Sunday, December 06, 2009

Best of the year

Wow, I have read a total of zero of the New York Times Book Reviews top ten books of 2009. I at least own Lords of Finance and have another coming from the library, but sheesh! I like the Atlantic Best of List, as it has many thick history books I have been seeking. Here are my top reads of the year, some of which were published this year, some not.

The Given Day by Dennis Lehane. This one recently became available in paperback, so it is sort of a 2009 book. Anyway, this is the move to literary fiction that he was shooting for in mystic river. You get the strength of character and plot from his crime novels while he writes on a broader canvas with much bigger themes. This one rocks.

Blood's A Rover by James Ellroy. This is his triumphant return and a capper to a series of seven semi connected books that started with the Black Dahlia. It's hard to state how much this one made me happy.

The books of Gillian Flynn. Ooooo, man can this woman do dark and evil. She writes books about damaged people dealing with even more damaged (and evil) people. Among her strengths are her cutting analysis of social groups and a way with words.

The books of Michael Perry. Yeah finally something wholesome and decidely unwicked. Perry is writer and occasional EMT and farmer living in the small town Midwest. He writes philosophical essays about life. Normally this sort of thing makes me vomit, but his physical connection to the subject matter and his attitude make him a delight.

Only Yesterday by Frederick Allen. This one was written in the 30s but feels like it could have been written last week. A model for presenting a wide ranging narrative for non-history readers.

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