the book about the Smothers Brothers. I hadn't heard of that.

I'm on a bloggy holiday break, so I haven't even begun my wrap-up. It's going to be a nuisance since I've read 200 books, this year. That's by far the most I've ever read and I always have trouble narrowing down to favorites.

Tara said...

I enjoyed your list and several of the titles, too! I do keep a list, and I don't necessarily think it needs to include only 2009 books - all this to say I would love to hear about other favorite books of yours!

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on The Help, but boy did I struggle through The Lacuna.

Are you finished with jury duty??

Happy New Year!

Rebecca H. said...

I like to do a year-end wrap-up even though I don't read many brand new titles, but my wrap-up is all about me and what I've read from any decade -- it's not about recent books! I just finished The Anthologist, and it's definitely going on my best-of list. It may be the only one from 2009 to make it.

Gentle Reader said...

bookfool--200 books! You rock! I think you'll like The Help--it's a page-turner! Enjoy your holiday break :)

Tara--I think I got sucked in by all those "best of 2009" lists I kept seeing, but I agree, I like hearing about the whole of everyone's reading--in fact, I think it's more fun to find out about hidden gems people have read that might be years, decades, even centuries old!

softdrink--I hear you on The Lacuna, too--it's not a page-turner, like The Help, but I'm a sucker for Kingsolver's style, and I loved the tidbits about Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo :)
And OMG, yes, finally, jury duty is over--we squeaked in with a verdict the Monday before Christmas, so everyone except the Judge was able to make it on their holiday travels on time! The Judge had to cancel her flight back east--but since there was a blizzard that day, it was probably a good thing anyway. Hope you had a lovely holiday!

Dorothy--I just loved the voice of The Anthologist. Very entertaining. I hear you on the list, and I agree, it's actually more interesting to see the whole of everyone's reading, not just the recent titles. I'll probably write more about my year of reading. Looking forward to seeing your wrap-up!

stefanie said...

Fun! I have The Lacuna and The Anthologist on my TBR list so it is nice to see they made you best of the year picks!

Ti said...

I forgot all about Losing Mum and Pup. I heard Buckley on NPR radio one day and after his interview I quickly added it to my list and then promptly forgot about it. Glad to know your cousin enjoyed it.

Gentle Reader said...

stefanie--I enjoyed both--both had unique voices. Let me know what you think if/when you get to them :)

Ti--It's been on my list since I heard him on NPR, too. So glad my cousin recommends, since my taste usually lines right up with his!

Iliana said...

Glad to hear you guys had a wonderful holiday.

And, I definitely have Barbara Kingsolver's book on my wish list!

litlove said...

I love your best of fiction list - I want to read ALL the books on it, and I did get The Help for Christmas, so I'll be starting there. I sort of do and sort of don't like the tallying up at the end of the year. It's quite fun to look back, but then I don't like the feel of time marching on, and so much still to do and wishing I'd got more done, and so on. I'd like it more if I were able to fret less, I think! :)

Bybee said...

I wonder if The Help will win the Pulitzer.

Robin said...

I'm glad you finished jury duty and had a nice Christmas break (including The Nutcracker!). Wishing you a very happy and book-filled New Year.

Gentle Reader said...

iliana--Happy new Year! I did enjoy the Kingsolver book, and if you read it, would love to know what you think!

litlove--when I do a tally there's always that feeling that I should have, could have, would have read more, if only I had more time, was more organized, etc. But there's also that nice feeling remembering the good stuff you've read, that sort of balances it all out...

Bybee--it probably has a shot, dontcha think?

Robin--Thank you so much! A happy, book-filled New Year to you, too!

Ilsa Setziol said...

I'm a Lorrie Moore fan but was somewhat disappointed with Gate at the Stairs. Also, with Half Broke Horses (on the NYT top 10). So now I'm turning to Too Much Happiness. Alice Munro is consistently brilliant--at least so far.