Gosh, I have had a hard time narrowing down my top reads in 2009! I counted the number of books that are marked as my favourites and found out there are 34 books in total. Initially, I have planned to do a Top 10 list but I caved in in the end so let me present you my Top 20 list (in no particular order):

- Fallen Skies by Philippa Gregory
- Kitchen by Banana Yoshimoto
- The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
- The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
- The Lost Hours by Karen White
- Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
- The Accidental Bestseller by Wendy Wax
- Skin by Mo Hayder
- Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
- Stolen by Lucy Christopher
- Looking for Alaska by John Green
- The Heights by Brian James
- The Ghost Writer by John Harwood
- Ash by Malinda Lo
- The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
- Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
- The Girl on Legare Street by Karen White
- Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
- Love in Translation by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga

And here are the other titles that did not make it to the Top 20 but are still my favourites:

- Ritual by Mo Hayder
- The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
- Evermore by Alyson Noel
- Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto
- Godmother : The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon
- Sonata for Miriam by Linda Olsson
- The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer
- The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale
- No One You Know by Michelle Richmond
- Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
- The House on Tradd Street by Karen White
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
- Waiting for You by Susane Colasanti

If I find it difficult to compile my Top 20 list, let me tell you it is even harder to come up with a Book(s) of the Year list, so that is why I will have a title for each genre instead of naming only one title in all. It definitely made things easier for me and it sounds fairer, isn't it? After all, how could you possibly compare a literary fiction with a thriller, or any of the others?

Without further ado, here are the results for my Book(s) of the Year - 2009 (Please note all titles are nominated from my favourite reads and that not all genres are listed.)

Best Fiction - Love in Translation by Wendy Nelson Tokunaga
Reason: For starters, it is the wonderful reading experience I had while reading this book. A real heartwarming story that put a smile to my face, and it has all the elements I love in a book (family, friendship and love). I could not ask for more. The protagonist is a great character; one whom I admire for her courage and determination.

Best Horror - The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Reason: The story had me hooked from the beginning till the end. Great suspense, great characters and very atmospheric! And most of all, I loved the ambiguous ending.

Best Mystery & Crime - Heartsick by Chelsea Cain
Reason: I have to confess I had a hard time choosing a book under this category. I had read a few good crime thrillers last year, including two books by Mo Hayder who is one of my most favourite crime thrillers authors of all time. However, I was most intrigued by the characters in Heartsick (in particularly the strange relationship between the detective and the murderer) besides the crimes she has committed. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series, and I wonder if there is anything more between the characters.

Best Thrillers - The Ghost Writer by John Harwood
Reason: I simply could not turn down a good gothic mystery! I loved John Harwood's prose and I can say this book is both a character-driven and a plot-driven story.

Best Romance - Dreaming of You by Lisa Kleypas
Reason: I have to admit I did not read a lot of romance novels last year. Dreaming of You has all the right elements of a classic historical romance. It has a great plot but most of all, I enjoyed watching the sparks fly between the hero and the heroine.

Best YA - Stolen by Lucy Christopher
Reason: I have always wonder about Stockholm syndrome, and this book has made me think hard about the relationship between the captor and the captive. And I really liked the plot, and how this book has captured the protagonist's emotions well - from her feelings towards her captor to the wild remote place she is being forced to stay. It is one of the most memorable reads I had last year.
22 Responses
  1. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    I found it incredibly hard to narrow down my favorites, but you have done a great job. There are many here I haven't read, but I'm adding them to my lists!

  2. Care Says:

    I love how you organized this! and introduced me/reminded me of quite a few I want to read. Thank you.

  3. Jenny Says:

    Looks like you had an excellent reading year. Hope 2010's just as good for you! :)

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Great list. I've read a couple of these and most of the others are on my wish list!

