2009’s Best Books for Me

2009’s Best Books For Me:

I’m going to do my breakdown of best books I’ve read this year, though some of these may not necessarily have been published in 2009, but earlier in the decade.

I read 63 books in 2008, and my goal for 2009 as to read more than that.  I surprised myself by reading 100 books in 2009 and reviewing all of them! I also started including more poetry reviews and interviews here on the blog and at 32 Poems blog and the D.C. Literature Examiner.  

However, my personal writing goals of working each week toward a poetry or novel word count did not stick, and I stopped posting writing goal updates sometime during the year — heck, it was so long ago that I stopped I don’t even remember when.  I also did not finish editing my poetry manuscript!  Big FAIL!

OK, 2009, it’s time to say goodbye.  I’m going to start of with the books I think were the worst.  

You can click on the title links for my reviews or click Amazon.com images in the right sidebar widget for Best of 2009 if you want to purchase the books through my Amazon Affiliate page, which helps keep the blog running, though there is no requirement to buy.

Not Worth Checking Out of the Library (ending with the worst):

5.  Now Silence by Tori Warner Shepard
4.  The Traitor’s Wife by Susan Higginbotham
3.  The Michael Jackson Tapes by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach
2.  Follow Me by Joanna Scott 
1.  The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick 

Now that the nitty gritty is out of the way, lets get to the best books I’ve read this year:

Best Book I’ve Read for the Everything Austen Challenge:

A Match for Mary Bennet by Eucharista Ward

Best Book I’ve Read for the WWII Reading Challenge:

Inglourious Basterds by Quentin Tarantino

Best Humor Book of 2009 (I only read three, so take this with a grain of salt):

Best Photography Book of 2009 (I only read and looked through 2, take this with less than a grain of salt):

Visions of America by Joseph Sohm

Audiobooks to Die For out of 10 (no particular order):

Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich
The Whole Truth by David Baldacci

Best Young Adult Fiction of 2009 (I only read 5 this year):

Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart

Best Chicklit Book of 2009 (this is a tie for me):

Millie’s Fling by Jill Mansell
Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews

Best Poetry Books of 2009 (ending with the best):

6.  More of Me Disappears by John Amen
5.  Fair Creatures of an Hour by Lynn Levin
4.  Secret Love Poems by Arlene Ang
3.  Rubber Side Down edited by Jose Gouveia
2.  Apologies to an Apple by Maya Ganesan
1.  Becoming the Villainess by Jeannine Hall Gailey

Some honorable mentions for 2009 that I adored (no particular order):

The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl
The Secret Keeper by Paul Harris
Dragon House by John Shors
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge
Keeper of Light and Dust by Natasha Mostert 
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Best Books I Read in 2009 (to the top pick for the year):

10.  The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
9.  The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
8.  Breathing Out the Ghost by Kirk Curnutt
7.  Saffron Dreams by Shaila Abdullah
6.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
5.  The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner
4.  The Painter From Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein
3.  Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly
2.  Rooftops of Tehran by Mahbod Seraji
1.  Words That Burn Within Me by Hilda Stern Cohen

Which were your favorites this year?

Have a Happy and Safe New Year!


  1. Shaila: It was an honor to read your book. Fantastic! Can't wait to see what you come up with next.

  2. Shaila Abdullah says

    Hey Serena, good to see Saffron Dreams in the list of your top 2009 best books. Thanks for the honor!

    Saffron Dreams/Beyond the Cayenne Wall
    Website: http://www.shailaabdullah.com

  3. Thanks for the poetry favorites!

  4. I like how you broke it down by challenge and categories … that is a good idea! So glad I have some of your top books on my list for 2010.

  5. Cathy Marie Buchanan says

    Thrilled and honoured to find The Day the Falls Stood Still on your list. Thanks, Serena, and Happy New Year.


  6. Great list! I've read some of these in the past and totally agree with you and I have some on my TBR pile for next year and am very excited to see you rated them so high!

  7. I enjoyed reading your list. I think we're the only 2 people who'd put Follow Me in that category!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  8. Great Wrap up. I loved Galway Bay and have to say ….I liked Follow Me also. (grin)

    Happy New Year!! 100 Books!! Way to go.

  9. Great list! 100 books read and reviewed is awesome.
    Good luck with your goals for the new year. I enjoyed The Secret Keeper too.


  10. I've seen Galway Bay on a lot of best lists…going to have to take the plunge!

  11. Great list, Serena! I'm sorry your personal writing goals didn't go as planned but here's wishing you a great reading & writing year ahead 🙂

  12. Nicole (Linus's Blanket) says

    I haven't read your top pick but I do see a lot of good stuff that I loved from your list! These are so hard too do.

  13. I loved Galway Bay as well. I'm glad to see you have Painter from Shanhai on your list as I have that on the tbr but just haven't gotten around to it. Great list – the problem with all these lists is it makes my wish list longer!

    Have a happy, healthy and joyous New Year filled with good friends and great books.

  14. Awesome list. Thanks for taking the time to wrap it all up for us 🙂

  15. Sandy: I think you'll enjoy The uncommon reader!

  16. Sandy Nawrot says

    I love everyone's lists! I haven't read too many of these, but I've heard of them, and many are on my TBR list. I REALLY need to get my hands on Uncommon Reader!

  17. C.W.: It was one of the best books of the year and I am looking forward to your next book.

    Julie: Don't you just love these lists, adding books to those TBR lists. I think our husbands are going to kill us if we get more books.

    Bermudaonion: I loved Galway Bay, and I usually don't enjoy family sagas at all.

    Rhapsody: I don't do stars, but I like knowing which books left a lasting impression on me…those are the ones I call the best.

    Gautami: I didn't mean to put you off reading, but those books were tough for me, but not nearly as rough as The Kingmaking.

    Jeannine: I really loved you book. Its the one that stuck with me this year and I've recommended it over and over and gave it as a gift.

  18. Thanks so much for putting my book on your list!
    Happy 2010 – and good luck with everything!

  19. gautami tripathy says

    Now you have put me off Now Silence! I have had the ARC for sometime now.

    The MJ book is taking me long time. I think I will leave it for now.

    Have a great reading 2010!

  20. rhapsodyinbooks says

    Your list is great! I just couldn't order my favorite reads; it's like rating. One day I'm in the mood to give a book a 3.5 and one day a 4, although I'd have to say the 5s pretty much stay 5s!!!

    Happy New Year!!!

  21. bermudaonion says

    Great list! Galway Bay is on my top 10 as well. Happy New Year!

  22. Great lists — I added a few to my wish list!

  23. C.W. Gortner says

    Thank you so much, Serena, for choosing my novel as one of your top 2009 reads. I hope I can continue to entertain you in 2010 with Catherine de Medici. Happy New Year to you and your readers!