Thursday, December 31, 2009

My very own "Best of 2009" list

If you've watched TV or rolled through your favorite blogs in the last week or so, you've seen dozens of "best of 2009" lists. Cliched as the idea may be, each listmaker comes from a different perspective with different tastes, so I always stop and read. Here's mine.

Young Adult Fiction
  1. Unwind by Neal Shusterman -- This one stayed with me a long time after I finished. You can read my full review here.
  2. The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins -- These books made a lot of lists. Word of mouth has spread like wildfire among my students, so much so, I had more students read Collins the first semester for their independent reading project than Stephanie Meyers (Twilight books).
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher -- Another haunting book that examines the devastating snowball effect of gossip and rumors.


The Doomsday Key by James Rollins -- Rollins is always a lot of fun. I reviewed this book in my What I read this summer post.


On Writing by Stephen King -- I read this book for the third time this year. I get something different from it every time. The first half of the book is a memoir focused on King's path to writing. The second half is a toolbox for writers. The memoir is poignant, funny, and inspiring. The toolbox is exactly what it claims to be...a toolbox full of excellent information.

Short Stories

I teach a unit on short stories as part of my professional life, but I rediscovered them in my personal reading this year. Thank you iphone Kindle. I read two particularly noteworthy stories this year.

  1. "The Wife's Story" by Ursula K. Le Guin -- This is a great story for anyone who likes the paranormal. The twist was delightful. I love being surprised.
  2. "By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benet -- Another engaging story with a twist. Click on the link and read it for yourself.

Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy

I read more of these two genres than I could possible list. When I shuffled through the large pile in the corner of my bedroom, I couldn't even remember what happened in half of them. I almost downloaded one of them onto my phone because the title wasn't familiar when I surfed through Amazon. However, three authors made a big impression on me this year.

  1. Rachel Vincent -- I read two installments in her cat shifter series this year. Shift and Prey. Both devastated me. I discussed Shift at length in this post and Prey in my summer reading post. If you haven't read Vincent, buy Stray, her first book, and go from there.
  2. Karen Marie Moning -- My favorite ending in a book this year was Faefever. It was a true "Oh Shit!" ending. I just read Dreamfever last week, and it has a cliffhanger ending as well. Moning's characters are ambiguous. The first person POV keeps you guessing as to who the true bad guys are.
  3. JR Ward -- I'm a crazy fangirl. Ward can do no wrong. Read my review of Lover Avenged here. Her writing style is "in your face." Her characters are "in your face" badasses, and I love them. In addition to her Black Dagger Brotherhood books, she started a new Fallen Angels series this year. Covet was the first in the series. Fallen Angels is set in the same universe as the BDB, but the characters are different. You can buy BDB as a boxed set. Go now and get them!

My Family's Favorites

  1. First born son: A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking -- My kid who hates school loves this book. He started a lot of sentences with "Did you know..." while he was reading it. No, I didn't know, but it was always interesting.
  2. Young son: Gym Candy by Carl Deuker -- If you have teenage boys who like sports, buy them a Carl Deuker book. Son #2 has read every book Carl Deuker has written since reading Gym Candy.
  3. Bruce: House to House by SSG David Bellavia -- This is one marine's account of the original invasion of Fallujah. Bruce read it cover to cover in a day or two.

There you have best of 2009 list. I hope you have a wonderful new year filled with many excellent books!

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed your list. I agree with you on Stephen King's book. I find myself referring to it often.

    Happy New Year!