Looking back, 2009 was great year for my reading list. Although I only read three fiction books (not counting the collection of Science Fiction I used as waiting-for-inter-library-loan filler), they were all remarkably good. Next year’s list is likely to be very interesting. Not only am I trying to figure out how to fit my new Kindle (thanks, Mom and Dad!) into my reading habits, but I also hope to get fiction recommendations from other people for 2010 so I can try to divide my time 50/50. Right now there are four books on my nightstand, and they’re all non-fiction. What a bad start to that New Year’s resolution.
Here are the books I read this year, and my thoughts on some of them:
- The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
- The Ten Most Beautiful Experiments by George Johnson
- When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris
- Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman - Probably my favorite book of the year. It's got a superheroes-are-imperfect Watchmen vibe going on, but it's less of a distopian view and more of a "day in the life of" the participants. I'm also apparently a sucker for novels with an alternating first-person gimmick (see also The Time Traveler's Wife). I'd be lying if I said I didn't visualize Neil Patrick Harris as the super-intelligent villain.
- The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot DÃaz
- Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell - This is the first book that I think I've read that has colored the way I read other non-fiction books. How Bill Gates got a lot of computer experience in High School in the 70s was an especially interesting bit.
- Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honeybee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis by Rowan Jacobsen
- The Gardner Heist: The True Story of the World's Largest Unsolved Art Theft by Ulrich Boser
- The Year's Best Science Fiction: 25th Annual Collection by Gardner R. Dozois
- Born to Run: The Rise of Ultra-running and the Super-athlete Tribe by Christopher McDougall - Started out slowly with some interesting ultra-runner stories, and escalated into a fantastic tale about the author taking part in a 50-plus mile run in the Mexican desert with some professionals and some legendary native runners. Makes a persuasive case that long-distance running is the reason humans started walking upright.
- The Road by Cormac McCarthy - No, wait, maybe this is my pick for book of the year. The Road was intense and bleak and depressing. My favorite thing about this book is that McCarthy didn't try to give it a story arc or a moral or a hero. It's just a guy and his son trying to get by in an impossible situation. So real, so tragic.
See also 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005.