Sunday, December 20, 2009

Anna's Best Books of 2009

It is really difficult to believe that we have been blogging for almost two years! As we come to the end of 2009 it was fun to look back at what we have read and try to choose our favorite books. I was surprised to see that I did not blog any non-fiction this year. That could be for more than one reason. But there is something reassuring and comforting about reading a good novel. Maybe we(I) needed that reassurance and comfort during this past year. I did read some very good novels this year. I chose these five novels as my favorites because they were all great surprises, written by authors I didn’t know and for some it was the author’s first novel. Try one of them and see if you aren't surprised or give one for a gift and join us in 2010 as we discover more wonderful books!

"The Housekeeper and the Professor", by Yoko Ogawa is a beautiful story about a math professor who suffered a brain injury and has only eighty minutes of short term memory.It is a unique story about memory, mathematics, baseball and love that asks the underlying question of whether one can truly love without memory.

"Olive Kitteridge", by Elizabeth Stout is a novel in stories. There are thirteen stories that are connected by the larger than life character, Olive Kitteridge. She is a strong woman, not always liked by those around her, but one who gives the reader the opportunity to watch her change and become the woman she wants to be.

"Tinkers", by Paul Harding is a first novel that is a wonderful combination of beautiful writing, stunning descriptions and a heartwrenching story. The author retells the life stories of three men, a boy, his father and his grandfather. He uses theses stories to show the mystery of existence and connection.

"The White Tiger", the first novel by Aravind Adiga was a facinating story about the self proclaimed White Tiger who is telling a fictional Chinese premier, via emails, the story of how he became a successful entrepreneur. The story is told with charm and wit but it is a strange tale that takes a grim look at the class system in India and the problems evolving with the new developing India.

"The Piano Teacher", by Janice Y. K. Lee takes place in Hong Kong just before and after World War I. It is the story of the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong and the devasting impact it had on the lives of the natives and the large expatriate society in Hong Kong. It is a story of war, love and betrayal told with sparse and riveting prose. One that brings to life a time and place in history, and again the first novel of this author.

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