Year 2009: One for the Books

Well, I have to say … 2009 has been a great year on the reading front for me! My main goal was to read more than I did in 2008, which I am utterly embarrassed to admit was a measly 28 books. Yep, no typo there … 28. That’s beyond appalling, and I knew that when the clock struck midnight last year.

Total Number of Books Read in 2009: 56

(this is an all-time record for me, at least since I’ve been keeping track which has really only been since 2006 or so.)

Total Number of Books Reviewed: 48 (and some of the missing ones have been written, just not posted yet)

Here’s the breakdown:

Fiction: 29

Nonfiction: 7

Historical Fiction: 2

Audiobooks:
10

Memoirs:
8

Young Adult (YA):
12

Short Story Collections: 5

Poetry Collections: 5



New-to-Me Authors (in terms of reading their work for the first time): 43

Female Authors: 33

Male Authors: 16



Authors Read the Most: (this is a 4-way tie, so we’ll do this alphabetically):

Billy Collins (2)

Louise Erdrich (2)

Andrew Sean Greer (2)

Beth Kephart (2)

Number of Library Books I Read: 47

Number of My Own Books I Read: 9

Number of Pages Read: 13,340

Average Number of Pages per Book: 238

Books Read that Were Published in 2009: 18

In 2008: 20

Reading Challenges Joined: Dewey’s Books, Just for the Love of It, 50 Books for Our Time, Fall Into Reading.

Reading Challenges Not Completed: Dewey’s Books (I feel bad about this), Just for the Love of It, 50 Books for Our Times (separate post in the works about that).

Reading Challenges Completed: Fall Into Reading 2009

Best Books I Read in 2009 (in no order):

The 19th Wife, by David Ebershoff

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County, by Tiffany Baker

The Alchemy of Loss, by Abigail Carter

Promises to Keep, by Joe Biden

The Story of a Marriage, by Andrew Sean Greer

There’s No Place Like Here, by Cecelia Ahern

The Sugar Queen, by Sarah Addison Allen

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini

Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri

Confessions of Max Tivoli, by Andrew Sean Greer

Nothing but Ghosts, by Beth Kephart

The Life You Longed For, by Maribeth Fischer

This Lovely Life, by Vicki Forman

The School of Essential Ingredients, by Erica Bauermeister

House of Dance, by Beth Kephart

The Center of Everything (audio), by Laura Moriarty

She’s Come Undone (audio), by Wally Lamb

Looking for Alaska, by John Green

Tomato Girl, by Jayne Pupek

Last Night in Montreal, by Emily St. John Mandel

Make Lemonade, by Virginia Euwer Wolff

Because I Am Furniture, by Thalia Chaltas

Anything But Typical, by Nora Raleigh Baskin

The Red Leather Diary, by Lily Koppel

Reading the OED, by Ammon Shea

Building a Home with My Husband, by Rachel Simon

The Curse of the Good Girl, by Rachel Simmons

(books beginning with “the” seem to be winners for me, huh?)



and … without further ado … drumroll please …



The Complete List of the 56 Books I’ve Read in 2009:
(links take you to my reviews)



