Monday, December 7, 2009

A Good Dose of Listomania

Alright, last post on the year-end "Best of..." lists, I promise. But this bears mentioning: If you're a fan of said "best of..." lists, well, this list of lists by a blogger who goes by the very apt moniker Largehearted Boy should keep you occupied for several bleary-eyed hours.

But first, let's talk about the NY Times Top 10 list that came out last week. What kind of book dork hasn't read a single one on the list? Yep, that'd be me. I have Lethem's Chronic City in my sights (in fact, it's got next, right after I finish Under the Dome), but other than Moore's A Gate At The Stairs, I haven't even heard of the other three on the Fiction list.

It's also worth noting that neither the National Book Award Fiction winner (Colum McCann's Let The Great World Spin) nor the Pulitzer winner (Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge) made the list. It's been a strange year in terms of awards and best books lists...

Alright, now back to the huge list of lists — a few highlights:
— The EarlyWord link actually gives you an Excel spreadsheet that lists more than 320 authors alphabetically and tells you which list their books were on and which awards they won. It's a lot of fun (in a dorky sort of way) to read through!
Flashlight Worthy's best books includes the most of my favorites (see below) of the year, so that gets my award for Best "Best of..." list.
— For pure eclecticity (shut up, it's totally a word), and because it's a fellow book blogger, I thoroughly enjoyed reading through this list from Living Read Girl. (Great name for the blog, too!)
— Oh god, and this one includes The Lost Symbol. What?  The only time "Best" and that book should be included in the same thought is "Best proof of Dan Brown's hack-ness."

And, finally, here's my own Best of 2009 list:
1. The Song Is You, by Arthur Phillips.
2. This Is Where I Leave You, by Jonathan Tropper.
3. Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers.
4. Last Night In Twisted River, by John Irving.
5. Cutting For Stone, by Abraham Verghese

What's on your "Best of 2009" book list? Any thoughts on any of the lists that have grabbed your attention?


  1. I read Cutting for Stone and have to agree it is a top read for 2009. I am a nonfiction fan and so my favorite was Newton and the Counterfeiter by Thomas Levenson. I did not get to Stephen Johnson's The Invention of Air but had I it most likely would have made my list.

  2. I've been trying to write a "Best of 2009" post and not doing very well. So I'm just gonna link back here from my blog, cause yours is really good. Mmkay?

  3. Mmmkay! Yeah, that would be greeeat.

    (Glad you liked the post - and thanks for the link!)

    @SariJ - glad you agree on Cutting For Stone. I haven't talked to anyone yet who has read the book who hasn't absolutely loved it!

  4. I also had only heard of 2 books on the New York Times Top 10 List. And oddly enough, the other ones don't even really interest me that much.
    I've actually only heard of 3 of the books on your list and read none of them.
    I was shocked, though, to see Dave Eggars made the list. I read and loved A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, but I think I might sort-of feel about him like you feel about Dan Brown (even though I suppose there really is no comparison) - like there's no way he could do it again. I suppose I'm wrong, though, and Ill have to check out Zeitoun.

  5. @brizmus - I'd have to begrudingly admit that Zeitoun is NOT a great book for its writing. But it IS a great book for the story (a true one) and the simplicity with which Eggers weaves the tale. Thanks for the comment!

  6. Thanks for the linkage,Greg-best of lists are tricky little devils,aren't they? So many good books to choose from:)

  7. You are a better man than me -- I cannot even come up with a best of for the books I've read in the past year. Nice to hear other readers have not read the NY Times Top 10 or even heard of some of them (I was starting to think it was just me). I'll be interested in your comments on Lethem since some of his stuff I like, and other stuff, well,...

  8. Did you happen to catch the Time magazine Best of List? You have to scroll a bit to see their breakdown of Top 10 in Fiction and Non-Fiction:,29569,1945379,00.html

    I was happy to see Beat the Reaper on it. A really great read if you haven't checked it out yet :)

  9. Hey - thanks for pointing that out! I just killed 30 minutes at work looking over ALL of those list.

    I picked up Beat the Reaper a few months ago, but haven't read it yet. That good, eh? I'll definitely move it up my list, too - right after Lamb! ;)

    Also, The Financial Lives of the Poets was in the same order as Lamb, which just arrived today! I've never read Jess Walter, but heard he's awesome!

  10. I LOVED Cutting for Stone as well. It will be in my Top 5 for sure for 2009.

  11. I haven't made my list yet, but I will soon....I can't wait to read Twisted River & am excited to see it showing up on people's 'best of' lists!!

  12. If you feel bad for not having read any of those NY Times Top 10 books, how about me for having never heard of any of them? Actually, none of them sound very good to me...yeah...

    Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  13. Great post, Greg! Interesting lists. I must echo Amanda here, I had not heard of any of those NY Times top 10 books either! Although after reading the article two of the books went straight to my to-be-read -list.

    Thanks for commenting on my blog!


  14. I've not read any of your favorites. I better get busy, huh? :) Thanks for playing along.

  15. Finished Twisted River on Jan. 1 and LOVEd it. Guess it'll have to be on my 2010 top 10!

  16. This is where I leave you is on my list for this year.

    Found you on Book Blogs, here is my list