BTT/T13: Best of 2009


So, awhile back, I listed my Best Women-Penned of 2009. This week’s Booking Through Thursday asked what our best books of 2009 were, and since I wasn’t able to make the vague ideas for this week’s Thursday Thirteen gel, here’s a list of 13 of the best books I read in 2009.

**Note. Some links will take you to reviews, others to buy links via Any books you buy with my Powell’s affiliate will earn me money … which will go to buying books to share with you guys. I’m not keeping any profits I make through the Powell’s affiliate, only from the royalties I earn on The Demo Tapes (buy link for THAT below).

1. I started off the year with my first Greg Iles book, 24 Hours. I need to find more of Mr. Isles’ books. This was a great thriller.

2. Then I stepped back in time — with my very next read! — and discovered Michael Simon. I started with his first book, Dirty Sally. Loved the noir going on. My book club? Not so much. I’ll keep reading the series without them.

3. I read a bunch of rock and roll fiction. Rock Bottom by Michael Shilling, The Rock Star’s Homecoming by Linda Gould, Bahama Burnout by Don Bruns, Dark Side of the Morgue by Raymond Benson. Some were great, some weren’t. Later in the year, I got to A&R by Bill Flanagan and Do The Devil’s Work by Rick Florino, as well as Erica Kennedy’s Bling and Cecil Castellucci’s Beige and Dylan Schaffer’s Misdemeanor Man. (Reviews of these last three will appear at Rocks ‘n Reads sooner or later.)

4. Sometimes, I feel like I was one of the last people to be introduced to Lloyd Jones. His Mr. Pip is still making the rounds of my book club, and it’s a book I repeatedly refer to.

5. I really like fantasy and George RR Martin is truly one of the masters of the genre. I read A Clash of Kings this year — it took forever, as it was the book on my nightstand — and found that even though the cast is huge and I’d read the first book in the series years ago, I was brought up to speed seamlessly.

6. I got around to reading a lot of popular books: Audrey Niffeneger’s The Time-Traveler’s Wife, Christopher Paolini’s Eragon, Ann Brashare’s The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. One I loved, three I liked, one didn’t impress.

7. I’ve spent LOTS of time raving about Hank Phillippi Ryan. Why haven’t you joined me yet?

8. Another rock book and another rave: Tommyland, written by the majorly colorful (on many levels) Tommy Lee. I think you guys know I dig these books written by rockers. (See my raves about Tommy’s bandmate Nikki Sixx and his Heroin Diaries.)

9. The brilliantly written Shadow Man introduced me to Cody McFadyen. I’ve heard a lot about McFadyen from a number of you guys. I finally picked this book up and … wow. Okay, I had a FEW quibbles, but overall, this is a great debut. I can’t wait to read the second in the series; it’s sitting here, waiting for me.

10. Although I already raved about it in the women-penned list I linked to above, Song of the Seals by Christy Yorke deserves a second mention. The atmosphere alone made this an incredible read and as we’re passing it around my book club, we’re all talking about how it steered away from cliche.

11. After hearing one of my son’s classmates’ moms tell me she didn’t like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (written by Jeff Kinney), I picked up the first and read it. I like the mom, but it was a reminder of why I don’t fit in with many (most?) of the moms in this area. I can’t even pretend to share her concerns.

12. Series: Gini Hartzmark, Charlaine Harris (Sookie), Janet Evanovich (Stephanie Plum), Steven Brust, Kathy Reichs, Colleen Gleason (another West of Mars favorite), Rachel Caine, MaryJanice Davidson, Marcia Muller, Linda Fairstein, Alexander McCall Smith.

13. And, of course, there are my own books. If you haven’t joined the Trevolution yet, why not? Drop me a line; I can hook you up with autographed copies.



  1. Gattina

    December 31, 2009 10:38 am

    I don’t remember how many books I read this year but certainly a lot. Unfortunately none of what you read. English books are not that easy to find and all are not translated into french.
    Happy New Year !
    .-= Gattina´s last blog .. =-.

  2. lilly

    December 31, 2009 11:14 am

    That’s an awesome list you got here. Greg Isles definitely is one of the best thriller writers on the market today. Blood Memory was the one that got me hooked.
    .-= lilly´s last blog ..BTT: 2009 In Review =-.

  3. carol

    December 31, 2009 11:38 am

    Great list of books. I can sympathize with not fitting in with the “Moms,” by the way.

    Have a Happy New Year!

  4. Andi

    December 31, 2009 11:53 am

    Yikes, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is one of the only ones I’ve read on your list (and I despised it, by the way). I may try some of the others in 2010. I think I need to expand my horizons a bit.
    .-= Andi´s last blog ..Thursday thirteen: 13 stories of giving =-.

  5. Darlene

    December 31, 2009 1:24 pm

    That’s quite the list Susan. You aren’t the last person to hear of Mr. Pip. I have this book on my shelf and still haven’t gotten to it. I agree about Hank Phillippi Ryan – I’m starting the next book in the series and very excited to see what’s going to happen.

