Top 10 2009 Books

by Mark on December 23, 2009

Armed with my Kindle, IPOD, and car CD player, I read or listened to over fifty books this year.   Ironically, only one was printed on paper – but that is another blog.  Here are my top ten books for 2009.  In a few days I will post the worst ten.


Columbine by Dave Cullen:  The killers at Columbine had bigger plans – hundreds of deaths.   We thought we knew everything about this tragedy; the author reveals the facts are far different.  The narration is compelling as Cullen provides balance in describing the perpetrators, victims and community.

Too Big To Fall by Andrew Ross Sorkin:  The author takes us into the board rooms of Lehman Brothers, AIG, Morgan Stanley and others.   The real estate market is imploding.  Major companies are shaking.  Few were aware how close the economy came to catastrophe.   Now, as the US & world recovers, there are now many ‘Too Big To Fall’ organizations, backed by the government, risking Federal funds rather than their own.

Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton:  A few weeks after 9/11 a handful of Special Forces enter Afghanistan.   They ride with the North Alliance on horseback directing bombs and missiles against the Taliban.   In one battle they ride in a successful cavalry charge against tanks and machine guns.   It is an amazing story, yet sad.   In late 2001 the Taliban were defeated with less than 500 American personnel.   In 2010 35,000-plus go back to try again.


The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe:  A graduate student goes to Salem, Massachusetts to clean her late grandmother’s house and sell it.  She discovers the community is still haunted by the witch trials, centuries before.  Were those executed innocent, or was at least one truly a witch?   The author takes us through an intense mystery with many surprises and a fascinating ending.

Dog On It by Spencer Quinn:  Chet, the narrator, is a very funny dog.   Bernie, his owner, is a washed out cop trying to succeed as a private investigator.   A little girl is kidnapped, and together, they face a variety of villains and risks looking for her.    There are a number of dog-narrated books, but this one has an intense plot that keeps you smiling.

Sweetness  At The Bottom Of The Pie by Alan Bradley.   Thieves and robbers roam the British countryside.  Flavia, a twelve-year old investigator is determined to find them in order to save her father and the family estate.   Flavia is determined, courageous and unflappable.   This is not a Nancy Drew book.  The plot is full of surprises and there is great satisfaction as the mystery unfolds.


Long Gone by Harlan Coben:   Myron Bolitar is a successful sports agent that flies to Paris in aid of a long lost love.   He stumbles into an international terrorist plot needs all of his talents and some luck to try to save her and himself.  Coben throws many different hurdles at his heroes and each drives more intensity into the plot.

The Copper Bracelet by Jeffrey Deaver (et al):   Deaver assembles fifteen other authors and creates a thriller that is difficult to put down.    Each author writes a chapter and imbeds energy and surprises at every turn to save the world from a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.

The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss:  In the early days of the United States a conspiracy develops to bankrupt the new country.   Ethan Saunders, one of Washington’s best spies has fallen on tough times.  He stumbles into the conspiracy and the story becomes a race to save the country and his reputation.   Historic fiction is often flat.   This story is rich with characters, and given the 2008 financial and government problems, the story is relevant.

Wicked Prey by John Sanford:   A violent gang is robbing and murdering some fat cats at the 2008 Republican Convention in Minnesota.   An extremist with a sniper rifle is roaming around the city.  Lucas Davenport must find the villains while dealing with an old enemy that is trying to hurt his family.   Sanford creates smart bad guys against overwhelmed good guys that develops into a very strange and exciting ending.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Gina January 7, 2010 at 11:59 pm

You might like “Wolf Hall” by Hillary Mantel.

Also “The Guernsey Potato Peel Pie and Literary Society” It’s sort of a chick book, but I didn’t know that some of the Channel Islands were occupied by the Germans in WW2.

Mark January 8, 2010 at 6:37 am

Thanks Regina. Guernsey Potato was a great book and I will look into Wolf Hall. Mark

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