… and my further top five from 2009 (I’m enjoying your recommendations too, folks!)
6. The American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld. I reviewed this here.
7. Rebuilt by Michael Chorost. See, here we go with that description problem again … this is a memoir by a man who got a cochlear implant at age 30. Yaaaaaawn. But it is, in fact, a brilliant, funny, honest and compassionate look at what it means to be a social being, the difference between hearing and listening, and the nature of relationships.
8. Still Woman Enough by Loretta Lynn with Patsi Bale Cox. I’d planned to write about Loretta Lynn’s second autobiography — the one she wrote after her husband died, when she could really tell the truth — when I first read it, but shortly after that, the Roman Polanski scandal broke and I couldn’t, because I couldn’t wrap my head around Ms. Lynn’s marriage at age 13. Months after I’ve read the book, I still don’t know what to make of it. Ms. Lynn’s intelligence and ignorance are both on astonishing display as she recounts her improbable life.
9. Guns, Germs, & Steel by Jared Diamond. Yes, finally, like the rest of the world, I read this classic of “Why Everything Is the Way It Is and Not Some Other Way Entirely, and by the Way It Has Nothing to Do with Race.” Good book, although a number of folks in one of my chats mentioned that it’s fairly repetitious, which indeed it was.
10. Under the Dome by Stephen King. I said I liked King on a wide canvas? Here, he gives himself an entire Maine town to characterize — and kill. It’s no spoiler to say that 300 pages in, I was already beginning to wonder if enough people would survive to finish the 1,000+-page novel. Whatever your politics, the first 400 pages or so after “the dome” of the title descends will make you angry — either by reminding you of the Bush administration, or by painting an unfair picture of it. Then the action kicks in. Don’t make any social plans after you hit page 600 or so.