Friday, January 1, 2010

2009: A Year of Reading

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 literature 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?


Greg Zimmerman said...

Yeah, the best thing about Cutting For Stone is how carefully constructed it is. No detail is wasted - everything means something, and it all is revealed eventually. Just brilliant storytelling!

Petunia said...

Cutting for Stone and Prayers for Sale also made my favorites list. It was the characters that made these books special for me. I loved Ghosh and Henny.

wisteria said...

Great list!! Cutting for Stone and Sarah's Key are in my TBR pile. Glad you liked them as I will be reading them soon. My post will be up soon.
I had Guernsey on my top pics, but took it off because I never reviewed it. I might tack it on as a PS. because I loved it so much. LOL

OEBooks said...

Great list, especially hearing Greg's comment. Think I'll try the Cutting Stone, and the Potato Peel Society as well. Just checking into some on your list my Amazon wish list for 2010 has gone up, Up, and UP! Thanks!!!

Rebecca Reid said...

sounds like it's been a great year! I hope 2010 is just a promising!