It's no secret that I love to read. I am an avid reader. Have been since I was a wee lass. In fact, I have a hard time going to sleep if I don't read at least a few pages after I lay down each night. I just love the way a good book can suck you down into its world. I suppose I am an escapist.
I do believe in the transformative power of literature. Of it's ability to lift us up, transport us, transfix us. To scare us silly. And perhaps most importantly, to bring us joy.
The following books were those that most inspired me in 2009.
1. The Book Thief - Markus Zusak: Told from the perspective of Death, this is the wonderful, sad story of a young girl in WWII Germany. I loved this book. I cried, happy and sad tears.
2. Neverwhere - Neil Gaiman: (genre: Supernatural) After he saves a young woman, Richard Mayhew finds himself thrust into a fantastic world under London. In a mad chase to find the murderers of the young woman's family, he finds himself as well. I loved this book! LOVED. IT.
3. Water For Elephants - Sara Gruen: (genre: Fiction) Great book. When I checked it out, the librarian said I would cry. Well, I didn't, but I can see why he (I know, right?!) would say that. It was touching and vivid, a taste of circus life in the 30s. As well as the sadness and frustration of an old man living in a retirement home.
4. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins: (genre: Young Adult/Fiction) The sequel to The Hunger Games. I loved that book and this one did not let me down. It kept me riveted from the get go, wondering what was going to happen and surprised at plot twists. Now, the torture of waiting for the third (and I hope final) book to come out. Check out my full review at Blissfully Domestic.
5. The Guernsay Literary and Potato Peel Society - Mary Ann Shafer: (genre: Historical Fiction) A truly wonderful book. Told through letters, this book is engaging and emotional. I was reading it on the treadmill when I got to a certain part (when you read it, you'll know where I'm talking about) and I started crying. At the gym. It's that good.
6. The Motion of the Ocean - Janna Cawrse Esarey: (genre: Non-fiction/Memoire) A couple makes a trans-pacific journey on their sailboat discovering more than just how to navigate an ocean. An engrossing and beautifully written book. Check out my full review at Blissfully Domestic.
7. The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman: (genre: Young Adult) The tale of a young boy who after being orphaned as a toddler is raised by the ghostly inhabitants of a local graveyard. A beautiful and well written tale.
8. This Is Where I Leave You - Jonathon Tropper: (genre: Fiction) Shortly after separating from his wife, Judd Foxman's father dies. As a last wish, his father requested that his wife and four children sit shiva, a Jewish tradition where the family stays in the family home to mourn the dead for seven days. Not an easy task given just how dysfunctional the Foxman family is. At times painfully graphic, this novel is intelligent and heartbreaking and real.
9. The Maze Runner - James Dashner: (genre: Fiction, Young Adult) When he awakens at the bottom of a black hole with faces looking down at him from the only opening at the top, Thomas has no idea what has happened or what to expect. What he finds is that he has been placed among a group of boys living in a compound at the center of a maze and all he wants is out.
10. How I Became a Famous Novelist - Steve Hely: (genre: Fiction) After being fired from his shady job writing college entrance essays, Pete decides he'll find fame and fortune by writing a novel. A charming faux-memoire that kept me thoroughly entertained and questioning my own thoughts on popular fiction.
11. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon: (genre: Fiction, Supernatural, Mystery) Daniel finds a book written by an unknown author when he is 10. As he grows older, a search for the author leads him on the chase of a decades old love story.
12. At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream - Wade Rouse: (genre: Memoire, Comedy) Fabulous gay man drags his equally fabulous boyfriend to a remote Michigan cabin to find his inner Thoreau. Funny, touching, and insightful.
13. Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer: (genre: Young Adult) The diary of a young girl's experience after the moon is struck by a meteor, causing massive environmental backlash on Earth. I loved this book!
Alright, so not all of these were published in 2009. But that is when I read them, and since this is my blog, they're the top books of 2009. Also, there are 13 books on my list. Cause I couldn't narrow it down to 10. Bite me.