Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Good Stuff: Books of 2009

I’ll keep the preamble to a minimum. The books are listed in the order I read them. More detailed posts can be found here.

Favorite crime fiction:

Beat the Reaper, Josh Bazell
Safer, Sean Doolittle
American Rust, Philipp Meyer
No More Heroes, Ray Banks
Bury Me Deep, Megan Abbott
Dark Places, Gillian Flynn
The Jerusalem File, Joel Stone
The Ghosts of Belfast, Stuart Neville
Pariah, Dave Zeltserman
Losers Live Longer, Russell Atwood

Favorite not-crime fiction:

How I Became a Famous Novelist, Steve Hely
Hummingbirds, Joshua Gaylord
The Financial Lives of the Poets, Jess Walter

Bonus Categories:

2008 novel that would have been on this year’s list and could have been on last year’s had I read it in time: The Age of Dreaming, Nina Revoyr

2010 novel that would have been on this year’s list and will probably be on next year’s: Print the Legend, Craig McDonald

Favorite novels that were new to me in 2009: The Red Right Hand, Joel Townsley Rogers (1945) and Adios, Scheherazade, Donald E. Westlake (1970). Again, a thousand thanks to Duane Swierczynski for introducing me to the latter.

Favorite non-fiction:

The Complete Game, Ron Darling
Methland, Nick Reding
L.A. Noir, John Buntin

And finally, the best book I read in 2009 regardless of genre or year of publication is Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis (2003). I’ll go you one better. This book – about economics, business, mathematics, baseball and life – goes on the short list of the greatest books I’ve ever read, along with Dino, Nick Tosches’ biography of Dean Martin, and The Hardy Boys Detective Handbook. Illustrious company indeed.