Monday, November 16, 2009
The Lists are out... The MANY Lists of The Best Books of 2009
It's that time of year again... The end of the year lists. One of those lists I love to take a look at is the best books of the year list! Of course there is more than 1 list! Publishers Weekly published their Best Books of 2009 list at the beginning of november, and was immediately met with an uproar as the top 10 list had NO female authors. PW said it chose the books based on the merits of the books regardless of who wrote them, "We wanted the list to reflect what we thought were the top 10 books of the year with no other consideration. We ignored gender and genre and who had the buzz... It disturbed us when we were done that our list was all male." Lizzie Skurnick of Politics Daily wrote, "It is the conventional wisdom that women's writing gets overlooked in the prize department because it doesn't get enough attention at the outset, or because women writers aren't respected." You can read her article and best of 2009 list HERE. Even our friends across the pond at The Guardian picked up the on controversial list. (You can read their take on it all by following the highlighted link). WILLA, Women in Letters and Literary Arts, has countered by launching their own Wiki list of great books published by women writers 2009, which includes Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel that won the prestigious Man Booker prize for fiction this year! Here's their growing LIST of books, and while you're there you can also add any books that you think should be included.
Isn't a "best of" list a reflection of the likes and dislikes of the person who is deciding? Do the editors at Publisher's Weekly and other list publishers have a greater responsibility because of the breathe of their influence? I look at these lists see if any of the books I enjoyed are on them... to discover authors & books I may have overlooked...
I haven't made my best books of 2009 list yet, but I did discover a great list from Bunch of Grapes, an independent bookstore that's been on Martha’s Vineyard for almost 40 years! We must have similar tastes because I own 7 out of the 10 books and look forward to reading those books I haven't gotten to yet! Here's their list of 10 Great Books by Female Authors:
1. Lark & Termite by Jayne Anne Phillips
2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
3. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
4. The Children’s Book by A S Byatt
5. The Legend of Colton H Bryant by Alexandra Fuller
6. Benny and Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti
7. The Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones
8. Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
9. The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
10. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
What's the best book you've read this year? Best of Books 2009 lists are usually for books published in 2009, but let's not limit ourselves to that! Share what you've enjoyed reading! And let me know what you think of all the controversy!