Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Monday, November 16, 2009

Best Books of 2009... The Lists are out!

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!


Unknown said...

Catching Fire is an awesome book and after the cliff hanger at the end I am dying for book three!

Anonymous said...

Picking one or ten is pretty hard.

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Eric,
Nice to hear another great comment about Catching Fire! I have The Hunger Games in the TBR pile, but hesitated to get Catching Fire because the early reviews I read weren't too good. I think it may have been the readers loved The Hunger Games so much that it influenced the way they felt about book 2. I'm going to pick it up now!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi Lee,
Well I have Lark & Termite in my TBR pile right now! Along with the majority of these books! Nice to hear you enjoyed it!

bestbookreview said...

Wow! I love the top ten list,especially since it features all women writers! I'm always looking for books to add to my pile and seem to get lost in the bookstore; now I have a handy list to take to the store or refer to when buying online! I haven't read Margaret Atwood yet (I know, I know) but now I have her next on my list! Thanks for all the ideas, from one book lover to another!

Suzanne Yester said...

Hi bestbookreview!
Yes, this is a great list! And a testament that yes, women writers have talent! But of course we all knew that anyway! Thanks for stopping by!

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