My Best of 2009

  • Saturday, January 02, 2010

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The past year was a flurry of activity in my personal life, uprooting ourselves and starting anew in a new country. And while my reading life was put on slow burn during the hectic times, it picked up again drastically having found myself with the public library opening up limitless choices of reading material. The major changes in my life in general have likewise reflected in my reading life, having ventured into new genres and tried new authors.  I'm predicting that 2010 will mean even more reading adventures!

While I resolved to blog about ALL the books I've read, reality doesn't exactly seem to sync with resolve. Many of the books mentioned aren't reviewed on this blog.

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For 2009, here are my top authors that I've enjoyed:

Markus Zusak 

The Book Thief* needs no introduction. I'd classify it as among those books I'd want in hard bound and to always be on my shelf so I can re-read it anytime. The story of a girl's love affair with the power of the written word is uniquely told from the viewpoint of death. I've earmarked this book as to be read by my daughter when she grows up a bit more. Meanwhile, I Am the Messenger* is just as special -  a heartwarming story of how one person, no matter how ordinary, can make a difference in the lives of our loved ones and even strangers.

Philippa Gregory

I've read The Other Boleyn Girl and The Boleyn Inheritance. I had already watched The Other Boleyn Girl as a movie and it got me curious. Surprisingly, I got really engrossed in these novels. I'm not one to poke my nose into the lives of royals, but Gregory has a way of making her characters alive and not some dreary history lesson, that I couldn't help but want to learn more about how they tick. It's like reading celebrity gossip magazines transplanted to 16th Century Tudor England! Juicy insider tidbits, steamy romances, political intrigues, complicated schemes and conspiracies ... and best of all, the story usually has some semblance to truth.

Okay, last point maybe debatable, but Gregory knows her her history and teaches history in such an engaging way that it's almost a indulgence to read her. Beware though, as her books can be addictive ... you can't stop at one ...

Wikipedia got tired of me going back and forth to look at what these queens, kings and princesses really looked like (Anne can't possibly look like Natalie Portman?).

Neil Gaiman

I did a Gaiman-fest towards the end of the year, reading CoralineThe Graveyard BookStardust and The Dangerous Alphabet within a month or so! For some reason, I kept putting off reading any Gaiman because there was so much hype about him. I really didn't want to set myself up for disappointment. And each time I'd look for it on the library shelf, Gaiman's books were always checked out. Eventually, I ended up "reserving" them from the library and all the books came in one one huge bunch.

Needless to say, I loved all that I read. In true Gaiman fashion, he weaves really good macabre tales. While Coraline is a children's book - about being careful about what you wish for - it is scary beyond belief! The Graveyard Book is among my top favourite children's books; a paradoxical tale about ghosts teaching a boy to live life. Stardust is a wonderfully magical fantasy, a young man's coming-of-age fraught with danger and vengeful ghosts and witches, all in search of a fallen star. In the end, he happily embraces falling in love with the very object he was after. Lastly, The Dangerous Alphabet is a deliciously creepy and different take on the alphabet ... not recommended for kids!

Jasper Fforde

Thanks to my Bookmooch friends, I got wind of this author and have not turned back since! I have enjoyed the Thursday Next series so much! I've read: The Eyre AffairLost in a Good BookThe Well of Lost Plots and Something Rotten so far. To complete series, I need to read Thursday Next: First Among Sequels and a still untitled book 6. The whole premise of this series is innovative and imaginative, being based on a parallel yet futuristic universe which revolves around books and words. There is a very thin line between what constitutes reality and literature, as the characters tromp in and out at will, but not without consequences, of course. A true book lover's delight, there are many  references and witticisms to many other books and characters, many of them classics (which strengthened my resolve to get some classics into my reading list).

This list is just the beginning. So stay tuned ...


  1. The Book Thief made my list of best books read of '09 as well. =)

    Have yet to read any of Gaiman's books (same reasons: a lot of hype, and it's just literally impossible to find them at the library when I visit), but I'm planning to try at least one this year. I'm thinking American Gods, but would love to know if there's any one title you'd specifically recommend.

  2. Hey Michelle, thanks for coming over! Zusak is a gifted writer, and I really am looking forward to more of his books ... now if only he'd write one soon! As for Gaiman, I've never read American Gods so if you'd like to start off with something, I'd say try The Graveyard Book - its not too long and hopefully it won't put you off. (Good luck with the insane waits at the library with his books!)

  3. Ah! (Scrolling through your blog here.) I JUST discovered the Thursday Next books (haven't read it...just found them) and so I was happy to see them pop up here! Glad to know you liked them. I really want to get to the whole series this year. They sound absolutely fabulous!

  4. @ Carrie I started Thursday Next not knowing what to expect. Now am absolutely hooked! Looking forward to how you find them!


© guiltless readingMaira Gall