Friday, January 08, 2010

My Favorite Books of 2009

Lately, I have been really into list making, it must be the New Year. The other day, when I was creating my Best and Worst of 2009, I considered adding some books but didn’t want the entire list to be made up of books. Instead, I made a Best of 2009 Book List.

These books were not all new in 2009, but they are the best books I read (or listened to…I listen to a lot of audio books while at work) in 2009.

-Something Borrowed and Something Blue, both by Emily Giffin

I loved these two books. The first, Something Borrowed, is about two best friends, Rachel and Darcy, and a crazy love affair between Rachel and Darcy's fiancé.   Naturally, you expect yourself to hate Rachel, but Emily Giffin makes you feel her anguish and you end up pulling for her.

Something Blue is about the same events and the months following, but it is told from the perspective of Darcy.  I thought this was an extremely creative way to do a follow-up book.  The entire time I was reading Something Blue, I found myself putting together the pieces from the other story.  I love how two people, involved in the same event, can remember the details so differently.

I enjoyed these two books so much, I proceeded to read all of Emily Giffin’s books. They are all good and entertaining, but Something Borrowed and Something Blue are my favorites.

-The Time Traveler’s Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger

This book has gotten a lot of press because it was made into a movie this year starring Rachel McAdams. I am not typically interested in books with fantasy elements like time travel, but I received such rave reviews of this book that I decided to try it.

I was shocked by how much I got sucked in and by how much I loved this book.  I could not put it down and read within a few days. Audrey Niffenegger does an excellent job of telling a beautiful love story with unrealistic elements. I was always kept on my toes because the author flips from one date to another in the future, to another in the past, and back again.  I loved putting all the pieces together as I read.

-The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver

I tried reading this book years ago because I am a big Barbara Kingsolver fan (and it was an Oprah Book club book...I am a sucker for all things Oprah!), but I couldn’t get into it. I tried again this year by listening to the audio book version and I loved it. The family dynamic entwined with their strange living circumstances (the father is a minister who moves the family to the Congo) was fascinating. 

-A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini

Everyone I know that has read this book loves it. I always find it interesting to read about how someone else lives, especially when that person lives in a completely different way than I live. The life of the main character was certainly different than mine, but despite the differences, the story of love is always a common one.  I found this book to be eye-opening, heart wrenching, and ultimately a timeless story of true love.

-Such a Pretty Fat, by Jen Lancaster

A friend of mine recommended Jen Lancaster’s first book, Bitter is the New Black, and I loved it. I laughed and understood where she was coming from in so many ways. I continued with all of her books - Bright Lights, Big Ass, Such a Pretty Fat, and Pretty in Plaid – and loved them all, but my favorite was Such a Pretty Fat. I laughed and laughed at his book and read it within a few days.

Jen Lancaster has a new book coming out in May called My Fair Lazy.  It's partially about her addiction to reality TV(that was so my idea!) and I am so excited for it. She also has a high-larious blog, check it out.

You cannot go wrong with anything by David Sedaris.  He makes me laugh until I cry and I wish he was my best friend.  Enough said.

- Lush Life, by Richard Price

I don't usually read crime books, but I heard an interview with Richard Price on NPR and was intrigued enough to find this book at the library. 

The book is about a mugging gone wrong and a young man is shot.  Even though the reader knows exactly what went down during the murder, Richard Price still keeps it interesting.  Rather than focus on a who-done-it like most crime novels, Price focuses on the personal stories behind everyone involved.  He goes in depth in the life of everyone from the young man that pulled the trigger, to the father of the 20 something kid that dies, to the head detective's sons.

The main premise of the story is how one death can cause a ripple effect through the lives of so many and it was all so interesting.

- The Hour I First Believed, by Wally Lamb

I could spend an entire blog post writing about this book and this author.  I worship Wally Lamb.  Even though he has written only a few books, each one is remarkable.  He has the ability to tug at my soul and make me love, hate, and sympathize with his characters simultaneously.

The Hour I First Believed is about a husband and wife (Caelum and Maureen Quirk) who taught at Columbine during the time of the infamous shootings.  Caelum was not at work the day the shooting occurred, but his wife was and she deals with her recovery through the novel.

In my opinion, this book was an unforgettable journey through the lives of two very traumatized individuals and how war or violence is never the answer. 

There you have it, my favorite books of 2009. What did I leave out?  Give me your recommendations and they might end up on a Best of 2010 list!


  1. A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Poisonwood Bible are 2 of my fav books of all time. The drastic life differences made them so intriguing, they commons stories of love, family and courage really touched me. I love your list Gina.

  2. Audrey Niffenegger's new book is just as good - I just finished last night. Am also always obsessed with Laurie Notaro, you should try some of hers. Like a female David Sedaris.


thank you so much for your comment! i read and enjoy each and every one :).

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