The New York Times Book Review®: 10 Best Books of 2009

New York Times 10 Best Books of 2009The editors of The New York Times Book Review have announced their choices for the 10 Best Books of the year. (All books reviewed in the Book Review since December of last year are eligible. Their picks are not ranked, and are listed below in alphabetical order by title, first fiction and then nonfiction.)

See more New York Times year-end 2009 gift guides in books: 100 Notable Books, Michiko Kakutani's Top 10, Janet Maslin's Top 10, Dwight Garner's Top 10, Art and Architecture, Antiques, Graphic Novels, Gift Books, Cookbooks, and Illustrated Children's Books.

Find editors' picks and customers' favorites in dozens of categories, including our overall Top 100 books, in Amazon's Best Books of 2009 Store


1. Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It
Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It
by Maile Meloy
4.2 out of 5 stars (57 customer reviews)
In Stock
Riverhead Books
July 9, 2009
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best of the Month, July 2009: There is one line in Maile Meloy's newest story collection that completely slayed me. (It's on page 97.) And in fact, there are many moments before and after that line that left me awestruck as I wondered how she was able to ... Read more

2. Chronic City: A Novel
Chronic City: A Novel
by Jonathan Lethem
3.4 out of 5 stars (116 customer reviews)
Out of Print--Limited Availability
Doubleday
October 13, 2009
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best of the Month, October 2009: Jonathan Lethem, the home-grown frontrunner of a generation of Brooklyn writers, crosses the bridge to Manhattan in Chronic City, a smart, unsettling, and meticulously hilarious novel of friendship and real estate among the rich and the rent-controlled. Lethem's story centers around two ... Read more

3. A Gate at the Stairs
A Gate at the Stairs
by Lorrie Moore
3.0 out of 5 stars (290 customer reviews)
In Stock
Knopf
September 1, 2009
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best of the Month, September 2009: Lorrie Moore's people are jokesters, wisenheimers. They hold the world, and the language used to describe it, a little off to the side, where they can turn it around and, if not figure it out, at least find something funny to say ... Read more

4. A Short History of Women: A Novel
A Short History of Women: A Novel
by Kate Walbert
3.1 out of 5 stars (83 customer reviews)
Out of Print--Limited Availability
Scribner
June 16, 2009
Hardcover

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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Walbert—2004 National Book Award nominee for Our Kind—offers a beautiful and kaleidoscopic view of the 20th century through the eyes of several generations of women in the Townsend family. The story begins with Dorothy Townsend, a turn-of-the-century British suffragist who dies in a hunger strike. From Dorothy's ... Read more

5. Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel
Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel
by Jeannette Walls
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,400 customer reviews)
In Stock
Scribner
October 6, 2009
Hardcover

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From Publishers Weekly
For the first 10 years of her life, Lily Casey Smith, the narrator of this true-life novel by her granddaughter, Walls, lived in a dirt dugout in west Texas. Walls, whose megaselling memoir, ... Read more

6. The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science
by Richard Holmes
4.4 out of 5 stars (128 customer reviews)
In Stock
Pantheon
July 14, 2009
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Exclusive: Oliver Sacks on The Age of Wonder Oliver Sacks is the author of Musicophilia, Awakenings,The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and many other books, for which he has received numerous awards, including the Hawthornden Prize, a Polk Award, ... Read more

7. The Good Soldiers
The Good Soldiers
by David Finkel
4.5 out of 5 stars (373 customer reviews)
Out of Print--Limited Availability
Sarah Crichton Books
September 15, 2009
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Book Description It was the last-chance moment of the war. In January 2007, President George W. Bush announced a new strategy for Iraq. He called it "the surge." "Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Well, ... Read more

8. Lit: A Memoir
Lit: A Memoir
by Mary Karr
4.0 out of 5 stars (245 customer reviews)
Out of Print--Limited Availability
Harper
November 3, 2009
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Product Description The Liars' Club brought to vivid, indelible life Mary Karr's hardscrabble Texas childhood. Cherry, her account of her adolescence, "continued to set the literary standard for making the personal universal" (Entertainment Weekly). Now Lit follows the self-professed blackbelt sinner's descent into the inferno of alcoholism and ... Read more

9. Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
by Liaquat Ahamed
4.5 out of 5 stars (274 customer reviews)
In Stock
Penguin Press
January 22, 2009
Hardcover

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Amazon.com Review
Amazon Exclusive: Liaquat Ahamed on the Economic Climate In December 1930, the great economist Maynard Keynes published an article in which he described the world as living in “the shadows of one of the greatest economic catastrophes in modern ... Read more

10. Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life
Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life
by Carol Sklenicka
4.4 out of 5 stars (33 customer reviews)
Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available.
Scribner
November 24, 2009
Hardcover

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List Price:$35.00
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From Publishers Weekly
He has been called a chronicler of blue-collar despair. He led a relatively private life, much of it spent trying to raise cash via odd jobs and the writing-conference circuit, and died from the cancerous effects of excessive drinking and smoking. Raymond ... Read more