I asked some people I know to name ...
1. The book they enjoyed reading most in 2009, regardless of when it was published.
2. The book(s) published in 2009 that they most enjoyed.
Those who replied said ...
(On both counts) The Professor and the Housekeeper (English translation) by Yoko Ogawa.
Linda Lingard, publisher
Favourite book read in 2009: Gabriel García Márquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude
Favourite book published in 2009: 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up
Priya Kulasagaran, reporter and poet
ii) Matanya Teleskop, Hatinya Kapal Dalam Botol Kaca by Sufian Abas - I'm a sucker for stories about cats who fall in love with rainbows, and men who have hamsters instead of hearts.
Andrea Sim, 14-year-old romantic and budding violinist
Favourite book read in 2009: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Favourite book(s) published in 2009: 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Favourite book read in 2009: Fudoki by Kij Johnson
This book combines several of my favourite things ... cats, myth and folklore. In this case the myth and folklore of Japan. The story is set in the past when cats had just been introduced to Japan and were a mystery and curiousity even for the the Japanese gods. So they turn a small cat into a woman and watch. The story is well researched and flows like a river.
Favourite book(s) published in 2009: 1) Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
I would have loved this book even if gave me only me the Cemetary of Forgotten Books. I dream of being its custodian. But it has so much more. Here is a tale set in old Barcelona about books and reading and the very old art of story-telling.
2) The Ice Queen by Alice Hoffman
This tale is whimsical and lyrical. Two people are struck by lightning. One becomes icy cold and the other fiery hot. One day, they meet ...
3) If On A Winter's Night a Traveller
I love this one even if it did mess with my head. It's a Chinese Box of a book with stories within stories within more stories. In the end it's all about the relationship between writer and reader. I went out and got copies for friends and recommended it to everyone else. Madness needs company after all.
Chet Chin, freelance editor
Favourite book read in 2009: Wesley the Owl by Stacey O'Brien
Favourite book published in 2009: The Vagrants by YiYun Li
Selina Lee, Manager, Scholastic Press
Favourite book published in 2009: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Dina Zaman, author
Favourite book read in 2009: Sex with Kings by Eleanor Herman
Favourite book published in 2009: What Your Teacher Never Told You by Farish Noor
Favourite book read in 2009: Gerontius by James Hamilton-Paterson
a few years ago, this novel is a fictionalised account of Sir Edward
Elgar’s sea voyage from England to the Amazon just after the end of the
First World War. Elgar is in his 60s. He is unable to compose anything
new and he feels his best works are behind him. There is nothing for
him to look forward to. The book has a sad, elegiac air, an adagio unwinding into the caverns of his memories. The novel won the Whitbread Book of the Year and deservedly so.
Favourite book(s) published in 2009:
The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham by Selena Hastings
Nothing To Be Frightened Of by Julian Barnes
Nocturnes by Kazuo Ishiguro
Ahnaf Azmi, student
Favourite book read in 2009: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Favourite book read in 2009:Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
I've grown particularly obsessed with Wallace lately because he addresses lots of dilemmas that are fundamental to my sense of being, which is how to be a sincere human being in cynical times.
Favourite book published in 2009:The Complete Jack Survives by Jerry Moriarty
A collection of the “Jack Survives” comic strips which ran in RAW accompanied with other paintings and drawings. “Jack” is a stand-in for the author's father, and through a painterly approach he brings him through mundane trials of daily life.
If RAW were the “high brow” counterpart to MAD magazine, Jerry Moriarty would be a poetic Dave Berg (a friend said the strips reminded him of Walt Whitman). Instead of showing the lighter side of middle-class america, Jerry's approach is more personal, closer to 'mental archeology' (to borrow the wording from Chris Ware in the books introduction). What is really beautiful about these comics is how you can see through layers of white paint used to wipe out certain words, people etc... It's like you can see ghostly, pre-existing memories under the surface.
Favourite book read in 2009: The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin
Favourite book(s) published in 2009: 1) Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork
2) Matanya Teleskop, Hatinya Kapal Dalam Botol Kaca by Sufian Abas
3) The Professor and the Housekeeper (English translation) by Yoko Ogawa
4) After the Moment by Garret Freymann-Weyr