I can’t tell you my Top Twelve children’s books because I’m right in the middle of Cybils judging. But I can tell you my top twelve adult books published in 2009. Actually, we may end up with a list of all the adult books published in 2009 that I’ve read because I don’t get around to the hot new titles until everyone else and their dog has already read them. OK, most dogs don’t read. Rabbit trail. Back to the List.
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. The book is a lovely exploration of friendship without conditions attached and passion for the depth of God’s creation in the form of mathematics. Semicolon review here.
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. A good picture of life in Ethiopia and lots of medical details (both boys become doctors) in addition to thematic elements concerning family loyalty and the meaning of commitment make this 560 page first novel by Verghese, a doctor himself, worth the read. Semicolon review here.
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister. Lillian owns a restaurant where she creates a community and gives herself to people through the food she cooks for them. Semicolon review here.
Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith. In this particular episode, Mma Ramotswe’s beloved white van has developed an ominous noise in the motor. Mma Makutsi’s fiance Phuti Radiphuti unknowingly hires the glamorous but predatory Violet Sephotho to work in the beds department at his Double Comfort Furniture Shop. And the local football (soccer) team may harbor a traitor who is causing the team to have a losing season.Mysteries are solved; personal problems are resolved. The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency continues to be a haven of common sense and comfortable conversation and old Botswana tradition and custom.
The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips. I got a review copy of this one somehow (through Library Thing maybe?), and I thought it was quite good. Southern fiction. Semicolon review here.
O.K., those are the five really good adult fiction titles I’ve read. Now, these are seven more adult novels published in 2008 that I want to read (descriptions from Amazon):
The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt. “A spellbinding novel, at once sweeping and intimate, from the Booker Prize–winning author of Possession, that spans the Victorian era through the World War I years, and centers around a famous children’s book author and the passions, betrayals, and secrets that tear apart the people she loves.”
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel. “In the ruthless arena of King Henry VIII’s court, only one man, Thomas Cromwell, dares to gamble his life to win the king’s favor and ascend to the heights of political power.”
The Help by Kathryn Stockett. “Set during the nascent civil rights movement in Jackson, Miss., where black women were trusted to raise white children but not to polish the household silver, this book tells the story of Eugenia Skeeter Phelan, just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer. She begins to write about The Help.”
Lost Mission by Athol Dickson. “An idyllic Spanish mission collapses in the eighteenth century atop the supernatural evidence of a shocking crime. Twelve generations later the ground is opened up, the forgotten ruins are disturbed, and rich and poor alike confront the onslaught of resurging hell on earth.”
The Only True Genius in the Family by Jennie Nash. “As she helps prepare a retrospective of her famous father’s photographs, Claire uncovers revelations about him that change everything she believes about herself as a mother, a daughter, and an artist.”
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. “In a story told entirely through diary entries and letters, we meet Harrison William Shepherd, a half-Mexican, half-American boy who grows up with his mother in Mexico. He has no education, but his love of reading and writing nurtures his own inner dialog that leads to his success as a writer.”
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. “In his wickedly brilliant first novel, Debut Dagger Award winner Alan Bradley introduces one of the most singular and engaging heroines in recent fiction: eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison.”