The Best Books of 2009

shelved under Best of...

The best books of 2009? Forget what the various experts say — I think you know what the best of 2009 are. That's why I compiled this from books that you, the Flashlight Worthy Reader, nominate for the book list.


The Art of Making Money: The Story of a Master Counterfeiter

by Jason Kersten

Peter from Flashlight Worthy says:

The title makes it pretty clear — this book is the story of a "master" counterfeiter. What the title doesn't make clear is that the counterfeiter is young. Really young. As in, not-old-enough-to-drink-young. And he's good. Really good. As in, the-best-in-the-country good. What makes it my favorite of '09? I think it's the three-way mix of 1) one of the oldest professions in the world, with 2) some of the newest technology in the world along with a heaping dose of 3) being a well-paced, well-told story.


Sag Harbor

by Colson Whitehead

Jacqueline Munoz from Austin, TX says:

If you love NY, if you had a brother or are a dude, and you were a child during the '80s, you will love this book. Beautiful writing, yet clever and hilarious. So innocent. I got a pencil as I read this book and ended up making so many notes in the margins. I started it noon and finished it at 11 p.m.... and this morning I had to fight with myself to not pick it up and take it with me to read again! I know I'm going to lose that battle, though. Read it. You'll love it.


Cutting for Stone

by Abraham Verghese

April Thayer from Centennial, CO says:

I couldn't put this book down. This story of twins born in Ethiopia to an unlikely set of parents and raised by an even more unlikely set of surrogates is so engaging — and the characters are so fascinating — that it's well worth the flashlight batteries. Ethiopia, which was a vague African nation in my imagination, gets filled in with lots of beautiful detail as well... what a bonus!


Love Is a Four-Letter Word: True Stories of Breakups, Bad Relationships, and Broken Hearts

by Neal Pollack, edited by Michael Taeckens

Eric Mueller from Los Angeles, CA says:

This might be an odd choice for my best of 2009, but I enjoyed this collection of essays about love. Maybe it was because the collection of writers is terrific, or maybe because a couple of the essays (like Dave White's story about how he dated a guy for two weeks without every knowing the guy's name) made me laugh out loud... or maybe it's just that I was coming off a bad breakup and needed something to take my mind off things. :-)



by Dave Eggers

Katie Elzer-Peters from wilmington, nc says:

This book is a tightly-written account of one family's experience during Hurricane Katrina. The Zeitoun family is Muslim-American, living in New Orleans, and the father disappears for a month shortly after the storm. A frightening and enlightening story, told in easy-to-read, suspenseful prose. I don't want to say any more for risk of robbing you of the experience of enjoying this book as much as I did.


The Help

by Kathryn Stockett

Shanon from NC says:

A well-developed, beautifully-written story using multiple points of view to describe the civil rights movement in the deep South. On one side are the "white ladies" who employ black maids/nannies; on the other side are the women who hold those positions, aka "the help," thus the book's title. The story is, to the best I can determine, historically accurate and the characters are rich, deep, and easy to love (or hate, as the case may be). This book made me put myself in the situations of the various characters and ask "what would I have done?" and also taught me a few things I didn't know about that time in this country's history. Moving, thought-provoking, and even a bit educational... how can you go wrong?


The Peabody Sisters: Three Women Who Ignited American Romanticism

by Megan Marshall

Doris Thompson from Beaver, PA says:

The Peabody Sisters tells the backstory of dozens of American icons, removing their aura and highlighting their vulnerable humanity. The extraordinary Elizabeth Peabody was a dynamo of brilliance and innovation in the fields of education, religion, and philosophy. Both she and her sisters Mary and Sophia have long languished in the shadows. Now they take their rightful place in American Literature. Stunning.


Stitches: A Memoir

by David Small

Michelle Kerns from Lincoln, CA says:

The big challenge for graphic novel authors is how to get that balance between art and text just right. The best graphic novels aren't just drawings with speech bubbles and narration tacked in: they derive their power directly from the interaction between the words and the pictures. Together, they are greater than the sum of their parts. Stitches is a supreme example of this synergism. The author's minimalist drawings pack one hell of an emotional wallop. In fact, much of the story isn't told in words at all. That's the beauty of Stitches: even without words, you hear the tale — and the pain — loud and clear.