Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

My Top Ten Books of 2009

The past year was an interesting one for books. The advent of the Kindle and E-readers has brought a new surge of interest in reading, as well as the expansion of audio books. Anything that promotes reading is ok by me.

For me personally, the beginning of this humble blog was like opening a new and exciting doorway on reading. I have had the pleasure of meeting and making new "book buddies," become acquainted with authors I would have otherwise not encountered, and worked with some of the best in the publicity and publishing business. It's been an honor and a joy!

In looking back over the books I have reviewed in 2009, I have come up with what I consider, in my opinion, to be the best ten books to come out this year.

As a disclaimer, this is what I think were the best books of the year. In comparing my list to Publisher’s Weekly’s, New York Times’ or Amazon.com’s lists, it is widely different. But here is my top ten, for what it’s worth. I hope you find something you might enjoy too.

Here’s to a new decade of reading, beginning in 2010!

10. Between Me and The River: Living Beyond Cancer – A Memoir
By Carrie Host
Harlequin Books; $22.95

“Between Me and The River” is one of the most poignant books I’ve run across that deals with the facts about having cancer. Host doesn’t sugar-coat the days and weeks of pure agony she experienced during her treatments and the frustration she dealt with almost daily, but she also includes the moments of joy and laughter that envelope her life through her family, her children, her friends, and the medical staff who were in the battle with her.

9. Water, Stone, Heart
By Will North
Random House; $24

Set during the 2004’s devastating flood that wiped out the community of Boscastle, England, Will North’s fictional story brings drama, emotion and excitement of its own epic variety to readers. He paints a pretty picture of the tranquil little town before the disaster, and captures the very real fears and mayhem that accompanied the actual event.

8. Hothouse Flower and the 9 Plants of Desire
By Margot Berwin
Random House; $24

Part love story, part thriller, Margot Berwin’s novel delivers a delightful and downright sexy adventure that will enthrall and charm readers. It also created quite a stir in the literary world when Julia Robert bought the film rights to the story.

7. The Lost Symbol
By Dan Brown
Doubleday Books; $29.95

Dan Brown delivers a rollercoaster ride of a thriller with “The Lost Symbol.” It was fascinating learning about the Freemasons and their massive influence on the founding of our country. “The Lost Symbol” was one of the most highly anticipated novel releases of the year. It had been six years since readers have had their “Robert Langdon” fix, but the wait worth it.

6. The Well and The Mine
By Gin Phillips
Riverhead Trade; $15

Gin Phillips has done a magnificent job of portraying the culture and traditions of the Southern way of life in this captivating story of family life in depression-era Alabama. You can almost taste the hand-churned butter melting off homemade biscuits with just a dab of pear preserves for sweetening.

5. Lavender Morning
By Jude Deveraux
Atria Books; $25.95

Jude Deveraux has created a gorgeously intriguing tale full of mystery, humor and romance with “Lavender Morning.” As the first book in a promised series featuring Jocelyn, Sara and Tess, “Lavender Morning” delivers a punch of excitement to the world of women’s fiction.

4. Pike Point and The Good Lord’s Earth
By Greg Suhonen
AuthorHouse; $18.25

Author Greg Suhonen invites his readers to experience the beauty and majesty of Minnesota through his descriptive words and lively story. Suhonen’s characters in “Pike Point” are warm and engaging, from impish Grandpa Paavo to tenderhearted mom Ellie, even down to curmudgeonly old Skinny, the brilliant wood carver/hermit. These are people you want to meet and become friends with. An outstanding accomplishment for the debut author.

3. The Lacemakers of Glenmara
By Heather Barbieri
Harper Collins; $24.99

You got to love a good Irish story! With “The Lacemakers of Glenmara,” author Heather Barbieri has written a warm, fascinating novel that was simply a joy to read. Her characters are people you would want to meet and get to know better and her writing style has an easy-going flow that makes it a pleasure to peruse.

2. Cleopatra’s Daughter
By Michelle Moran
Crown Publishers; $25

Author Michelle Moran examines the destiny of the Egyptian royal children through the eyes and voice of Princess Selene, daughter of the infamous Cleopatra. By telling the story through the voice of Selene, from a little girl to a young woman, Moran gives the reader a more in-depth and personal view of the history of ancient Rome. Her descriptions of the culture and traditions of that time are rich and vivid. In a unique marketing twist, “Cleopatra’s Daughter” was offered both as an adult fiction and as a young adult novel. Younger readers will easily follow the events of Selene and her twin brother’s lives, while adults will not feel the book is too childish. That is a stroke of writing genius, to be able to please both demographics.

1. The Help
By Kathryn Stockett
Putnam Books; $24.95

In her debut novel, “The Help,” author Kathryn Stockett pulls from her childhood memories of growing up in Mississippi to bring an amazing story of friendship and the changing social climate that swirled around the ladies of the South in the mid 1960s. Stockett tells the stories of three women, whose lives intersect and meld in a way that would change their lives and the lives of those around them forever.
Stockett wrote this novel shortly after the events of September 11th. Experiencing deep homesickness for her childhood home in Mississippi, she began to write about her upbringing, and memories of her own family’s beloved maid and from these stories and remembrances sprang the remarkable novel that continues to grace the best-seller lists.


Mary said...

Nice list, Sharon. Your top three are on my 2009 favorite books list as well. I'll be looking for the Will North book. I read his The Long Walk Home (last April). Here's to a great year of books in 2010!

Joanne said...

Hi, Sharon -- Looks like you had a great year of reading!

Just taking this opportunity to thank you for your visits to my blog this year and also for the beautiful "Sharon's yellow rose" award which you so kindly bestowed upon my humble little blog!

Have a wonderful new year, and here's so more great books in 2010!

Janel said...

Nice list of books. Some of them I have never heard of, but they definitely sound interesting!

Have a Happy New Year!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I've got "The Help" on my nightstand right now! And I'm looking forward to it...can't wait!

Mystery Writing is Murder

....Petty Witter said...

I love the new look blog.
I'm sorry to say I haven't read a single book on your list though The Lost Symbol should be arrriving any day now. Happy New Year to you and yours Sharon and here's to many more books (and reviews) in 2010.

Kay said...

Sharon, I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy your blog. Don't think I have commented so far, but I am around. The Help was my top read for 2009 as well and I put Between Me and the River on my list. It sounds wonderful.

I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year! Take care.

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

Wonderful list Sharon! Happy New Year!