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Out of the 158 books I read last year (sadly, 36 fewer books than in 2008), I’m trying to come up with a list of favorites.  These aren’t necessarily 2009 publications, but they’re books that I read during 2009.  This lets me include some oldies-but-goodies, and 2008 titles that I only got around to reading in January, and things like that.  It’s hard to do top 5 or top 10 lists, so I like to do the more entertaining random categories.  Here is my list from 2008, and from 2007,  and gosh, I guess I did 2006, too.  Hmm, I tend to forget how long I’ve had this blog.  I did not, apparently, do a roundup from 2005, my first year of blogging.  Oh well.

Favorite audiobooks: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (adult), The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (YA), and A Season of Gifts (juv).  It wasn’t a fantastic year for me in terms of listening – I used to be able to listen at work, but that changed when I went full-time at the library.  I got bogged down in a few long ones that I enjoyed but didn’t love, and I filled in the gaps with a bunch of Maisie Dobbs.

Favorite use of a fairy tale or folk tale: Tam Lin.

Favorite book containing a natural disaster: Nation

Favorite book about plague/disease: The Air We Breathe

Favorite gritty historical fiction: Ten Cents a Dance,

Favorite use of Arthurian legend: Here Lies Arthur

The Glad I Gave Her Books Another Chance Award: Bog Child

Favorite spunky historical heroine: The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Most disappointing fairy story: Wicked Lovely

Best use of dragons: Eon: Dragoneye Reborn

Best fantasy landscape: The Lost Conspiracy

Fantasy I would’ve loved in middle school: Fire

Best is it or isn’t it fantasy: Heroes of the Valley

Favorite sequel: Sacred Scars

Best book about writing: Miss Buncle’s Book

Favorite new mystery series: Kate Ross’s Julian Kestrel books, starting with Cut to the Quick

Favorite new author for fluff and wit: Georgette Heyer

Favorite biography: Charles and Emma and The Trouble Begins at 8

Best gothic mood: The Forgotten Garden

Best tearjerker: If I Stay (even though I barely cried)

Best time-travel: The Time Thief

I could keep this up all morning, until I’d listed every book that I enjoyed in some category, but I’ll stop here.  I managed to work most of my favorites into some category, and I’m pleasantly surprised by how many titles from ’09 bring up positive associations.

This year I’m hoping to get my numbers back up, and to read more of the new titles that I order for the library – maybe I’ll set myself a specific number.  I tend to order at least 40 books a month, which would be impossible to keep up with.  I wonder if 4 is an unreasonable goal?  Let’s shoot for that.  Last year I read an average of 13 books per month, which leaves me with 9 adult/YA/older juv titles.  Now I need to go look at my January order (almost ready to send in) and try to pick my four.

The Lacuna: A Novel The Lacuna: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver

Here is a story where the characters and setting shine through, with an audio version that’s soft but draws you in. After 16 CDs of Kingsolver’s voice, I find myself thinking in her rendition of Violet Brown, with a Carolina accent and old-fashioned sentence structure. My stars. The only fault I find is with the plot – after the movement and tension of the early part of the story, Shepherd’s years in the US lose momentum. The Cold War implications feel inevitable, and the many newspaper clippings pull the focus away from Shepherd and Violet. Fortunately, the ending hit the right note. This one didn’t hook me as much as some of her others, but it’s well worth the read for her way with words, her characters, and the fantastically vivid settings.

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January 2010

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