Thursday, December 03, 2009


The lists begin with the New York Times, none of which I've read!

10 best books of 2009
"after so many years, and so many lists, you might think the task of choosing the 10 Best Books would get easier. If only. The sublime story collections alone created agonies of indecision. So did the superb literary biographies we read--and deeply admired. But in the end the decisions had to be made."


* Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It by Maile Meloy (Riverhead)
* Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem (Doubleday)
* A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore (Knopf)
* Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls (Scribner)
* A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert (Scribner)


* The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science by Richard Holmes (Pantheon)
* The Good Soldiers by David Finkel (Sarah Crichton Books/FSG)
* Lit: A Memoir by Mary Karr (Harper)
* Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed (Penguin)
* Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life by Carol Sklenicka (Scribner)

Bad Sex in Fiction Award

Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Jonathan Littell won the Bad Sex in Fiction Award, the U.K.’s “most dreaded literary prize,” for his depiction of the sadomasochistic encounters between twin siblings in his World War II novel, “The Kindly Ones.”

The judges cited Littell for one incestuous scene that unfolds on the bed of a guillotine and another that invokes the myth of Cyclops, “whose single eye never blinks.” These marred what the judges called an impressive work.

“It is in part a work of genius,” the judges said in an e-mailed statement about the novel, which won the Prix Goncourt, France’s top book prize, in 2006.

Yet Littell clinched the Bad Sex award with one “mythologically inspired passage” and another that compared a sexual climax to “a jolt that emptied my head like a spoon scraping the inside of a soft-boiled egg.”

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