Books of 2009… A Teaser

I have to say I don’t normally do something like this during a blogging year. Instead I normally do a Savidge Reads Dozen (thirteen though like the Man Booker) Top Reads at the end of the year here is last years. However as its thanksgiving for some today- Happy Thanksgiving to you – Booking Through Thursday was asking about books and authors we are thankful for. Recently I also saw Jackie of Farmlanebooks do her best books of 2009 so far so I thought for a change I would merge the two in a way. My end of year one won’t be books that have necessarily come out in 2009 just ones I have loved in 2009. I thought for now I would give you my top five (in no particular order) as a bit of a teaser, it was tough I can tell you… there is still five weeks to go till 2009 ends so it could all change.

Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie – The story follows possibly my favourite character of the year so far (and there have been a few contenders) Hiroko Tanaka on August the 9th 1945 in Nagasaki just before they dropped the bomb and ‘the world turns white’. Though Hiroko survives her German lover Konrad is killed. Two years later as India declares its independence she turns up on his half-sisters door step in Delhi with nowhere to stay and becomes attracted to their servant Sajjad and all this is in the first 60 pages. The book then follows Hiroko’s story and the story of people around her (that’s all I am saying trying not to plot spoil) through more pivotal times in history such as the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan and America post 9/11… Read more here.

The Shuttle by Frances Hodgson Burnett – The Shuttle is one of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s adult fiction books. I should admit here I haven’t read any of her children’s titles either. I had picked it up purely as it was a Persephone novel and I have wanted to read as many as I can get my hands on frankly. Reading the synopsis in the book cover I wasn’t sure this was going to fare very well with me as it seemed to be about the ships that took American’s to England and vice versa in the late 1800’s. I don’t really do books with ships and so with trepidation I opened the book and then simply couldn’t put it down… Read more here.

Brooklyn by Colm Toibin – ‘Brooklyn’ is a tale of Eilie, a young girl in Ireland after the Second World War where the economy is a disaster and jobs are scarce. Overjoyed simply to find a Sunday and occasional evening job when you can expect little more Eilie is suddenly offered a job and life in Brooklyn where work is easier to find and so is money and more importantly prospects. Eilie soon realises that this isn’t a sudden offer and in fact her mother, sister and brothers (in England) have been well meaningly plotting this for quite some time and really she has no choice.  After following her nightmare journey across the ocean we watch as Eilie settles into a new life with new people and new cultures in an unknown environment. We also watch as she grows from girl to woman and falls in love. It is eventually though a trip home that leads to the climax and a huge decision for Eilie… Read more here.

Henrietta’s War by Joyce Dennys – Henrietta’s War actually started out as columns in Sketch. Dennys was an artist who has many successful collections though once married and a mother in the late 1920’s her life became a domestic one in the English countryside and so needed something to take her frustrations out on. Out came Henrietta’s wartime letters to her ‘childhood friend’ Robert who is ‘out on the front’ and eventually became published as a collection and a novel in the form of this wonderful book. I think that any book that has the line “Dear Robert, I have a great urge to knit something for you” with in the first chapter (or letter in this case) is going to be a hit with me… Read more here.

Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith – Child 44 is set in the 1950’s Soviet Union. A child is found dead with what appears to be soil in his mouth and his family are sure that this is murder despite the boy’s body being found on the train tracks. Leo Demidov of the MGB is sent to cool things over and persuade the family that this is nothing more than a tragic accident, a job he does begrudgingly as he feels it is taking his time away from his more important work. However when Leo himself goes through some very changing circumstances and another body of a child with soil in its mouth is found he begins to realise that there may be a serial killer out there… Read more here.

Now I mentioned that we have five weeks left (how is it going so quickly) and so it could all very easily change. In fact I know there are two books I have read but haven’t written about yet that would probably wing it in the top five at the moment. You could also make it change, I would love you to tell me what the top five books are that you have read this year and if I own them I will try and read some of them and if I don’t own them I will look out for them when I have a small binge next week once we are in December! So its over to you…


Filed under Book Thoughts, Books of 2009

30 responses to “Books of 2009… A Teaser

  1. Child 44 will be my audio book of the year, but Burnt Shadows and Brooklyn just didn’t excite me I’m afraid.

    I bought a copy of The Shuttle, but I don’t think I’ll be able to squeeze it in before the end of the year.

