Friday, January 1, 2010

2009 Books Read and Reviewed

For those of you who are faithful readers of both my blogs, I apologize for this duplicate post. But some of you may not know that I carry on another life on my reading blog, SmallWorld Reads. And today I finished a most satisfying task: compiling my list of my Top 10 Favorite Books of the year. Click that link to go to my reading blog, or read on below. I hope you add some of my favorites to your own TBR lists, if you haven't read them already!

I read 65 books in 2009, including 20 children's or young adult chapter books (I didn't include history books, picture books, etc.) that I either read to my kids or taught in various co-op classes.

It was a good year for reading, although I was often frustrated with myself for failing to read faster. I fell asleep too frequently during my allotted before-bed reading time. Someday I will again be a person who reads during the day, but for this season of my life, I must be content with my bedtime reading.

And so, out of those 45 "adult" books read, here are my favorites:

The Top 10

Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
Cutting for Stone (Abraham Verghese)
Day After Night (Anita Diamant)
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Shaffer and Barrows)
Other Side of the Bridge, The (Mary Lawson)
People of the Book (Geraldine Brooks)
Road, The (Cormac McCarthy)
Sarah's Key (Tatiana de Rosnay)
Skeletons at the Feast (Chris Bohjalian)
Prayers for Sale (Sandra Dallas)

It was hard for me to narrow this down. I had about eight other contenders for the Top 10 list, but I'm sticking with the list above. These are books that are especially memorable to me. They were well-written, poignant, and captured my attention and imagination more than the others.

And for my number one favorite novel of the year: Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Part of the draw for me is the "sweeping epic" aspect of this novel. I love "sweeping epics" that span generations. A book like this gives me that sense of closure. Nearly all my questions as a reader were answered; the prose was perfect; and I felt truly satisfied upon finishing the novel.

Below are my two lists. Click on the titles for my reviews of nearly all these books. (A few of the children's books didn't get reviewed.) If the book as one or two asterisks** by the title, I can't really recommend it with any sort of enthusiasm.

The Whole List of Books Read in 2009

Children's Chapter & YA Books Read/Taught
Abe Lincoln Grows Up by Carl Sandburg
Across Five Aprils by Irene Hunt
Bound for Oregon: by Jean van Leeuwen
Boy in the Striped Pajamas (John Boyne)
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
Children of the River (Linda Crew)
The Christmas Doll by Elvira Woodruff
Dear Mr. President: Abraham Lincoln--Letters from a Slave Girl (Andrea D. Pinkey)
Dragon of Trelian by Michelle Knudson
George Washington Carver: From Slave to Scientist by Geoff and Janet Benge
Little Britches by Ralph Moody
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
Sounder by William Armstrong
Road to Paris (Nikki Grimes) YA
Sonshine Girls: Summer Secret (Rene Morris)
Stargirl (Jerry Spinelli)
Ties That Bind, Ties That Break (Lensey Namioka)
Wright Brothers by Quentin Reynolds

And there we have a year of reading in my own Small World. I've started 2010 out with a bang, having just finished John Iriving's Late Night in Twisted River. How will the rest of the year measure up?

For more reading lists, check out Semicolon's blog beginning on Saturday, Jan. 2.


  1. This is a good opportunity for me to say thanks for all the good reading you've led me to!

    You inspired me to pick up The Count of Monte Cristo (actually bought it for my husband to give me as a Christmas gift) but did not notice that it was abridged! So back it will go and I'll find the real deal.

    Happy new year!

  2. Your book blog has inspired me to create one of my own.

    The Road is one of my favorite books of all time. Did you see there's going to be a movie of it?

  3. so I have this vision ... I live quite near you and any time I come over, no matter the subject of our conversation, you simply hand me a book ... and it solves everything.
    except if it happens to be called Water for Elephants or
    a Complicated Kindness

    those both lick

  4. Thank you for posting the books you read in 2009. I actually took part in my local library's 50 book challenge this year and I finished up the year with 68 books. My list is not nearly as "meaty" as your list, though. I think the only books our lists share are the Stephenie Meyer books. But, I'm reading! My favorite book of 2009 was a young adult book, "The House of the Scorpion" by Nancy Farmer. My almost 13 year old daughter and I both read it and had endless great conversations about the book.

  5. I can't wait to read Cutting for Stone - I have heard so many amazing things about it! Great list!


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