Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Best Books, Aught-Nine

I'm pretty sure this is the first (and last!) time I've gotten to use the antiquated word "aught" to name the years this decade, and I can't believe I let that slip. It just has such a delightful, old-man-from-Nantucket quality it. So here's to your inner elderly Yank: Hooray for Aught-Nine!

2009 turned out to be the year of reading really dark books. All the way back in October 2008, I picked up an anthology of horror stories, and it launched back to my roots. Yes, I was a nine-year-old Goth. ANYWAY, long story short, I read rafts of horror after that point and even the non-terror literature I picked up seemed to be saturated with darkness and woe. It was a really great year of reading. :)

So here are the top books I read this year:

Best NONFiction:
This is a toss-up between Portait of a Killer, by Patricia Cornwell, a remarkable examination of the Jack the Ripper case and Rats, by Robert Sullivan, a natural history of New York City's rat population. Both amazing, both delivering remarkable information with captivating style. Read them both!

Best Anthology:
Poe's Children, edited by Peter Straub. Some of the best short fiction I've ever read, and all of it work within the dark arts. Proof positive that horror doesn't have to be a gross-out fest.

Best Spec fiction:
Another toss-up. This time we've got giants slugging it out for the top placement. Duma Key, by Stephen King, is a remarkable adventure into the world of aging, loss and creativity. It is probably my favorite book by King so far--and that's saying something. The world it creates is remarkable. But Chuck Hogan and Guillermo Del Toro created a rock-n-roll rollercoaster in their new collaboration The Strain, which hybridizes epidemiology and vamprism in the most fun book I've touched in years. Characters, however, are pretty much cardboard cut-outs.

Best Children's Book:
The Miraculous Adventures of Edward Tulane, by Kate DeCamillo. If you haven't read this wonderful story of a vain china rabbit forced to wander until he finds the true meaning of love, then run out and do so. Better yet, listen to it as an audiobook--we listened to this book 3 times in the car, and each time, it only got better. Any other year, this book would have taken top honors.

And now for ...

Wendy's Favorite Book of the Year!!!
This is a pretty important prize, and there's no surprise that it goes to Solar Storms, by Linda Hogan. The heart-breaking, magical story of a teenaged Native American girl, raised in foster care, who goes on a journey with her grandmother, great-grandmother & great-great-grandmother. The women all seek something: an answer to the ecological devestation of 1970's Northern Minnesota; love; a place to die; and the mother who tortured and abandoned her child. One of the best books I have ever written.

So run out to your nearest library and start reading! And share some of your favorite books. Lord knows my reading list isn't nearly long enough!

5 comments:

Dave Bara said...

What, no sci-fi?

db

Winnie said...

I barely read ANY SF this year! But 2010 is going to be different. And the first book I write this year will be middle-grade SF. =)

Shay said...

You really should read The Sparrow and Children of God by Mary Doria Russell, these are terrific sci-fi books, her other stuff is really good too!

Winnie said...

Thanks, Shay! I will put them on hold RIGHT NOW!!

Shay said...

A friend reviewed those books on Goodreads, she loved them and isn't much a sci-fi fan. I'm sure you will enjoy!