Best and Worst Reads of 2009

2009 is ending, and I’ve finished another year of reading.

Since January, I’ve read thirty-four books, each of which are listed on this blog. Not included in this tally are the several short stories, poems, children’s books, magazine articles, critical essays, and Peanuts comic strips that I’ve read. Also not included are books I started reading, but never finished for some reason or another.
Generally, I’ve counted any novel, novella, or graphic novel that took me longer than a day to read.
The following are my best and worst lists. Unlike last year, I am making separate lists for the best fiction and non-fiction books I read this year. I am still lumping all the crappy books together.
Five Best Fiction Books
1. The Crossing, Cormac McCarthy
2. Jack Maggs, Peter Carey
3. The Amalgamation Polka, Stephen Wright
4. Cities of the Plain, Cormac McCarthy
5. The Deerslayer, James Fenimore Cooper
Five Best Non-Fiction Books
1. In the Heart of the Sea, Nathaniel Philbrick
2. In Cold Blood, Truman Capote
3. Andrew Jackson: His Life and Times, H. W. Brands
4. Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, Joseph J. Ellis
5. A Year of Living Biblically, A. J. Jacobs
Five Worst Books
1. The Bridge of the Golden Horn, Emine Sevgi Ozdamar
2. The Plague of Doves, Louise Erdrich
3. Thirteen Moons, Charles Frazier
4. The 19th Wife, David Ebershoff
5. New Moon, Stephenie Meyer
Here are some additional lists…for the heck of it:
Five Mediocre Books
1. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, David Wroblewski
2. The Unvanquished, William Faulkner
3. Eclipse, Stephenie Meyer
4. Massacre at Mountain Meadows, Ronald W. Walker, Richard E. Turley Jr., and Glen M. Leonard
5. Some Dream for Fools, Faize Guene
Two Books that Nearly Made the “Best” List
1. A Mercy, Toni Morrison
2. Tropic of Orange, Karen Tei Yamashita
Two Books that Transcend Lists
1. The Book of Mormon
I’ve read this book more times than any other book. I read it again over the summer and with it had one of my best reading experiences of the year. It is the book that has influenced my life the most, and I recommend it to all.
2. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
Somehow, I made it through high school without ever reading this book. This year I finally read it for the first time and decided that it is likely one of the best novels ever written. I think it is hardly fair to judge the average book against it. I recommend this book as well.

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