Saturday, December 26, 2009

2009 Year in Review

I know that 2009 is not yet over but I will not be finishing anymore books before the New Year (2666 is taking me a while). Looking back at 2009 I succeeded in many of my goals that I set at the beginning of the year. I read more (25 instead of 20 books), my reading included more science fiction, and I was more consistent in writting reviews (although there is still room for improvement!). My favorite books from 2009 (with links to my reviews) were:

City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff Vandermeer
I started reading Jeff's blog before I read any of his books and I am very happy that I gave his fiction a try. City of Saints and Madmen is a collection of stories set in his wonderfully realized city of Ambergris with mushroom people, giant squid and strange rituals. And I loved the innovative formats utilized to tell the stories. I already purchased his other two books set in this wonderful city, Shriek and Finch and cannot wait to read them. This was by far my favorite book of 2009.

Wind-Up Bird Chronicles by Haruki Murakami
I am a huge fan of Murakami and I certainly was not disappointed with this one. While this book is more dense then Kafka on the Shore it still has wonderful writing, weird characters and inexplicable events that make Murakami so interesting.

Hyperion by Dan Simmons
This was the book that I simply could not put down. It tells the stories of six pilgrims sent to the planet Hyperion for an audience with the Shrike on the eve of war. Each of the pilgrim's stories are so richly drawn with fascinating characters and amazing and varied worlds that each one could easily have been a novel unto itself.

Eligance of the Hedghog by Muriel Barbery
This was by far the most beautifully written book that I read this year. It is not a plot driven book but its rendering of the concierge, a 12 year old girl and a Japanese man all living in an elegant Parisian apartment building was extremely compelling. I recommended it to numerous people this year and everyone has loved it.

I don't have any specific goals for next year except to read more! Oh yeah, and to fit in more classics. I usually read at least one or two and I didn't manage that this past year.

Statistics:
Although some of the books could fall into more than one category for the purposes of this list I only assigned one category for each book.
Nonfiction - 1
Science Fiction - 6
Horror - 6
Fantasy - 3
Mystery - 2
Literary - 4
Thriller - 0
Other - 4
Female authors - 5
Male authors - 20
New to me authors - 17
Audiobooks - 2

2 comments:

dolcebellezza said...

I, too, read The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and consider it one of my top reads for 2009. He makes all other authors pale in comparison, even though his writing is so complex I'm not sure I always entirely understand it. I just suspend all my belief and live in his world while I'm reading one of his works.

Moo said...

Bellezza - I just love his writing. He can write about the most mundane thing and it would be fascinating. But then he creates this strange world where you never know what to expect. I will definitely have to read more Murakami next year. Perhaps After Dark? Any suggestions?