The OF Blog: Eleven Best of 2009 Lists

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Eleven Best of 2009 Lists

Fascinating how little overlap there really is with these lists, although I have read some of the books on each of these (and a few are ordered and perhaps will be read by Christmas):

The Atlantic  (In the Kitchen, have The Children's Book and Wolf Hall on order)

The New Yorker (Zeitoun, The Magicians; WH on order)

Salon (The Magicians, currently reading Chronic City, plus the two on order mentioned above)

Time (The Windup Girl, The Kindly Ones, plus WH on order)

Slate (The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard, reading Chronic City, WH on order)

Washington Post (On Monsters currently reading, Inherent Vice, Invisible, The Children's Book on order, Finch, American Fantastic Tales)

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist (Dust of Dreams, The Judging Eye *read in 2008*, The Angel's Game *read in the Spanish original in 2008*, The Windup Girl)

Addendum:  Four more lists:

Barnes and Noble Review (Finch, Wolf Hall on order, Asterios Polyp)

San Francisco Chronicle (The Magicians, Finch, The Caryatids in my possession unread, American Fantastic Tales, Boneshaker, The Windup Girl)

Wall Street Journal (Wolf Hall on order, Finch, Chronic City currently reading, Graceling *actually published in the US in 2008*, Zeitoun)

New York Times (Asterios Polyp, Chronic City currently reading, Invisible, Let the Great World Spin, Nocturnes, Wolf Hall on order, Zeitoun)

Hrmm...based on repeats, it looks like the choices go like this:

Wolf Hall (8)

Finch (4)

Chronic City (4)

The Children's Book (3)

The Magicians (3)

Zeitoun (3)

The Windup Girl (3)

Asterios Polyp (2)

Invisible (2)

American Fantastic Tales (2)

And one each for In the Kitchen, Inherent Vice, The Caryatids, Boneshaker, Let the Great World Spin, Nocturnes, Graceling, On Monsters, The Complete Stories of J.G. BallardThe Kindly Ones, Dust of Dreams, The Judging Eye, and The Angel's Game.

Something about a few of these seems to stand out in comparison to the others, but I can't quite place it...


Liviu said...

I plan to do a top 10 sff novel post for 2009 and then a notable books post, but if I were to do a top 10 all-around novels post I would head it with Wolf Hall and The Children's Book (order undecided since I thought TCB the most enjoyable and resonating read of 09 for me, while WH is undeniably a powerful book well deserving the acclaim, prizes - ironically it's just the first half of a duology).

After that I would rank Iain Pears Stone's Fall and IMB Transition, the last one of course heading my top 10 sff list in consequence...

Kindly Ones would be my top novel of the 00's but since I read it a couple times in French in 06/07 it does not count for 09, same with CR Zafon which I ranked last year based on my Spanish lang read...

Larry Nolen said...

Interesting that WH is the first of a duology - hadn't come across that in any of the lists I've read.

I understand the rationale behind not including books read in their original language before 2009. Looks like I will have plenty of non-English books this year, either in the untranslated category or for books in English translation.

Should add that On Monsters arrived this afternoon and after the introduction, I can tell this will end up being money well-spent.

Liviu said...

I was surprised too about WH - I was reading and getting like 150 pages from the end and it's still 1533-4 and while I thought the novel will cover all of Thomas Cromwell's career which runs some good more years, I just could not see how that will happen in the remaining part considering how detailed the book was so far - also the ending was like a stopping point in a duology and I was "what??"

Then I read an interview with the author in Guardian where she mentioned how she was now working on the second half of the story of Cromwell - though I expect it will take several years so "we" in sff have it very nicely with series books coming out relatively regularly, notable exceptions notwithstanding...

Larry Nolen said...

Ah, well it was only $11 in hardcover from Amazon, so that's not too bad. Plus, I have plenty of patience, since I do buy/read hundreds of books a year, so that wait should be bearable.

Liviu said...

I do not mind waiting for novels - the third book in the Oryx and Crake trilogy can go 2013-14 if the 5 years between the first two continue, lots of books to read in the meantime;

Wolf Hall is great read anyway for me the only downside was that I am that excited about Tudor era novels - if you have not tried Place of Greater Safety and you like WH I strongly recommend that one

Anonymous said...

Really good to hear the interest in Wolf Hall. Of all the nominees this year, only WH caught my attention, mostly because I've always found the character of Cromwell fascinating. That said, the fact it was nominated, and then won, somewhat dampened my enthusiasm, as did concerns about how much histry might limit the freedom of the story, and certain comments people have made about the style of the book: I've been worrying that it might be dreary, proper, and too horribly anachronistic - the last thing I want is a novel with a 20th century emo dressed up like a tudor.

If these pitfalls are avoided, on the other hand, I'll add it to the list of books to get...

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