A Year in Books – 2009 Edition, The Rest of It

You got my favorite books this morning. And now, let’s move on to the other categories (in no particular order):

Book That Seemed the Longest (and Probably Was)

That has to be Cryptonomicon. And I won’t even discuss why that is.

Best Children’s Book

I didn’t read a lot of children’s books this year, for no particular reason. Obviously the winner here is Madeleine l’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

Most Disappointing Books (of Sorts)

 I really can’t decide here. Chris Cleave’s The Other Hand made the mistake of promising too much. I wouldn’t say that it was a bad book, but it just didn’t live up to its praise. (The lesson here is: Don’t buy a book that won’t provide any information on its back and just saying that you should just read it.) Donald Norman’s The Design of Future Things wasn’t anywhere near as good as The Design of Everyday Things. Scarlett Thomas’s PopCo was great in the first half of the book, but it all went downhill in the second half. 

In the end, I think PopCo is the „winner“ here. Sorry.

Best Non-Fiction

This goes to Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, a book that left me initially underwhelmed, but which I found myself quoting again and again, so it really did have an influence on me. (It would be very easy to name Dave Eggers’s A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius or What is the What here, but they both didn’t really feel like non-fiction.)

Most Charming Book

In the end The Little Book by Selden Edwards can proudly claim to be the winner of this category. I’d like to mention The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz and – of course – A Staggering Work of Heartbreaking Genius since they were in the run as well.

Book With the Most Anticlimactic Ending

Again, Scarlett Thomas’s PopCo wins. Anticlimactic endings and disappointment just fits together really well.

Saddest Book

Carolyn Parkhurst’s The Dogs of Babel. For some reason, I read this for the second time and again it was really, really sad. 

Best Kind-of-Victorian Ghost Story

Easy: Audrey Niffenegger’s Her Fearful Symmetry. (What did you expect?)

Strangest Book

Ultimately, it has to be David Mitchell’s number9dream. David Mitchell is such an obvious choice that I’d like to add that Jonathan Barnes’s The Somnambulist came in a close second.

Clunkiest Use of a Deus Ex

Jonathan Barnes’s The Somnambulist is a clear winner. I still recommend the book, but you’ll know what I mean when I read it.

Best Comic

This has to be Jeff Smith’s Bone – Rock Jaw, Master of the Eastern Border (Vol. 5). The only comic books I read were volume five and six of the Bone series, and volume five had all the cute animal orphans.


So that was it for the last year. I’ve already read my first two books for 2010 to make sure that I have plenty of choices for next January.

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