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A Year in Reading 2009

By posted at 10:38 am on December 1, 2009 21

The end of another year (and decade) offers many amusements and diversions, chief among them the inevitable, retrospective lists. We made our own attempt in September, with our Best of the Millennium (So Far) series, which proved to be an instructive and contentious exercise. Among the chief arguments leveled against such “best of” lists is the way they posit an illusory pinnacle of achievement and quality. By means of a grand consensus, the list smooths over natural and exciting variations in individual taste. But true discoveries are often made not by finding out what everybody liked, but by getting from one trusted fellow reader a recommendation that strikes a nerve or piques an interest.

It’s also true that the reader who reflects on a year will find a thread of reading experiences to parallel the real-life ones…and particularly sublime moments alone (even in a crowd, alone) when a book has taken the reader out of her world and into its own. This experience transcends the cold qualitative accounting that names one book better than another.

And so amid all the lists (even our own), to round out the year, we offer a new installment of our annual “Year in Reading” series – an anti-list, as it were. Acknowledging that few readers, if any, read exclusively newly published books, we’ve asked our regular contributors and distinguished guests to name, from all the books they read this year, the one(s) that meant the most to them, regardless of publication date. Grouped together, these considerations, squibs, and essays will be a chronicle of reading and good books from every era. We hope you find in them seeds that will help your year in reading in 2010 be a fruitful one.

As we have in prior years, the names of our 2009 “Year in Reading” contributors will be unveiled one at a time throughout the month as we post their contributions. You can bookmark this post and follow the series from here, or load up the main page for more new Year in Reading posts appearing at the top every day, or you can subscribe to our RSS feed and follow along in your favorite feed reader.

Don’t miss: A Year in Reading 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 | Support The Millions





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21 Responses to “A Year in Reading 2009”

  1. The Second Pass
    at 1:08 pm on December 1, 2009

    [...] in the field. Translation requires networks — much like spy networks.”) . . . The Millions introduces its “Year in Reading” series for 2009, and posts the first entry, by Hari Kunzru. . . . Nigel Beale considers getting into the [...]

  2. My Favorite Lit-Blog Things: December 2, 2009 « Hungry Like the Woolf
    at 7:24 am on December 2, 2009

    [...] Millions has recapped “A Year in Reading 2009“. I will not be writing any such entries until 2010, but I am glad others are working on a [...]

  3. Judy Guffey
    at 11:49 am on December 2, 2009

    “The Last Resort” …. a poignant and alarming non-fiction book about what’s happening right now in Zimbabwe to farmers and ranchers. A personal story of the author’s parents…and their goal to stay in the country they love.

  4. Becky Donahue
    at 1:23 pm on December 2, 2009

    I vote for Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell….thought it was brilliant !

  5. Books & Authors » Daily Lit Links for 12/2
    at 10:49 am on December 3, 2009

    [...] Books of 2009″ lists are beginning to crop up everywhere, but the Millions blog is doing something different. With its “A Year in Reading” features, the blog [...]

  6. Bookdwarf » It’s Thursday and Over 60 Degrees Here
    at 11:22 am on December 3, 2009

    [...] The Millions has started their annual Year in Reading lists! [...]

  7. Good Things Abound Online
    at 2:53 pm on December 3, 2009

    [...] Millions has begun its Year in Reading series for 2009.   As I said last year, The Millions does this year-end business better than [...]

  8. Literature News | Dark Sky Magazine
    at 4:06 am on December 4, 2009

    [...] – The end of another year (and decade) offers many amusements and diversions, chief among them the inevitable, retrospective lists. We made our own attempt in September, with our Best of the Millennium (So Far) series, which proved to be an instructive and contentious exercise. Among the chief arguments leveled against such “best of” lists is the way they posit an illusory pinnacle of achievement and quality. — Good Reading in The Millions [...]

  9. Learning How to Read (Again) « SONYA CHUNG
    at 8:24 pm on December 6, 2009

    [...] than ever about the length of my reading list, as I make my way through the recs over at the YEAR IN READING series at The Millions. So much good stuff [...]

  10. The Year in Reading at The Millions « Fiction
    at 10:54 pm on December 8, 2009

    [...] Millions has a nice feature going on where they’ve asked various authors to talk about the book or books that meant the most to [...]

  11. Hamilton Leithauser’s Reading List « biblioklept
    at 6:43 pm on December 13, 2009

    [...] shared what he enjoyed reading this past year at The Millions, part of their year-end “A Year in Reading 2009” series. He speaks highly of Dave Eggers and Kingley Amis, and cites W.H. Auden as a favorite [...]

  12. The Year in Reading at The Millions | Fiction
    at 10:25 pm on December 14, 2009

    [...] Millions has a nice feature going on where they’ve asked various authors to talk about the book or books that meant the most to [...]

  13. Beasts of 2009, or, My Year in Books
    at 1:32 am on December 17, 2009

    [...] “Best of” 2009 book lists are flooding the blogosphere. Everybody’s doing it: The Millions are doing it; Attention Span pretty much did it; Johannes Göransson is doing it; HTML Giant is [...]

  14. carolyn kellogg » Blog Archive » Another year in reading
    at 5:08 pm on December 20, 2009

    [...] you’re trying to keep up with the year in reading at The Millions, then, like me, you’re a little bit overwhelmed. So… many… books! All read in [...]

  15. HTMLGIANT
    at 5:33 pm on December 20, 2009

    [...] like Phillip Lopate, Rick Moody, Stephen Elliott, William Gass, Nick Flynn, Jesse Ball, etc., at The Millions. Tags: nick flynn, phillip lopate, Reading [...]

  16. Livros de 2009 « Animal Civilizado
    at 6:01 pm on December 30, 2009

    [...] O blogue Largehearted Boy divulgou, não uma lista, mas uma compilação delas. Já o The Millions, optou por apresentar algumas retrospectivas do ano na leitura. [...]

  17. Mr. Topp and the Big Bad Blog » A special New Year’s edition of links
    at 6:14 am on January 1, 2010

    [...] 2009: A year in reading. [...]

  18. scattershot « Swampwalker
    at 11:07 pm on January 4, 2010

    [...] came from year-end lists include Williams’s Stoner, Powell’s Swallow Me Whole (from an entry in The Millions’ fantastic wrap-up), Millet’s Oh Pure and Radiant Heart (from an old year-end list), and a strange hybrid I just [...]

  19. The Best of “The Best Of” | Like Fire
    at 12:32 am on January 7, 2010

    [...] Millions throws a great party with their A Year in Reading series, as does HTMLGIANT’s A Million Little Top 3’s. Conversational Reading’s [...]

  20. Announcing the Tournament of Books Long List | Like Fire
    at 12:35 am on January 7, 2010

    [...] side, although there are a few standouts—the B&N Review has some well-thought out categories; The Millions’ Year in Reading series, with guest writers talking about the books that moved them in 2009, is personal and [...]

  21. Linklog: Swift amusements, celebrity bloat and more
    at 4:35 pm on March 7, 2011

    [...] • The Millions’ always-interesting Year in Reading series is in full swing. [...]

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