January 05, 2010

A View of the Best Books of 2009

One local program about books that I try to tap into regularly is the ABC's Radio National, The Book Show. The host, Ramona Koval, has listed her best books from 2009:

The Infinities - John Banville

Truth - Peter Temple

Brooklyn - Colm Toibin (the only book from this list that I have read)

The Pattern in the Carpet - Margaret Drabble (I do love Margaret Drabble's books but I am not sure I want to read about jigsaws??)

This is How - MJ Hyland (I really enjoyed a previous book by this author, Carry Me Down, but I'm not sure if the subject matter of this book is something that I want to delve into)

How Fiction Works - James Wood (This one does sound interesting and given that I do want to do more fiction writing this year and not just reading maybe it would be a good read?)

The Anthologist - Nicholson Baker

Tom is Dead - Marie Darrieussecq

The Rest is Noise - Alex Ross

The Children's Book - A.S. Byatt (I did try to read this last year but I don't think I was in a head space to enjoy it at all - I would like to try and give it another go this year)

Ransom - David Malouf

Has anyone read any of the books on this list? Would you recommend any of them?


Mille Feuille said...
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Mille Feuille said...

Thanks for this list; I haven't read a single one, though The Children's Book is at the top of my pile (along with Lacuna--I'm looking forward to hearing what you have to say about that.)

I wanted to let you know that I've tagged you for the "One Lovely Blog" award. You can grab the award image from my post at myshelfrunnethover.blogspot.com

Happy reading!

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I'm no help...I haven't read a single one!

Jules said...

On this side of the world Tom is dead has had a lot of great reviews. It's on my reading list. John Banville is an excellent author, I would read him too...

Cath said...

I am so weirded out that I haven't read any of them. I guess I'm behind the times.

I did read one John Banville last year (The Sea) and found it incomprehensible. Oh, well.

JoAnn said...

Brooklyn is the only one on the list that I've read, but I have enjoyed John Banville (The Sea) and his alter-ego Benjamin Black. Have also heard good things about How Fiction Works.

Karen said...

Hi Mille Feuille - I've hit a bit of a bump in the road with The Lacuna - I just don't think I am in the mood for it at the moment. But I do want to finish it. Thank you so much for my lovely award - I really appreciate it and the button is just gorgeous!

Hi softdrink - It was only Brooklyn that saved me from not having read any of them!

Hi Jules - I read the description of Tom is Dead and thought it sounded sad but very beautiful at the same time. I work as a grief counsellor so I try to keep my reading for pleasure away from that area as much as I can - although grief is such a universal experience it is in a lot of the books I read in some way or other.

Hi Connie - I think there are different "must read" lists for different readers - I just like to browse to get ideas. I did read one review of John Banville saying that his writing style was not for everyone - I'm thinking I might fall into that category!

Hi JoAnn - How Fiction Works was definitely one of the ones from this list I am interested in.

Anonymous said...

Ive read How fiction works, which I enjoyed for its close analysis of specific books and passages from them and Truth, which I thought was a worthy follow up to The Broken Shore.

I love Temple's writing because he captures Australian English (and Australia) very well and doesn't spell every part of his story out- he writes crime novels where as a reader you do have to puzzle over/work at figuring out what has happened.

I have The Anthologist and Ransom in the TBR pile, and am looking forward to them.

Karen said...

Hi adevotedreader - I was hoping you would make a comment on this post as I knew you would have read more than 1 from this list! Thanks so much for your input - I haven't read Temple at all before so I might have to start. Ransom is also one that I have meant to read.

Unknown said...

I've just finished The Infinities and enjoyed it - I'm sure it will make this year's Booker list.

I wasn't a fan of Brooklyn (too slow) or The Children's Book (too detailed)

I have heard good things about This is How and The Rest is Noise and would pick them up if I saw them in the library. I haven't heard about the rest of them - not sure I want to read about Jigsaws either though!

Anonymous said...

What an interesting list. I have only read Brooklyn (which I loved) and The Childrens Book (which I admired) I do want to read The Lacuna though.

Andi said...

Sadly, I haven't read a single title from this list, but I do have How Fiction Works and The Children's Book on my wishlist. The Children's Book seems to be making the bloggy rounds lately, and it seems people have endless good things to say about it.

Steph said...

I haven't read any of these books, but I did see a copy of The Infinities and skim the first few pages - it does look really good, and I definitely want to read it when it's released over here (it's not a 2009 book in the States!).

Anonymous said...

I haven't read The Infinities by John Banville, but I just read The Sea, and I would definitely like to read more of his work. I have The Children's Book and The Anthologist on my TBR this year, for books I missed last year.

Karen said...

Hi Jackie - I have just placed a hold on The Infinities at my library - I'm hearing such good things about it.

Hi Simon - I want to finish The Lacuna but I've hit a bit of a snag with it at the moment - hopefully I will be able to get back into it.

Hi Andi - I think The Children's Book is one that some people have loved and others not so much! I have given it a go once before and just could not get it into it but I do want to try again.

Hi Steph - I always think of the USA as getting all books before us in here in Australia - that is not the case for some obviously!!

Hi eveningreader - I'm hearing lots of good things about Banville's writing - I might need to check him out I think.

Iliana said...

Not only have I not read any of these, some I'd never even heard of. Where have I been?! :)

I'm curious about the Drabble one. Not that interested in puzzles either but she is an interesting writer.

Karen said...

Hi Iliana - that's one of the things I love so much about the internet (even though it does take up so much of my time!) - you can find so many new great books out there!

Serena said...

I have not read any of these books...Wow. sounds like I should check out some of these though

Karen said...

Hi Serena - that's exactly what I thought when I saw the list!