Friday, December 18, 2009



THE HELP by Kathryn Stockett: 1960's Mississippi is explored through the lives of the black maids who were good enough to raise the white children of their employers, but not good enough to use their bathrooms. A word-of-mouth, bestselling debut and my pick for the best book of the year. Once or twice a year a book like this comes out, if we are lucky. In the same class as Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, and well, you get the idea.

HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY by Audrey Niffenegger: Niffenegger is just a great storyteller, and she keeps turning my preconceived notions upside down. I don't generally care for ghost stories, at least not since I was a kid, but this book - a ghost story in its simplest incantation - kept me mesmerized.

VERY VALENTINE by Adriana Trigiani
: A new series opener with all the winning elements Trigiani is known for; a warm, loving yet rambunctious Italian family, a strong woman finding out just how strong she is, and a touch of romance and laughter.

THE STEPMOTHER by Carrie Adams
: Memorable story about family relationships, second marriages, stepchildren, and friendship with humor and pathos.

THE FIXER UPPER by Mary Kay Andrews: A fun read about unemployment and a broken heart...if such a thing is possible, Mary Kay Andrews is the one to pull it off, and she does.


THE LAST CHILD by John Hart: An unforgettable story about a 14 year old boy's search for his missing twin sister. Southern fiction hasn't been this good for me in years.

BEAT THE REAPER by Josh Bazell: A medical thriller that is simply shocking, with black humor and footnotes. And it works beautifully in this first novel, which will hit theaters, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, sometime in 2010.

THE SCARECROW by Michael Connelly: Connelly brings back Jack McEvoy (The Poet) in this pageturner about the demise of newspapers, Internet security run amok and a serial killer.

LOOK AGAIN by Lisa Scottoline: Scottoline stepped out of the legal genre and moved to an intriguing tale of a journalist whose adopted child may not be legally hers...but does she really want to find out?

DIE FOR YOU by Lisa Unger
: When her husband goes missing, Isabel is determined to find him, even though he isn't who she thought he was in this complex and fast moving novel of suspense.

THE RELIABLE WIFE by Robert Goolrick
: A mail order bride takes center stage in this gothic, twisted, and riveting debut.

THE GIRL SHE USED TO BE by David Cristofano: A remarkable first novel based on a clever premise; a young woman who grew up in the Witness Protection Program wants out, which proves to be not the best decision.

VANISHED by Joseph Finder: First book of a new series featuring ex-Special Forces private investigator Nick Heller, a dynamic, interesting character in a tightly woven tale of suspense.

ALEX CROSS'S TRIAL by James Patterson & Richard DiLallo: This historical thriller set at the turn of the last century while the Klu Klux Klan ruled small town Mississippi and lynchings abounded is not typical Patterson fare, but much, much richer.


THE LINEUP: The World's Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler: A must read for all mystery fans who have the least bit of curiosity about how their favorite characters were created.

KNIVES AT DAWN: America's Quest for Culinary Glory at the Legendary Bocuse d'Or Competition by Andrew Friedman: Who knew a cooking competition could be so enthralling? In Friedman's hands, it is fascinating, fast reading.


A16: FOOD & WINE by Nate Appleman & Shelley Lindgren: A16 is Appleman's restaurant in San Francisco, and after reading through this book I'm convinced it would be worth the trip to eat there.

Search This Blog