    I hope you have a great New Year Susan. I wish you all the best life has to offer in 2010 cause you deserve it my friend!

  6. Alice Audrey

    December 31, 2009 1:28 pm

    This list just wouldn’t look right without the rock books.
    .-= Alice Audrey´s last blog ..13 New Years Resolutions =-.

  7. Irishcoda

    December 31, 2009 3:24 pm

    I love the Song of Fire & Ice series by George R.R. Martin! I haven’t read the 4th book yet though. It’s on my TBR list. I’ll have to check out the others you list. 🙂
    .-= Irishcoda´s last blog ..Tracking My Weight Loss =-.

  8. CountryDew

    December 31, 2009 4:25 pm

    Great list of books. I didn’t read too many this year that were outstanding; only a few come to mind out of the over 50 I read.
    Hope 2010 is a great year for you.
    .-= CountryDew´s last blog ..Thursday Thirteen =-.

  9. Shelley Munro

    December 31, 2009 4:46 pm

    There are some great reads on your list. I read mainly romance these days – it’s all I have time to read and I need to keep up with the market. I do love a good thriller though.
    .-= Shelley Munro´s last blog ..Recycle Christmas =-.

  10. jillconyers

    December 31, 2009 6:22 pm

    Adding a few of your titles to my to-read list. On #6 which one did not impress? I loved Time Traveler’s Wife.

    A happy and healthy new year to you.
    .-= jillconyers´s last blog .. =-.

  11. don

    December 31, 2009 7:19 pm

    And I’m curious about #3. Which one wasn’t so good? Ah, you know writers. A paranoid bunch, right?

  12. Harriet

    December 31, 2009 7:50 pm

    Wow. Wonderful list!
    Happy New Year to you 🙂
    .-= Harriet´s last blog ..13 Popular New Years Resolutions =-.

  13. Thomma Lyn

    December 31, 2009 8:33 pm

    That’s a great list of books — so many books, so little time! Happy New Year, my friend, and Happy New Decade! 🙂
    .-= Thomma Lyn´s last blog ..New Year’s Resolutions =-.

  14. Julia Smith

    December 31, 2009 8:41 pm

    As you probably know, it takes me forever to read – not a book-gobbler, me. Half the time I’m sleeping instead of reading while I’m on the bus. But the two Geraldine Brooks novels I read, as well as Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, which I’m reading now, have been my favorites for this year.

    Happy New Year, Susan! May you have a good and sweet year.
    .-= Julia Smith´s last blog ..Thursday Thirteen – 139 – 13 of My Favorite News Stories From 2009 =-.

  15. Devilish Southern Belle

    December 31, 2009 11:44 pm

    Aw, now, give up the goods! Which did you like/not like? Specifically, which of the rock and roll fiction would you recommend, and what isn’t worth my time!

    Happy New Year, my friend! I am so looking forward to the project in 2010! Just need to stock up on a few good reads & get to reviewing!

  16. a desi

    January 1, 2010 3:21 am

    I wish you…

    love and luck and so much more on the auspicious occasion of NEW YEAR’S EVE and 2010.

    May all your resolutions and dreams come true!


  17. Bobkat

    January 1, 2010 11:37 am

    Some great books there and one or two I will have to put on my list for this year.

    Happy New Year Susan. I hope the Trevolution will continue apace for 2010 🙂
    .-= Bobkat´s last blog ..Health, Wealth and Happiness =-.

  18. Stacy

    January 1, 2010 12:44 pm

    I discovered Greg Iles this year too. Hope 2010 is good to you 🙂
    .-= Stacy´s last blog ..2010 Goals and Challenges =-.

  19. Mariana N. Blaser

    January 1, 2010 6:53 pm

    Great list of readings Susan!

    And I loved to see some fantasy stuff in there. Got me curious too, heh.

    My readings this year were mostly focused on the classics, which I love! But I have an extensive wish list (that is bigger as from now, heh) which includes contemporary things too. Obviously, duh. lol

    Hey, happy new year! 😀
    .-= Mariana N. Blaser´s last blog ..Happy New Year! =-.

  20. BeadedTail

    January 1, 2010 11:49 pm

    That’s quite a list! I love hearing about books that others have discovered and especially from such a great author like you! 😀

    Wishing you a very happy new year!
    .-= BeadedTail´s last blog ..Happy New Year! =-.

  21. Anna

    January 2, 2010 3:11 am

    I share your thoughts with the Wimpy Kid books. They’re supposed to be fun, nothing more.

    Anyway, happy new year!
    .-= Anna´s last blog ..Everything Austen Challenge: Completed =-.

  22. Lesley

    January 3, 2010 5:31 pm

    I was wondering if those diary of a wimpy kid were any good. I’m reading the Sookie series right now, and I have to say I’m enjoying them quite a bit. The style is very unique, and I waver between loving it and being slightly annoyed with some of the repetition but overall they are fabu.

    Happy New Year!

  23. Anne

    January 4, 2010 1:58 pm

    I haven’t read most of those. I will have to check them out. Thank you for the recommendations.

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