Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I don't think I've ever read as many books in one year as I have this year. It has been invigorating to read one book after another without taking a break in between--kind of like a marathon but without breaking a sweat (or burning calories, hmmm). In a few days I will post this year's complete list with short reviews, but for now here is a list of my top ten favorite reads for 2009 with brief reviews from previous posts:

The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression - Amity Shlaes
The forgotten man is the man who works hard to stay off government assistance but continues to get stuck with the bill bailing out everyone else. Regardless of your opinion about our current economic situation and government policies this is worth reading and thinking about.

My Life in France - Julia Child
I loved reading about the steps that led Julia Child to become a celebrated French cooking expert.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
A beautiful story told through letters about a small British community surviving German occupation.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - Barbara Kingsolver
A few years ago Kingsolver moved with her family to a farm in the Appalachians committing to live off food they produced or was produced reasonably close to home for one year. Seriously fascinating.

Atlas Shrugged - Ayn Rand
Well-written, has wonderfully developed characters, an original plot that keeps you plowing through all those pages, and it makes you stop and think about your beliefs on personal responsiblity. And its a good illustration of the consquences of an anti-business government.

Diary of a Provincial Lady-
E.M. Delafield
A thinly-veiled autobiography about an upper-middle class woman and her family living in a small village in Devon, England.

Vanity Fair -
William Thackeray
Thackeray had great wit and his characters are hilarious. He creates an atmosphere that clearly illustrates the pinch of a face or the whine of a voice without stating so. And is there anyone as rotten as Becky Sharp?

The Help - Kathryn Stockett
Clever story written about white ladies, their black maids and the horrible double-standards in the 1960's, Mississippi.

The Uncommon Reader - Alan Bennett
Quirky little novella about the current Queen of England stumbling into a library van and selecting a library book for the first time in her life. Her new-found love of reading wreaks havoc on the palace staff.

Homecooking: A Writer in the Kitchen - Laurie Colwin
Reading about her jam anxiety, her search for the perfect chocolate cake, or describing the worst meal at someone's home is great fun. Plus her recipes are lovely.

I would love to hear what your favorite books have been this year, so leave a comment if you wish. Happy reading!


  1. I'm glad that you liked _Atlas Shrugged_! The more that I've studied it, the more impressed I've become with it as a novel. I'm posting a series of podcasts on the book. You can find them here:

    Diana Hsieh
    Ph.D, Philosophy

  2. I loved The Help and Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society too.

    I've been meaning to read Atlas Shrugged for sometime. I'll have to make it happen this year.

    In fact I think I'll add all your recommendations to my Goodreads list now, so I don't forget.

    You have a nice variety. I also enjoyed listening to Einstein and Shadow Divers this year.
    Happy New Year!!

  3. You forgot you know which one? Here's a hint: It's three letters long.

  4. E: You are right! I did love The BFG!