    I’ll be writing a list of my favourite reads nearer the end of the year and top of that list will be The Hunger Games. I’d love you to read that, as I don’t think you’ll be able to put it down!

    • I don’t know why but The Hunger Games just doesnt seem to do it for me from the blurb and the cover, but am always up for a challenge and if I see this one, as I don’t own it, one my splurge next week will pick it up as I know a lot of you have loved it.

  2. Dot

    Child 44 would definitely be in my top 5 too! I was a bit worried due to all the hype surrounding it but I thought it was excellent.

    • I agree Dot, I did think there was quite a lot of hype around the book last year and thats possibly why I held off reading it until this year. I am so glad I did. I do think popping to Tom’s house and chatting to him also added to the book a lot. Have you tried The Secret Speech yet?

  3. novelinsights

    I rather love Child 44 too as you well know. You are making me want to get a copy of The Shuttle. I’ll keep my eyes open in the library next time.

    • Persephone’s are like gold dust in a library so I would see if you can order one in or reserve one when someone else has finished with it. I was very lucky when I managed to pick up three on one day.

  4. Intriguing! I haven’t read any of those, though Henrietta is in my handbag today and The shuttle is TBR…

    • Am looking forward to your thoughts on Henrietta I havent laughed that loudly for a while… thank goodness was read in one sitting indoors.

      • Have you ever read Diary of a nobody? That is laugh out loud funny – I read it at college and I swear that the girl who lived next door must have heard me.

      • I have read Diary of a Nobody adn it didnt quite do it for me for some reason which is a shame as had heard such wonderful things about it. It sort of glossed over me a bit. Maybe was the time I read it???

    • Thanks Marce, I will pop over to your site shortly. Brooklyn is wonderful, a very gentle book and subtle which is why I think some people think its a bit dull. I thought it was beautiful.

  5. I haven’t read any of your books…nice review…I keep my eyes open for them 🙂

  6. Litlove posted a review of The Shuttle. Now I really want to read it. Happy Thanksgiving. Here is mine

  7. Hmm only picking 5 top books from this year is hard but I’ll have a go.

    The Suspicions of Mr Whicher – Kate Summerscale

    Child 44 – Tom Rob Smith

    The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham

    The Time Traveller’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

    Emma – Jane Austen

    • Hoorah Jessica you are the first person who actually put in their top 5 suggestions. I feel you should get a fanfare and a prize. Havent read Emma or Triffids but have loved the other three so think those other two are must reads for me.

  8. My first response was that I am not disclosing my top 10 books for the year. So I highlight authors whom I have discovered and reconnected this year. J.M. Coetzee, Linda Grant, Muriel Barbery, Christopher Bram are on the list.

    Although I haven’t read any of your books, but I have Child 44 on my reading pile. 🙂

    • Well its not obligatory hahahaha just sometimes is nice to share the finest moments. I have to say after such a good reading year to do my final thirteen will be so so difficult.

      Linda Grant I definately want to give a whirl along with Muriel Barbery.

  9. mee

    Oh gosh now I’m not sure if our reading taste is remotely similar, because I absolutely disliked Burnt Shadows 😦 (I almost say hated, but that’s probably a bit mean). But I haven’t read your other top books. I’d love to try Child44.

    • Well we dont all love exactly the same books do we and thats what makes reading and book blogs and book groups so interesting. I am glad you didnt say hate its usch a strong word.

      Child 44 is brilliant!

  10. I also loved Brooklyn and it may end up on my own favorite reads list. I also really enjoyed Child 44, which I read last year. I’d still like to read his new one but will wait for paperback!

  11. Your reviews are excellent – thanks for posting them!

    I am especially interested in Brooklyn – have read two other Toibin books and loved them – i really relate to the themes in his books and his use of language is memorable. Brooklyn is on my TBR and after reading your review, it is moving up quickly!

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