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Broccoli, Ballads, and Barry

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Best Books of 2009.

Posted by Alison Hallett on Mon, Dec 28, 2009 at 10:05 AM

Oh yes. We're doing this.

Some of the books I most enjoyed this year, in no particular order.

Love in Infant Monkeys by Lydia Millet—Madonna kills a pheasant; Nicholas Tesla falls in love with a pigeon; I renew my devotion to Lydia Millet.

Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem—After a regrettable detour to Los Angeles, Lethem returned to New York with this garrulous, paranoid stoner novel. I liked it.

Stitches by David Smalls—The author of Imogene's Antlers wrote and illustrated one of the most beautiful and disturbing books of the year, about a childhood bout with cancer.

Sunnyside by Glen David Gold—A big, entertaining, intelligent novel about World War I and the early days of the Hollywood star system. I have a reader's crush on Gold. "If it's 100 years from now and there are still people, bless you all. I hope you have polar bears," he writes in his acknowledgments. Sold.

A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore—Why hello, every-other-best-of-list-ever. Yes, I thought so too. The story is less interesting than the way Moore writes: "A short paper nerve baked into an ear." I will never look at a fortune cookie the same way again.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the Universe by Bryan Lee O'Malley—I love you, Kim Pine.

Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli—A brainy, high-concept, endlessly rewarding graphic novel about a middle-aged architect's midlife crisis.

And if Greg Netzer can get away with calling The Lazarus Project one of his favorite books of 2009, then so can I—I read it after its paperback release in February. Like Netzer, it's one of the books I recommend most often. (A more appropriate selection would be Love and Obstacles, the short story collection Alexander Hemon released this year... also good.)

So... what'd I miss? (Besides an entire year's worth of nonfiction, apparently.)

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