Monday, December 28, 2009

Diane's Top Books of 2009

The New York Times earlier this month released it's 10 Best Books of 2009.

I've read my usual 96 books this year (exactly 8 per month), but none of those 10 were on my list.

Oh well. In honor of the Times' annual list, I've made my own list of 10: my favorite 5 books I read this year (no matter what year they were published), plus 5 more special awards.

Drum roll please:

My Top 5 Books of 2009:

1. "Norwegian Wood" by Haruki Murakami. This book catapulted up to my #2 favorite book of all time (after "Pride and Prejudice"), and I've read about one Murakami book a month since I was introduced to him in August. It's a short, fast read, and one that'll stick with you long after you're done.

2. "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" by Seth Grahame-Smith. If you love Jane Austen's original, you'll find this extremely witty. And if you can't stand Pride and Prejudice, you'll still find this funny. Now I can't wait for the movie.

3. "Olive Kitteridge" by Elizabeth Strout. After I read this winner of the 2009 Pulitzer for fiction, I immediately read Strout's earlier books. Simple yet descriptive style. I didn't particularly like Olive, but I wanted to read more about her and her neighbors.

4. "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle" by Haruki Murakami. This was my first Murakami book, recommended by a co-worker. Now at least three other co-workers have read it or are in the process of doing so. It's long, but it's worth it. I don't know how he comes up with stories like this. I call it Japanese magical realism.

5. "The Shadow of the Wind" by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Murder. Romance. Spain. Books. Who could ask for more?

The Book That Was Just as Boring as It Sounds Award:
"Franklin Pierce" by Roy Franklin Nichols. I know more about Pierce's cabinet than I ever wanted to know. Much more.

The Most Childish Book Award:
"The End" by Lemony Snicket. I'm no book snob! I finished A Series of Unfortunate Events this year.

Best Nonfiction Award:
That's a tough one. Who made these categories, anyway? I guess I would have to go with "The Omnivore's Dilemma" by Michael Pollan, simply because it made my think more about what and how I eat. I had no idea my system was so full of corn.

The Book That Made Me Respect Its Subject Much More Award:
"Millard Fillmore" by Robert J. Rayback. He's rated as one of the worst presidents, but I think he's underrated as a person. I had no idea he was so instrumental in the history of Buffalo-- and it seems like he was a pretty nice guy, too.

The Book With the Best Quote Award:
"Is He Popenjoy?" by Anthony Trollope. The quote: "When grown people play at being children, it is apt to be dangerous."

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