A Baker's Dozen (Other) Best Books of 2009
Contributor
Written by
Sarah Saffian
November 2009
Contributor
Written by
Sarah Saffian
November 2009
(Day of Action + 2: I added two more, for a true baker's dozen. SS) These are among the books published this year that I plan to read or have read already. True gems, all, and you'll see I'm in good company in thinking so — several lauded by Publisher's Weekly itself, oddly enough. Links to purchase handily included. In no particular order: Lit, by Mary Karr — "Karr has written the best book about being a woman in America I have read in years," says Susan Cheever in the New York Times Book Review When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present, by Gail Collins — "Gail Collins's smart, thorough, often droll and extremely readable account of women's recent history in America not only answers this question brilliantly, but also poses new ones about the past and the present," says Amy Bloom in the New York Times Book Review, adding that the book begins "with the best summary of American women's social and political history that I've read." Cowboy & Wills: A Love Story, by Monica Holloway — "a charming memoir," says the Washington Post The Gastronomy of Marriage: A Memoir of Food and Love, by Michelle Maisto — PW describes Maisto as "a charming writer with a keen wit" The Possibility of Everything, by Hope Edelman — says The Oregonian: “The true beauty of this book—and there is so much that is beautiful… is that Edelman relentlessly dissects her own perspectives and feelings with an uncommon courage." Take Your Shirt off and Cry: A Memoir of Near-Fame Experiences, by Nancy Balbirer — a "bravura memoir" according to a starred review in PW, which goes on to say: "Turning her poor-little-L.A. girl material into a read this witty, reflective and charming takes real talent; if there's any justice, that talent will find the fame it deserves among the book buying public." Anne Frank: The Book, the Life, the Afterlife, by Francine Prose — says the New York Times Book Review: "A deeply felt reappraisal of the work and its global impact.... [Prose] makes a persuasive argument for Anne Frank's literary genius." A Short History of Women, by Kate Walbert — from PW's starred review: "a beautiful and kaleidoscopic view of the 20th century through the eyes of several generations of women...perfectly calibrated, intricately structured and gripping from page one." And from the Washington Post: "a witty and assured testament to the women's movement and women writers, obscure and renowned." A Gate at the Stairs, by Lorrie Moore — yet another starred review in PW describes Moore's latest offering as "luminous, heart-wrenchingly wry...[a] stellar novel with great heart." And from the cover review of the NYTBR: "Moore may be, exactly, the most irresistible contemporary American writer: brainy, humane, unpretentious and warm; seemingly effortlessly lyrical...This book plumbs deep because it is anchored deep." The Family Man, by Elinor Lipman — yet another PW starred review: "hilarious and moving...The plot alone will suck in readers, but Lipman's knack for creating lovable and multifaceted characters is the real draw." Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court, by Amy Bach — described by the New York Review of Books as a "remarkable book...a revealing and important book." Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel — winner of the Man Booker Prize. From the New York Review of Books: "a startling achievement, a brilliant historical novel focused on the rise to power of a figure exceedingly unlikely, on the face of things, to arouse any sympathy at all...This is a novel too in which nothing is wasted, and nothing completely disappears.” Too Much Happiness: Stories, by Alice Munro — and one more starred review from PW: "Munro's latest collection is satisfyingly true to form and demonstrates why she continues to garner laurels (such as this year's Man Booker International Prize)" — though apparently not a spot in their own Top Ten, alas.

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Comments
  • B. Lynn Goodwin

    I found some books here I'd love to read, starting with Francine Prose's Anna Frank: The Book, The Life and the Afterlife. Actually, they all look good.

    My book is also copyrighted in 2009. I don't want to turn this into a commercial, but if the title You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers intrigues you, check it out at Amazon, or visit Writer Advice, www.writeradvice.com and click on Journaling for Caregivers.

    B. Lynn Goodwin
    www.writeradvice.com
    Author of You Want Me to Do WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers