Books read 2009.


It’s that time again. Though everybody else has migrated to GoodReads, I continue to post my book list here. Y’all, I just can’t keep up with something else. Meaning a GoodReads account. And I will be honest, reading has always been a solitary sort of experience for me. Even when I post my reviews here, I never really know what happens to them, if people take my advice or not. So the idea of community reading like that, it gives me pause. As always, if you’ve got a good argument for me to finally get an account, I will listen. But meanwhile, this is the list that I wrote down in my tiny notebook. It works for me. Inclusion on this list does not count as a recommendation, and a lack of review should not be considered as a lack of a recommendation. This year my goal was to average 10 books per month, and I am happy to say that I met it.

1. The Host by Stephenie Meyer (f)
2. Q & A by Vikas Swarup (f)
3. LeRoy and the Old Man by W.E. Butterworth (f) (Battle of the Books)
4. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (f) (Battle of the Books)
5. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan (f)
6. My Cousin the Saint by Justin Catanoso (nf) (bookclub)
7. Sing Them Home by Stephanie Kallos (f)

8. Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin (f)
9. The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas (f)
10. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (f) (Battle of the Books)
11. Sin Boldly by Cathleen Falsani (nf) (I didn’t write this one up, but Brandi did.)
12. Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez (f)
13. College Girl by Patricia Weitz (f)
14. Coraline by Neil Gaiman (f)
15. Tangerine by Edward Bloor (f) (Battle of the Books)
16. My Dog Skip by Willie Morris (f)
17. The ABCs of Kissing Boys by Tina Ferraro (f)
18. How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life by Kaavya Viswanathan (f)
19. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (f)
20. A Winter’s Love by Madeleine L’Engle (f)

21. The Girl With No Shadow by Joanne Harris (f)
22. The Reader by Bernard Schlink (f)
23. Skeletons at the Feast by Chris Bohjalian (f) (bookclub)
24. Carolina Harmony by Marilyn Taylor McDowell (f)
25. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (f)
26. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (nf)
27. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan (f)
28. Lady of the Snakes by Rachel Pastan (f)

29. Choosing My Religion by Stephen Dubner (nf)
30. The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters (nf)
31. Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan (f)
32. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (f) (reread) (audiobook – I listened to it while running)
33. The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie R. King (f) (reread)
34. A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King (f) (reread)
35. A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King (f) (reread)
36. The Moor by Laurie R. King (f) (reread)
37. O Jerusalem by Laurie R. King (f) (reread)
38. Justice Hall by Laurie R. King (f) (reread)
39. The Game by Laurie R. King (f) (reread)
40. Locked Rooms by Laurie R. King (f) (reread)
41. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built by Alexander McCall Smith (f)

42. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (f)
43. The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King (f)
44. The Believers by Zoe Heller (f)
45. A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick (f)
46. The Fiction Class by Susan Breen (f)
47. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates (f)
48. Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz (f)
49. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (f)
50. Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson (f) (bookclub)
51. The Art of Detection by Laurie R. King (f)
52. Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies (nf)

53. The Song is You by Arthur Phillips (f)
54. Why Kids Can’t Read by Kylene Beers (nf)
55. A Girl’s Guide to Modern European Philosophy by Charlotte Greig (f)
56. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith (f)
57. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (f)
58. The Gathering by Anne Enright (f)
59. Peculiar Treasures by Robin Jones Gunn (f)
60. On a Whim by Robin Jones Gunn (f)
61. Coming Attractions by Robin Jones Gunn (f)
62. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (f) (bookclub)

63. Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch (f)
64. The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister (f)
65. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke (f)
66. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (f)
67. The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim (f)
68. Peace Like a River by Leif Enger (f)
69. Columbine by Dave Cullen (nf)
70. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (f)
71. Seven Loves by Valerie Trueblood (f)
72. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (f)

73. Little Bee by Chris Cleave (f)
74. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson (f)
75. Prayers for Sale by Sandra Dallas (f)
76. Benny and Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti (f)
77. Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork (f)
78. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner (nf)
79. Love is the Higher Law by David Levithan (f)
80. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (f) (Battle of the Books)
81. The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (f) (Battle of the Books)
82. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (f)
83. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (f) (reread) (yes, it was the British version)
84. Little Children by Tom Perotta (f)
85. The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb (f)
86. The Enders Hotel by Brandon R. Schrand (nf)

87. Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (f)
88. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (f) (reread)
89. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (f) (reread)
90. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart (f)
91. Diary of a Witness by Catherine Ryan Hyde (f)
92. Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick (f) (Battle of the Books)
93. Going Bovine by Libba Bray (f)
94. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale (f)
95. In the Kitchen by Monica Ali (f)
96. The Writing Class by Jincy Willet (f)

97. The Maze Runner by James Dashner (f)
98. Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner (f)
99. Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan (f)
100. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle (f) (reread)
101. The Arm of the Starfish by Madeleine L’Engle (f) (reread)
102. The Monster Variations by Daniel Kraus (f)
103. The Lost Art of Gratitude by Alexander McCall Smith (f)
104. The Magicians by Lev Grossman (f)
105. A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper (f)
106. A House Like a Lotus by Madeleine L’Engle (f) (reread)
107. The Guinea Pig Diaries by A.J. Jacobs (nf)

108. Jesus Girls edited by Hannah Faith Notess (nf)
109. The Book of Jane by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt (f)
110. Swimming by Nicola Keegan (f)
111. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (f)
112. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (f)
113. Consider Lily by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt (f)
114. Joker One: A Marine Platoon’s Story of Courage, Leadership, and Brotherhood by Donovan Campbell (nf) (bookclub)
115. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers (nf)
116. Blankets by Craig Thompson (f) (graphic novel)
117. SuperFreakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner (nf)

118. Entertaining Disasters by Nancy Spiller (f)
119. Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer (f)
120. Sand Sharks by Margaret Maron (f)
121. Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl (f)
122. Fallen by Lauren Kate (f)
123. The Christmas Mystery by Jostein Gaarder (with Mike) (reread)
124. How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone by Sasa Stanisic (f)
125. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (f)
126. Scouting the Divine by Margaret Feinberg (nf)
127. Fat Cat by Robin Brande (f)
128. The Patron Saint of Liars by Ann Patchett (f)

Some of my favorites, in no particular order:
The Girl With No Shadow by Joanne Harris
My Cousin the Saint by Justin Catanoso
The Possibilities of Sainthood by Donna Freitas
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Choosing My Religion by Stephen Dubner
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski
The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim
Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
Columbine by Dave Cullen

Top Ten for the Year (in no particular order):
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Jesus Girls edited by Hannah Faith Notess
The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork
The Hunger Games and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson

I would also like to mention that one of my greatest reading pleasures this year was getting two people to read the Harry Potter series in its entirety. I got emails and text messages from them that were a joy to read, full of the excitement and anticipation that I remember about reading through the books (except they didn’t have to wait like some of us did, jerks). The other great pleasures that should be mentioned are my rereads of Laurie King’s Mary Russell series and of some of my favorite Madeleine L’Engle books. Those rereads, coming at just the right time, helped remind me that, indeed, books can be an axe for the frozen sea within us. Those are certainly books that helped thaw me out this year.

Previous book lists: 2005 2006 2007 2008

If you posted a book list, please link it in the comments, or at least tell me what your favorite was! Posting book lists is one of my favorite days of the year.

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  1. […] Books read 2009. – Through a Glass, Darkly (tags: gfmorris_comment) […]


  1. As one of the jerks, my own book list would be kind of…repetitive, as you know. Harry Potter and the _____. Seven times. So glad I read those this year.

    I also read Daisy Chain by Mary DeMuth and started the sequel, A Slow Burn. Haven’t finished it yet, though. I look forward to her memoir, Thin Places, to come out in February. I love her writing voice, but sometimes I have to gear up to read, as some of the themes in her books are dark and heavy. But they have nice redeeming qualities as well.

    Perhaps I’ll write a book post…

    Posted 1/1/2010 at | Permalink
  2. Your book lists always makes me want to read more. I just don’t carve out the time to do it. πŸ™

    Posted 1/1/2010 at | Permalink
  3. Kari, I love your annual book lists. It catches me up on books you wrote about that I might’ve missed, and also clues me in to other books I should ask your opinions on. (How’d you like The Art of Simple Food? I want.)

    And of course, it intimidates me with the sheer volume of books! My own list is disappointingly short for 2009 (around 60-something, as opposed to my usual 80 or so). I think that says a lot about my year, and will likely result in a blog entry in the coming days.

    I’m a good reads user, and I like it because I enjoy cross-referencing when I’ve read different books. However, I don’t much use it as a book reviewing site. I like seeing what my friends are reading, but I really just like the ease of cataloging what I’ve read and what I own. I also keep a book journal for my own thoughts.

    Posted 1/1/2010 at | Permalink
  4. I love your book lists! (So many good ideas for my list next year!)

    (I also love the re-design of the site – very sleek!)

    Here’s mine – a little slimmer than last year, but fewer (I think) that I really didn’t like.

    Posted 1/1/2010 at | Permalink
  5. I love your annual list, and do take your reviews seriously, so I appreciate when you post them!

    One of the best things about goodreads for me is how fast it is to see that multiple friends have all highly rated a book. For example, if you and carla jean BOTH love a book, that’s going to multiply my interest exponentially. Though I have read books because of them, a good review on a blog is more forgettable. I love that I can instantly add something to my “to-read” list at the same place instead of needing to go to another website and find the book to add to a list there.

    My 2009 list is posted on the blog, still in the 4 books a month rut, trying to climb out of it by hook or crook in 2010.

    Posted 1/1/2010 at | Permalink
  6. wow kari, i’m impressed and inspired. you read an average of 10 books a month? i barely read a couple books all year. i know your love of books runs deep, but still. that is a dedication reserved only for the most bookish of people. how do you decide which books to read?

    Posted 1/1/2010 at | Permalink
  7. I have a list of books that I want to read that I update a lot. When my hold list at the library gets low, I add things to it from there. I read a lot of book reviews and book blogs and always write down titles that sound interesting. I guess I work at it a bit, but no more than most people pay attention to things that are their main hobby/interest.

    I think that as far as Good Reads goes, I am already in the habit of keeping my “to read” list somewhere else, so it seems like a lot of work to switch over. I have a system already that works, but one of my New Year’s goals is to be more participatory in all areas of my life, so I am going to consider it. Mike signed up for a Good Reads account this morning, actually.

    Posted 1/1/2010 at | Permalink
  8. Here’s mine:

    I hope to read a lot more this year now that the Bible project is over. I will be returning to your list repeatedly for ideas. πŸ™‚

    Love the new design!

    Posted 1/1/2010 at | Permalink
  9. I love the new look of your blog…and if you had one of those goodread accounts (have no clue what that is…does that make me bad??) then i wouldn’t get to read them here and I tell you, you have a very unique blog. It isn’t JUST reviews and it isn’t JUST your ideas, it’s a little of all of it and how it all gets mixed up together and I love that…I am so glad I stumbled onto your blog this year…such a wonderful (and at time challenging) experience for me. I say challenging, because you use terms and ideas that are out of my context or vocabulary and I have to go explore it out…such as “advent” and “lent”…do you believe I have never understood those seasons in the church because I didn’t grow up in a church that kept or honored these…I still have no idea about them but am presently on a mission to learn about some of these church concepts and broaden my horizons…keep on writing. It’s just wonderful.

    Posted 1/1/2010 at | Permalink
  10. mike

    OK. I did not write down what books I read this year which made it very difficult to post my list. To the best of my ability I created a list using this goodreads website you mentioned.

    I don’t know if you’ll be able to see it.

    I did read 6 books this year twice.

    Would you like to know my favorites?
    1. The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt (I am looking forward to rereading this book again. This is a book I read twice. I finished it and started it over again immediately. My favorite new read of the year.)
    2. Peter and the Starcatchers series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson (Extremely fun books.)
    3. My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger (I should always trust you when you tell me to read a book.)
    4. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (My vote for the Newbery.)
    5. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins (Everyone we recommend this book to loves it…trust us…it is that good.)
    6. All the John Green books. He is the best YA author currently writing.
    7. Nothing quite tops the annual rereading of the Harry Potter Series. (This month Kari and I are celebrating the 10 year anniversary of starting the series.)

    Posted 1/1/2010 at | Permalink
  11. love, love, LOVE your new site. so you, and so fun! you know i do not have a book list…as much as i wish i did. but i always enjoy reading yours. the sheer magnitude of it just blows me away! happy new year, friend.

    Posted 1/1/2010 at | Permalink
  12. Susan

    I just like knowing that your book lists are out there for when I have time to read again, ha. I don’t care where you keep them. πŸ™‚

    Also, I was surprised to see that A Winter’s Love wasn’t a reread for you… what did you think?

    Posted 1/1/2010 at | Permalink
  13. I thought it was okay. I read a review where someone was saying that it was not as confident as her very first novel and not as developed as her later novels, and I think that’s true. It just didn’t come together for me like a lot of her later books do. It’s lacking something. For me, it was interesting because I hadn’t read it before, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

    Posted 1/2/2010 at | Permalink
  14. I don’t do GoodReads either. I mean, I have an account but I don’t update it with what I’ve read. I have a hard enough time keeping up with what I *do* do, that one more thing like GoodReads that’s basically redundant of my blog? No thanks.

    Glad you loved The Hunger Games and Catching Fire! The next book is coming out in 2010, I think in August or September. Woohoo! I can’t wait. πŸ™‚

    I think you’d like Tana French. She has two books out right now, with a third coming out this summer. The first is IN THE WOODS, which is a mystery (perhaps even a literary mystery), and the second is THE LIKENESS, which was my absolute favorite book of 2008, and I haven’t read a book since that has been as good as THE LIKENESS. I really can’t recommend it enough. However, you have to read IN THE WOODS first, because while THE LIKENESS isn’t a sequel, it spins off of one of the characters from IN THE WOODS. Also, THE LIKENESS is so good that you would be very disappointed with IN THE WOODS if you read it first.

    Posted 1/2/2010 at | Permalink
  15. I heard August 24th for the new Hunger Games book! I am very excited.

    Thank you for the recommendations. Someone recommended In the Woods to my husband this year, too, actually. I recognized the cover once I looked it up. I will have to see about getting a copy.

    I looked at your favorites list on your blog and it looks like we have some overlap. I’m on hold for Graceling at the library, so I’m looking forward to that one, too.

    Posted 1/2/2010 at | Permalink
  16. Rose

    I also enjoy your “Annual Books I Read list”, and I think I numbered about 88 books for 2009. Just out of curiosity(since it killed the cat), what are some your favorite book blogs?

    Posted 1/5/2010 at | Permalink
  17. Tim Wright


    Wow, well done. If this is not to cheeky, I would like to know what are a few books out of this list that you would believe would be helpful to someone who helps people become aware of their interior emotional landscape of the trauma of their life. I need something that talks of becoming and wrestling oursleves out of the trauma of what happened to us to whom we are becoming. Also any books for me to read about a family that is truth telling, maybe funny, insightful, and affirming. I have two daughters, 14 & 13 and also my lovely wife. We still all snuggle into bed and read to each other.


    Tim Wright
    Carlisle, England

    Posted 1/7/2011 at | Permalink
  18. Mark Allman

    My favorite Malcolm Gladwell book is The Tipping Point. I also liked his Blink book. I had high hopes for The Maze series after Hunger Games but it was just not memorable for me. I think Divergent is awesome and so far matches The Hunger Games for me.

    Posted 7/3/2012 at | Permalink

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