Monday, December 14, 2009

The Best of 2009, According to Merideth

So, it’s that time again. You can almost set your watch by it. Just like decorating the tree/lighting the Menorah and eating too many candy canes, December means it’s time for those annoying year end best lists. You know the ones, “Best Reality TV Featuring People Who Were Celebrities Before You Were Born” ; “Best Albums from Bands You’ve Never Heard Of Because The Critic Really Wants to Show How Much Cooler He is Than You”. And, of course, my favorites, the “Books of the Year List”.

Now maybe it’s because so much of the reading I do is for work, or because I have such specific reading tastes, but none of the books that I really really liked wind up on these lists. Even the “Best Graphic Novel” lists are disappointing, because they tend to focus on the first person, black and white, navel gazing, indie comics that make my teeth itch.

So, in an “if you can’t beat’em- join’em” moment, I am making my own Best of 2009 book list. These are the books I liked best this year. Not the most important or the best written, just the ones I liked the best. Some may not have come out in 2009. Sue me.

Along for the Ride by Sara Dessen. I’m not a romance reader, but Dessen gets me every time. I think it’s because the romance is a part of her heroine’s life, but not the best or only part.

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld. I didn’t think I was going to like this book. I’m not an alternate history fan, and steampunk has always baffled me, but I couldn’t stop reading this. The alternating voices were wonderfully done.

Fire by Kristin Cashore. I honestly think this was my favorite book this year. I loved almost everything about it, and it’s not often I can say that. And, I want Fire’s hair.

Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce. This book was almost good enough to justify the long wait since the first Beka Cooper Book. Almost.

Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader? by Neil Gaiman. If you have to have a funeral for Batman, this is how you should do it.

Going Bovine by Libba Bray. This reminded me of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If absurdity and “weird for the sake of weird” works for you, you’ll like it too.

The Maze Runner by James Dashner. Another book I didn’t expect to like. Then I looked down and was on page 200, and wanting to read more.

BPM: Beats per Minute by Paul Sizer. After a couple of readings, I’m not sure if this graphic novel is 100% successful, but I can’t stop thinking about it, which means it did something right.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman. This book is beautifully written, and feels very “true”.

Skim by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki. What I love about this book is the voice and the beautiful black and white artwork.