  5. Ceri Says:

    Awwww, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas! I love that book. It's so heartbreaking. You've got a hell of a list there, Mel. Well done, though! I can't wait to see what you do for 2010. :D

  6. Violet Says:

    I have a couple of books in my TBR from this list and many on my wishlist, I hope I get to them this year.

    what a great way to summarize.

  7. Iliana Says:

    It is so hard to choose favorites when you've read so many good books right? I swear, I have half of your favorites on my TBR list! I'm sure I put them there after your recommendations :)

    Hope this will be another great reading year!

  8. Ladytink_534 Says:

    Heartsick was such a good story. I need to pick up the third one sometime soon.

  9. bermudaonion Says:

    Great list! I've read several of those books and really enjoyed the ones I did.

  10. Melody Says:

    Sandy - Yes, it's so hard to narrow down my favourites!! There're so many books I wanted to read last year so I'm going to squeeze them into this year reading!

    Care - Thank you, Care! I hope to read all the genres this year. I'm not sure if it's possible but I'm trying. ;)

    Jenny - I hope you've a great reading year this year too! :)

    Stacy - I'm glad to hear some of the books I mentioned are on your wishlist! I can't wait to find out what you'll think of them!

    Ceri - I haven't watched The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas so I hope I'll catch it in DVD in the near future. :)

    Violet - I hope you'll read the books on your wishlist soon! And I look forward to reading your reviews on them! :)

    Iliana - Indeed! It is as hard as saying no to books buying, LOL. I hope this will be another great reading year for you too! :)

    Jen - Yes, it is! I hope to read the second instalment soon!!

  11. Melody Says:

    Kathy - We must have posted our comments at the same time!

    I'm glad you enjoyed the books you read!

  12. Alice Says:

    I'm having a hard time too and totally gave up on even attempting it. LOL!

    I have to read STOLEN soon. I have it in my TBR and also some of the others you've listed here. :D

  13. Melody Says:

    Alice - I hope you'll do a post on your top reads! I'd like to know what are your favourites though. ;)

    I hope you'll enjoy reading STOLEN when you get to it!

  14. Julia Says:

    Great long list Melody! And I see that Mo Hayder is add in which I'm not surprise to see on your list :) So happy to see that HEARTSICK by Chelsea Cain made it to your list as I thought it was awesome read too :)

  15. You have a lot of great books in that list! I loved The Seance by John Harwood, but haven't got around to reading Ghost Writer yet - I'll have to ensure I get to it in 2010.

  16. joanna Says:

    Sigh, so many great titles! I'll be keeping your list to reference in the next few months, we share some favorites so I think I need to check out some of the ones on your list that I'd never heard of! And congrats on a great reading year by the way!

  17. Anna Says:

    The Hunger Games and The School of Essential Ingredients make my "best of" list, too!

    Diary of an Eccentric

  18. The Bookworm Says:

    Great post Mel. Thats a nice list of books.
    I did enjoy Heartsick.
    Now I have more books to add to my TBR :)

  19. Anonymous Says:

    The list looks great Melody. I think it's awesome when you can't narrow it down to a top 20. I've been wanting to read Looking for Alaska for a long time. I need to soon. Have a great 2010!

  20. Darlene Says:

    Great post Melody and what a great list of books!

  21. Ana S. Says:

    We have quite a few favourites in common. May our reading in 2010 be just as awesome :D

  22. Melody Says:

    Julia - I hope to read the next instalment by Chelsea Cain soon!!

    Jackie - I hope you'll enjoy reading The Ghost Writer! I hope to read The Seance this year!

    Joanna - Thanks and I hope all of us have another great reading year this year! :D

    Anna - Great minds think alike! :P

    Naida - I'm glad to hear you're adding more books to your list! :)

    Kristy - I hope you'll enjoy reading Looking for Alaska as much as I do, Kristy! I also hope to read more books by John Green this year!

    Dar - Thanks, Dar!

    Nymeth - I'm glad to hear we've a few favourites in common! I can't wait to find out what books you're reading this year so I can add them to my wishlist! :D

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