Monday, January 04, 2010

Top Books for 2009

Ah, that time of year. What books stood out in 2009? I didn't read nearly as many books in '09 as I did in '08. I read 44 books in '08, but I didn't have 4 kids for most of the year, and I rode the bus to work all the time. Almost an hour both ways makes for good reading time.

The following are all books released in '09. I have a couple of other comments on books not from last year at the end.

5. Through the Fire by Shawn Grady. This impressive debut from a former firefighter weaves a tale of revenge and finding oneself through the haze of smoke and embers.

4. Cyndere's Midnight by Jeffrey Overstreet. The second strand in the Auralia thread, this fantasy series continues with lyrical writing, wounded characters trying to reach for nobility, and a little more action than the first book. This is a stand-out series in Christian fiction, and I'm looking forward to further strands.

3. Blaggard's Moon by George Bryan Polivka. Polivka has created a rich fantasy world rich in pirate-y tales. Moon is a prequel of sorts to his Trophy Chase trilogy, but stands on its own with humor and a heart-felt story of two lost souls intertwining, along with colorful buccaneer commentary!

2. Try Fear by James Scott Bell. The third installment of Bell's legal thrillers starring smart (and smart-mouthed Ty Buchanan) continues the fast paced, zig-zagging, and humorous prose which Bell has about mastered. I don't know if this series is going to continue, but I certainly hope it is. The last 3 years now he's held down my #2 spot for favorite books.

1. Pirate Hunter by Tom Morrisey. Yes, this blog has a soft spot for anything related to pirates, but that doesn't explain the allure of this book. Morrisey wrote two stories in one, bouncing between the tale of a freed slave in the 1700s and a modern setting of shipwreck diving. He is an adventure aficianado, so his books have great detail, but his characters make the books so compelling. Tom Morrisey doesn't get enough credit in the CBA, and this is a shame.

The top three books were almost interchangeable, and there were a couple of near misses for the list as well:

Exposure by Brandilyn Collins wins the most exasperating award for spinning my head around with the twist at the end.
North! Or Be Eaten by Andrew Peterson wins for best title (and there's a pirate!).
Curse of the Spider King by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper gets best cover and best blurb by a 7 year old.

Bust of the year:
I've heard so much about Flannery O'Conner, how a Christian writer has to read her books. I read Wise Blood recently, and only finished it to try and figure out "why." I've never read a more pointless, bizarre book. I must not be sophisticated enough...

Tune in tomorrow for my favorite book (that's not new) I read in '09, by my favorite author!


  1. Jason, I appreciate the kudos. But I think CBA has been quite kind to me -- I'm just an odd fit (and as I shift styles with each book, it probably makes me all the odder). But I'm blessed to be published, and blessed further still that I'm read.

    Tom Morrisey

  2. Love Tom Morrisey's writing. All of it. (My favorite is still In High Places, and the Beck Easton series is second.)

    Try Fear was awesome. JSB has outdone himself with Ty Buchanan. The series is phenomenal. He said if Try Fear sells well, there'll be another. I hope so!

    Exposure was a good BC novel. And I very much enjoyed Through the Fire for a first effort. Liked Shawn's voice a lot.

  3. Tom, perhaps I need to rephrase slightly. When I say CBA, I mean that you don't seem well-known in the CBA readership, not that the business side of it is bad. In any industry or genre there are going to be the "stars" (Kingsbury, Dekker, etc). I would love to see you highlighted more.

    Nicole - I thought it was funny when I put JSB in my second slot each year. He is known by his writing guides more than his fiction, I would say, but he is doing so well with tight writing, introducing faith issues in creative ways without preaching, and basically being a great entertainer. Here's hoping for more Ty.