recap for 2008 you will see it was pretty slim pickins last year. This year I have almost 30 books that I really liked or loved. So was tough to narrow it down to my top 10 for the year.
Don’t be misled, these aren’t the finest, best-written books I read in 2009, they are just the ones that I enjoyed the most. And they are in no particular order.
The Home-Maker by Dorothy Canfield Fisher - My favorite Persephone so far. Review here.
Ship of Fools by Katherine Anne Porter - German ocean liner sailing from Mexico to Germany in the 1930s. A really interesting story about the disparate lives of the first class and mostly anti-Semitic passengers, the way they mix and the way they don’t mix.
Hotel de Dream by Edmund White - A wonderful bit of historical fiction about American author Stephen Crane and a manuscript about a male prostitute. Review here.
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins - My first Wilkie Collins but definitely not my last. Lots of plot, lots of twists and turns. I loved it. Review here.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Shaffer & Barrows - Life in the Channel Islands during WWII and plenty of book talk. Not perfect, but really, really enjoyable. Review here.
The Big Clock by Kenneth Fearing - A different kind of thriller that definitely keeps you in suspense right up to the end. Review here.
Consequences by Penelope Lively - A really wonderful multigenerational story that I didn’t want to end.
A Meeting by the River by Christopher Isherwood - A brother goes to India to see his brother who is about to become a brother. A Hindu monk that is. The story is told from both brothers’ perspective.
The House by the Sea by May Sarton - One of Sarton’s many journals. Books, garden, chores, neighbors, solitude. I read them whenever I need something quiet and evocative of simpler times.
On the Black Hill by Bruce Chatwin - An amazing novel of two farmer-brothers and their life in the Welsh borderlands. The writing and the story are quite beautiful.
The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman - Lipman is the queen of the intelligent, easy read. This was my first Lipman (I read two others this year and have another two lined up) and I loved it. This is the perfect introduction to what will become your love affair with Elinor Lipman.
As you can see, I couldn’t quite narrow it down to 10. The closest I could come was 11.
My Latest Grievance - Elinor Lipman
The Year of the Flood - Margaret Atwood
Pied Piper - Nevil Shute
The Return of the Soldier - Rebecca West
Plant Dreaming Deep - May Sarton
Some Tame Gazelle - Barbara Pym
Fly Away Home - Marge Piercy
Strangers - Anita Brookner
The Game of Opposites - Norman Lebrecht
Deluxe - Dana Thomas
Journal of Solitude - May Sarton
Anything for Jane - Cheryl Mendelson
A Jest of God - Margaret Laurence
Mr Phillips - John Lanchester
Love, Work, Children - Cheryl Mendelson
Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
The Trick of It - Michael Frayn