Book of the Year 2009

Right. I’ve thought long and I’ve thought hard about this. I even went back to some of the books listed yesterday and dipped into them for a reminder, in case I’d missed something.


And I have come to my decision.


Here are my top 3 books of the year.





At number 3.


Black Boxes by Caroline Smailes. 


I read this right at the beginning of the year and it’s stayed with me since.


Haunting, heart breaking, brave, believable and brilliant.

Number 2.

The Girl on The Fridge by Etgar Keret.


Along with Aimee Bender, Keret’s work has changed how I write and what I write about. This is an amazing collection of short fiction. 


Different, funny, sad, brilliant and written by someone with the most wonderful of imaginations. 

And the winner is…

Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut.


When I finished this I remember saying that it could be my favourite book ever. So, well, it must be my favourite of the year.


Brilliantly imaginative, in terms of story and structure, brilliantly written, moving and funny. It’s a classic.



And a few honourable mentions.


An A-Z of Possible Worlds, by A C Tillyer for being a brilliant short story collection and brilliantly packaged.


Heaven Can Wait, by Cally Taylor for being funny and incredibly moving and for making me love it despite it being outside of what I normally read.


Elephants in Our Bedroom, by Michael Czyzniejewski, for having superbly crafted stories, written by someone with an imagination up there with the best.


Dear Everybody, by Michael Kimball, which could be the American companion to Black Boxes.


And Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout for being a brilliant and moving story about a life and having just about the perfect opening chapter I’ve read.


So there you have it. Anyone else going to share?

12 Comments on “Book of the Year 2009

  1.  by  SpiralSkies

    I rather loved Rose Tremain's 'The Road Home' this year. And I finally discovered Ian McEwen who gets to be my (writerly)man of the year. I'm a little behind the times, it would seem… Caroline's book is waiting patiently on the bookshelf for me but I shall add the other two to my letter to Santa…

  2.  by  Nik Perring

    Ooh I l'll look out for that. Must admit though that I've only ever tried one McEwan (Atonement) and I really didn't get on with it! Caroline's is wonderful – the other two are brilliant too and I'd be interested to get your thoughts on them if/when you read them…Nik

  3.  by  DotSeven

    Great to have these recommendations, all look interesting – and I love the Edgar Keret cover … Favourite Ian McEwan is still The Cement Garden, but my Book of the Year 2009 has to go to Doug Coupland for Generation A.

  4.  by  Nik Perring

    They certainly are interesting. And brilliant! Never been able to get on with McEwan – might have to give him another chance at some point.

  5.  by  Andy

    Your top 3 sounds great, will have to give them all a look. I've heard good things about Vonnegut's work, so must give that a read at least!

  6.  by  Nik Perring

    Hi Andy.Well they're all brilliant (as are the one I listed in the previous post).Vonnegut is a genius, a legend. I couldn't recommend his stuff enough (Slaughterhouse 5, Breakfast of Champions and Welcome to the Monkey House are all awesome and ones I'd point you towards now).But, then again, so is Black Boxes and so is everything Keret's published. So many great books…Let me know how you get on with it/them.Nik

  7.  by  Andy

    Cheers Nik, I will do. Will certainty pick up Slaughterhouse 5 and probably the others in turn.

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