Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Favourite Reads of 2009 Part I. . .

Over the next few days we'll be posting lists of Favourite Reads of 2009 from librarians and library wholesalers across the country. The rules were simple - these had to be books that were read in 2009, although they certainly didn't have to be published this year, allowing for classics and books that were out in paperback. We did ask for books that were still in print though, so all of these great suggestions are available at your local library or bookstore. A big thanks to everyone who contributed.

Today's list comes courtesy of Barbara Love from Kingston Frontenac Public Library.

Barbara's Favourite Reads of 2009

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Drenched in atmospheric fifties detail, this novel tells the story of a young Irish woman who is sent to America to make a better life for herself. My favourite book of the year and one I stayed up all night to finish.

Small Wars by Sadie Jones
Set in Cyprus during the Suez Crisis of 1956, a young British officer and his wife are deeply affected by the independence-minded Greek Cypriots who wage a terrorist campaign that bears a striking resemblance to the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan today. Plus ca change…

Old City Hall by Robert Rotenberg
A mystery set in Toronto in which a Peter-Gzowski-like radio host confesses to killing his wife and then won’t speak another word to anyone, including his lawyer.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett
At the dawn of the Civil Rights era in Jackson, Mississippi, an aspiring young writer gets a job on the local newspaper, writing the household hints column and has to turn to her friends’ black maids for advice. The audiobook version of this wonderful novel is one of the best I’ve ever heard.

Come, Thou Tortoise by Jessica Grant
Who would have guessed that a novel set in Newfoundland with a talking tortoise as one of its main characters would be as fresh and funny and full of fantastic word play as this is? One after another of our library staff has read and fallen in love with this book.

My Abandonment by Peter Rock
A young girl and her father live in a cave on the outskirts of Portland, Oregon and manage to look after each other and get along quite well until the authorities are alerted and set about improving their lives. A compelling read with a heart-stopping ending.

Indignation by Philip Roth
In the early fifties, as the Korean War looms large, a young college student whose overbearing father threatens to smother him with worry for his safety, abandons his familiar Jewish New Jersey surroundings for a small mid-Western college where he is a distinct outsider.

Home by Marilynne Robinson
A woman and her long-estranged alcoholic brother reunite at their childhood home to help care for their aged, ailing father and try to resolve their past differences. A hauntingly beautiful novel.
The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
A Japanese woman goes to work as a housekeeper and caregiver for a once-brilliant mathematician who suffered a brain injury and whose short-term memory only lasts for 80 minutes at a time. Math lessons mixed in with a great read.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
The prickly concierge of an elegant co-op building in Paris hides her light under a bushel and only slowly reveals her intelligence to a suicidal young tenant through the intervention of a wealthy Japanese businessman who moves into their building. Get out your handkerchiefs.

Barbara Love is Manager of Adult Services and head of Collection Development for the Kingston Frontenac Public Library. She is a founding member of OLA’s Evergreen Committee and a long-time fiction reviewer for Library Journal.

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