1. Beyond Time Out: From Chaos to Calm – by Beth Grosshans

2. The 19th Wife – by David Ebershoff

3. House of Dance – by Beth Kephart

4. Matrimony – by Joshua Henkin

5. The Little Giant of Aberdeen County – by Tiffany Baker

6. Promises to Keep – by Joe Biden

7. The Sugar Queen – by Sarah Addison Allen (audio)

8. The Alchemy of Loss – by Abigail Carter

9. The Best American Poetry 2008 – Guest Editor, Charles Wright; Series Editor, David Lehman

10. Unaccustomed Earth – by Jhumpa Lahiri (audio)

11. Patriotic Grace – by Peggy Noonan

12. The Center of Everything – by Laura Moriarty (audio)

13. Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor – by Brad Gooch

14. Nine Horses: Poems – by Billy Collins

15. Click: What Millions of People Are Doing Online and Why It Matters – by Bill Tancer

16. Under the Tuscan Sun – by Frances Mayes (audio)

17. She’s Come Undone – by Wally Lamb (audio)

18. The Red Convertible: Selected and New Stories, 1978-2008 – by Louise Erdrich

19. Loving Frank – by Nancy Horan (audio) (review here)

20. Without a Backward Glance – by Kate Veitch

21. Fidelity (Poems) – by Grace Paley

22. The Story of a Marriage – by Andrew Sean Greer

23. Love Comes First: A Collection of Poems – by Erica Jong

24. Reading the OED: One Year, One Man, 21,730 Pages – by Ammon Shea

25. There’s No Place Like Here – by Cecilia Ahern

26. Ballistics (Poems) – by Billy Collins

27. The Bible Salesman – by Clyde Edgerton (audio)

28. The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal – by Lily Koppel (review here)

29. Nothing But Ghosts – by Beth Kephart

30. This Lovely Life – by Vicki Forman

31. Matters of Faith – by Kristy Kiernan

32. Delicate Edible Birds and Other Stories – by Lauren Groff

33. Looking for Alaska – by John Green

34. Little Earthquakes (audio) – by Jennifer Weiner

35. The History of Love – by Nicole Krauss

36. Tomato Girl – by Jayne Pupek

37. The Painted Drum – by Louise Erdrich

38. Building a Home with My Husband: A Journey Through the Renovation of Love – by Rachel Simon

39. Last Night in Montreal – by Emily St. John Mandel

40. A Thousand Splendid Suns – by Khaled Hosseini (audio)

41. The Pen/ O. Henry Prize Stories 2009, edited by Laura Furman

42. The Confessions of Max Tivoli – by Andrew Sean Greer

43. Make Lemonade – by Virginia Euwer Wolff

44. The Life You Longed For – by Maribeth Fischer

45. An Egg on Three Sticks – by Jackie Moyer Fischer

46. Parallel Play: Growing Up with Undiagnosed Asperger’s, by Tim Page

47. Linda McCartney: A Portrait (audio) – by Danny Fields

48. The Best of Philadelphia Stories, vol. 2

49. The Hunger Games – by Suzanne Collins

50. Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street, by Michael Davis

51. Because I Am Furniture – by Thalia Chaltras

52. The School of Essential Ingredients – by Erica Bauermeister

53. The Curse of the Good Girl – by Rachel Simmons

54. Lark & Termite – by Jayne Anne Phillips

55. Anything But Typical – by Nora Raleigh Baskin

56. Brooklyn – by Colm Toibin

I still have a few gaps in the reviews, and I am committed to doing them. Soon. In particular, I feel very badly about not yet reviewing This Lovely Life by Vicki Forman as well as The Best of Philadelphia Stories, vol. 2. I promise to do so, but in the meantime, let me tell you that they were both very good and worth getting. (I’ll also be mentioning This Lovely Life in a separate memoir-related post I’m planning … hopefully for The Sunday Salon.)

We also read countless children’s books this year. There’s no way I could have captured all of them or kept track of them. (We are the ones who are always at our limit of 99 books from the library.) But, I was pleased to see that I – and in some cases, the kids – wrote 27 reviews of children’s books. All of these are especially worthy, and I think all of them would make it onto a best of list for kids’ books. Links take you to the reviews. (For the new readers to my blog, my kids are 8 years old, so that gives you a sense of the reading level and interest.)

1. The Truth About Cousin Ernie’s Head – by Matthew McElligott

2. How Sweet It Is (and Was): The History of Candy – by Ruth Freeman Swain

3. Baseball Hour, by Carol Nevius and illustrated by Bill Thomson

4. Crazy Hair, by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

5. Who Was Louis Armstrong? by Yona Zeldis McDonough and illustrated by John O’Brien

6. Read All About It! by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush, illustrated by Denise Brunkas

7. Tough Chicks, by Cece Meng and illustrated by Melissa Suber

8. Of Dinosaurs and Rainbows (a post with two reviews: When Dinosaurs Came With Everything, by Elise Broach and illustrated by David Small, and Once Upon a Rainbow, by Jennifer Woods Tierney)

9. Sky Magic poems compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins, illustrated by Mariusz Stawarski

10. A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee

11. Sourpuss and Sweetie Pie by Norton Juster and illustrated by Chris Raschka

12. Growing Money: A Complete and Completely Updated Money Guide for Kids by Gail Karlitz

13. Let’s Go On a Mommy Date! by Karen Kingsbury

14. Forever Young by Bob Dylan and illustrated by Paul Rogers

15. The Garden of Happiness, by Erika Tamar, illustrations by Barbara Lambase

16. Book review of three children’s books (I Took the Moon for a Walk, by Carolyn Curtis and Alison Jay; Princess Grace, by Mary Hoffman; Illustrated by Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu; and Humpty Dumpty Climbs Again! by Dave Horowitz)

17. Happy Birthday to You! The Mystery Behind the Most Famous Song in the World, by Margot Theis Raven and paintings by Chris Soentpiet

18. Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers by Karen B. Winnick

19. Diary of a Worm, by Doreen Cronin

20. Book reviews of three children’s books (Our Library, by Eve Bunting; Anna’s Table, by Eve Bunting; and That Book Woman, by Heather Henson)

21. Mr. Peabody’s Apples, by Madonna

22. A Gift of a Memory: A Keepsake to Commemorate the Loss of a Loved One: by Marianne Richmond


I’ll have a separate post up (maybe not by the stroke of midnight, but soon) with a recap of the year in review. In the meantime, I hope you’ve had a great reading year (I am loving reading your wrap up posts!).

Now. Let’s close the book on 2009 (or slam it shut, or throw it across the room, or whatever fits the year you’ve had) and get the reading party started for 2010! Happy New Year everyone!
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4 thoughts on “Year 2009: One for the Books

  1. Florinda

    Clearly, you read a lot of good books this year! And I know you said your list was in no particular order, but the first one you mentioned – The 19th Wife – was my Fiction “Book of the Year.”

    Happy New Year, and here’s to more great reading in 2010!

  2. JoAnn

    Congratulations on a fantastic reading year! This is a wonderfully comprehensive post. I’ve read 7 of your favorites and loved them all (except The Confessions of Max Tivoli which was just OK for me… on audio). And hurray for Louise Erdrich – one of my favorite “discoveries” this year. Happy New Year, Melissa!

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