YOUR Favorite Books of 2009

Bookstack…and then it was December 31st, 2009.  Another year just flew by, and a new one is anxious to get started.

Thank you to everyone out there for sending in your contributions, reading this blog (and sometimes commenting, too), and above all, shopping with us in Amsterdam or Den Haag (or online).  We love having you as customers, and we’ll try to fill the shelves with lots more yummy reading material in 2010.  🙂

And now: we asked for your favorites, and four of you were kind enough to send in lists, filled with a fabulous selection of books across all genres.  So, without (much) further ado, here are the books that brightened your year

Katherine Matthews

My favorite reads of 2009, in no particular order… 🙂

The American Way of War by Eugene Jarecki
The Time-Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
On Photography by Susan Sontag
Until I Find You by John Irving
Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

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Em Angevaare

I read surprisingly little impressive fiction this year, but the non-fiction harvest was good:

Nothing to be Frightened of by Julian Barnes
A small book about a big subject: the fear of death – I would have written it myself, if only I could write that well.

The Selected Works of T.S. Spivet by Reif Larsen
The wonderfully illustrated adventures of a twelve-year-old map-maker.

Swish by Joel Derfner
A quest to become the gayest person ever, by an author who is a lot cleverer and knows himself a lot better than he pretends.

Millennium by Tom Holland
When it first came out I wondered if it was wise for a classicist to be writing medieval history – it was.

The Sixties by Jenny Diski
Six essays by someone who lived through them, as insightful, ironic and intelligent as Diski always is.

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Marjolein Balm

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff
The story of Phoebe, who just started a vintage couture shop in London. She gets in touch with Therese, an elderly French lady, who has a large collection of designer dresses she wants to sell to Phoebe. Then Phoebe spots a little blue children’s coat in Therese’s wardrobe, and soon Phoebe discovers the truth about this little blue coat, when Therese tells her the story behind it: she tried to save her best friend during World War Two. A beautiful and tragic novel with style!

Sofi Mendoza’s Guide for Getting Lost in Mexico by Malin Alegria
Sofi Mendoza is going to a party just across the border of the United States and Mexico with her friends. Sofi’s parents are originally from Mexico, and immigrated to the US when Sofi was little. The party with the coolest people is amazing. But when she is traveling back to home in the US, she is held by the border, because her papers aren’t right, and it seems she was illegaly in the US all the years of her life. She has to stay at the house of her uncle Victor and aunt Luisa, who live in a little simple house in rural Rosarito with no electricity, internet, phone, a normal bathroom or warm water. But with two little boy cousins and cousin Yesina who looks mean. Her life is turned totally upside down and when will she get home again??

The Dresskeeper by Mary Naylus
There are many people who just dream to step in a time machine and step in a time period of their choice. But not Picky, who has to watch her demented Gran. Her parents are divorced, her mum is a very busy nurse and she has a little brother, Ollie. One day when Picky is Gran-sitting, she walks into the attic because of boredom, and then she finds a big case with Victorian-looking dresses. When she tries on one of the dresses, she suddenly hears a man’s voice, and he is calling her Amelia and she discovers then that she is in the same house in London, but back in the 1800’s, and in the life of a girl named Amelia, who is the daughter of very wealthy parents. But she discovers too that Amelia was murdered, but by who, and why?

The Usual Rules by Joyce Maynard
It’s a regular, perfectly normal Tuesday September morning in Brooklyn, Wendy’s first day of high school.  Her mom is a former dancer, now a secretary and her stepdad Josh is a jazz musician. And she has a little brother, Louie. Wendy’s life that morning is filled with the normal teen angst, what will she wear to school that day?  Wendy goes to school, her mom is sleeping in late and is heading to work later. But later that day, when Wendy is in class, an announcement is made from the school intercom. A plane has hit the World Trade Center..the building where her mom works.  The life of Wendy, Josh and Louie is turned upside down in a tragedy. And later on, her real father contacts her and asks her to come live with him in California. Wendy has to start her life all over again, and the usual rules of her life are suddenly very different..

Red Glass by Laura Resau
Red Glass is about a six year-old Mexican boy in the desert close to the Mexican-American border who is found by the family of Sophie. They take care of the boy and that takes Sophie on a journey to his family in Mexico, and it even takes the shy Sophie on a dangerous trip from Mexico to Guatemala to help her boyfriend Angel. A beautiful coming of age novel, set in the beautiful Mexican Culture.

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ChingChuan Chiu

Favourite books:

1. Geomancer by Ian Irvine
(I even bought it in the ABC :P). It’s the first part of the Well of Echoes (first read the View from the Mirror quartet 😉 ). One of the best fantasy novels I’ve ever read.

2. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
I read it in Dutch but it was awesome! The translation is great btw, unlike many others…

3. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
It’s an awesome book and really scary if you start thinking about what you’d do when you were in such a situation.

4. Gifts by Ursula Le Guin
I read it in German but it was great!!

5. Ciske trilogie by Piet Bakker
I’d only read the second book (Ciske groeit op) before – all books are great. Especially the third one (Ciske de man).

As a bonus: the worst books

1. Neuromancer by William Gibson
After reading, I had to read the wiki page before I was able to understand the story.

2. Het Dolhuis by Bouwewijn Büch.
It started as a really interesting book but I don’t really like books in which everything focuses around one event that happens to be homosexual sex. Don’t get me wrong! I mean, people should be free to choose to do what they like, but I don’t like to read about in a book without a warning. It also annoys me that EVERY Dutch book that is considered ‘literature’ contains at least one sex scene.

3. The Left Behind series by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
As a child (teenager) I loved the books (because they were exciting, I don’t believe it will really happen like that) but now I think they’re just too unrealistic.

4. Araminta Station by Jack Vance (no longer in print)
I used to like his books, but it gets a bit annoying when every female is portraited as a selfish helpless creature.

Can’t think of a fifth one ;).

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