Self’s Favorite Reads of 2009

Even though self figures she can probably still squeeze in five or six books before the end of 2009 (The one she’s reading now, Dickens’ Great Expectations, is astonishing, grrreat, but she’s only a fourth of the way through), she’s already looking back to what the year meant in terms of reading.

This was the year when self finally got around to reading the novel that made Curtis Sittenfeld: Prep.  The year when self discovered Sebastian Barry.  And John Burdett. And Elena Ferrante. And Jim Harrison. And San San Tin. And George Saunders. And Ruth Rendell! Most of these authors were writers she had been hearing about for years. Years. But because of teaching (not to mention laundry), self never had the time or the wherewithal to read any of their books. So self was happy about 2009. This was the year when she finally got to expand her literary selections, considerably.

She read about Tibet (Sky Burial: An Epic Love Story of Tibet, a book that grew on her gradually), and the deserts of Arabia (Arabian Sands) and about the fascinating city of Bombay (in Suketu Mehta’s Maximum City). She discovered a mysterious and wonderful place, Jim Harrison’s U.P. (Upper Michigan). She lived through the Holocaust (A Life in Secrets: Vera Atkins and the Missing Agents of World War II) and through the German occupation of Paris (Suite Francaise). She read what it was like to be a Filipino Poet in Exile (Zack’s The Filipino Poet in Exile Channels Montgomery Clift)

Without further ado, self’s favorite reads of the year:

The Vera Atkins book shattered self so much that even now she has a hard time pushing the images away. Same with Sebastian Barry’s World War I novel. No, in fact all of the aforementioned shattered her. In different ways.

Thank you, short-listed authors! Thank you for enlarging self’s emotions and imagination with your writerly skill!

Stay tuned.

1 Comment

  1. Penny said,

    November 30, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Sebastian Barry World One novel is perhaps one of the ten best books I have ever read. Now I rarely cry in books, but the death of one of the characters moved me so much that I thought my heart was breaking. His plays are remarkable too .

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