For the past month or so I began following the literary site The Millions. They frequently feature lists from their contributors chronicling a year in reading. These lists are eclectic and fun to compare from one contributor to the next. While some merely list the books they read, others go into more detail about the books they read. Most entries do make a mention of their top pick or top three picks out of what they have read in the past year. Below will be my personal list of what I read in 2009. I cannot really remember half of my list…short term memory problems and lack of organization leaves this list somewhat incomplete but this is what I read in 2009 from May-December. Full book reviews on each title as well as my top pick will be highlighted in forthcoming posts.
1. A Lion Among Men by Gregory Maguire This is the third book in his wildly popular OZ series. A must read for those who have previously read Wicked and Son of a Witch.
2. A Little Bit Wicked: Life, Love, and Faith in Stages by Kristin Chenoweth This is the autobiography from pint-sized broadway dynamo Kristin Chenoweth. While this cannot be billed as a tell-all she classifies it as a “how I got to where I am right now” type of book. It’s very hysterical and a lighthearted read.
3. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield A very contemporary Victorian Gothic pastiche which has original elements and nods to its 19th century predecessors. If you are a bibliophile you will love this work. A very enthralling read by an author whose second novel is long overdue! I say that with complete longing for whatever her next project is!
4. The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe I picked this up within the first week of publication after being shocked that a first time author was featured on national network morning show the day her book launched. Widely reported as one of the hottest reads of the summer this is a fresh lens on the Salem Witch Trials. A landmark debut from a smart and accessible author.
5. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory I don’t think there has been a time in the past 5 years where I haven’t read a novel by this esteemed historical fiction novelist. The White Queen is the first in a new trilogy called ‘The Cousin’s War’. Famous for her Tudor series, this novel chronicles Elizabeth Woodville, mother of The Princes in the Tower. As with all works by Gregory, this was a well researched and engaging read.
6. The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox This nearly 700 page novel is rightly viewed as “Dickens, Austen, and Bronte rolled into one”. While many can consider it a Victorian Gothic pastiche what unfolds is much more complex and sophisticated than perhaps Dickens could have imagined. Written while in the throes of brain cancer Michael Cox weaves a fascinating tale of love, murder, deception and intrigue that spans through three core families in Victorian England. A must read.
7.The Glass of Time by Michael Cox This sequel to the aforementioned The Meaning of Night takes place twenty years after its predecessor. While the sharp turns and angles appear a bit softer in this tome, Cox once again proves his mastery of the Victorian era thriller. Much of the novel can be understood and read as a stand-alone read but I think that it is more enriching and magical to have read the first book prior to The Glass of Time. Even though Michael Cox’s battle with cancer was lost in April 2009, his genius and the thought of what might have come next will live on.
So this is what I read in 2009. As you can see the selections of Victorian Gothic dominated this list; however, it was refreshing to delve into my first memoir. I hope to read a wider range of fiction and non fiction in 2010 and hope that my adventures in reading this year will interest and inspire you to do the same.