2009 in Review: By the Books

I tried to branch out a bit more in my reading this past year, to balance a diet of mysteries and gothics. While I’ll never give up my old favorites or comfort reads, I’ve realized that investing myself in good, literary fiction fills the void I’ve missed since English classes ended. In addition, I’m more likely to remember the novel long after the pages have been shut. Here are a few favorites for the year, though most likely not new to most readers:

High Rising, by Angela Thirkell: technically a 2008 read, but at the tail end of December and leading into my other Barsetshire visits. I think I smiled the entire time.

Joy in the Morning, by Betty Smith: An honest, exquisite look at poor newlyweds.

Atonement, by Ian McEwan: I know he’s gotten some mixed reviews, but months later I still feel emotionally involved with the characters.

Emma, by Kaoru Mori: wonderful manga series about a Victorian maid.

The Secret Adversary, by Agatha Christie: Hard to pick just one, but I’ll always have a soft spot for Tommy and Tuppence.

1984, by George Orwell: I’m not big on distopian literature but Orwell is a master at spinning both this world and tale.

The Mislaid Magician, by Caroline Stratover and Patricia Wrede: This epistolary adventure from magical Regency England is not as good as the first two, and still made my list.

I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith: Utterly enchanting.

The Talisman Ring, by Georgette Heyer: Smugglers, murder, and an endless supply of banter. Fun all around.

Fair Tomorrow, by Emilie Loring, (because it lasted for so much of the year): 1930s campy romance. They just don’t write ’em like that anymore, which could be a good or a bad thing…

My most-read authors were Agatha Christie with six, then John Bellairs, Georgette Heyer, Angela Thirkell, and E.F Benson with three apiece.

And to make it fair, a few disappointments as well. These are not bad books, just not what I was expecting:
Chocolat, by Joanne Harris
Murder on the Eiffel Tower, by Claude Izner (I was actually given a copy of this for Christmas as well, and returned it. I had wanted so much to like it…)
The Case of the Missing Books, by Ian Sansom

Published in: on January 2, 2010 at 3:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

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