Cindy Snow is in the enviable position of knowing about “hot” books before most people.
For the past few years, Snow has worked at A Great Good Place for Books in the Montclair section of Oakland, not really for the money, but for the access to all the galleys and ARCs sent by publishers. The backroom of the bookstore is jammed with stacks of books, and Snow and the other employees can pick whatever they choose to read.
For her list of the best books she read in 2009, Snow, an Oakland resident, mostly stuck to fiction, although she threw in one non-fiction book on South Africa.
The Unit by Ninni Holmquist (I had never heard of this dystopian novel by this Swedish novelist, but the trailer looks intriguing.)
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (This winner of the National Book Award seems to be stacked on the counter of every bookstore I have gone into these last few days. I think the publisher made the right decision to rush this out in paperback. I have bought tw0 copies myself for gifts.)
Olive Kittredge by Elizabeth Strout
Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson
Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore
Brooklyn by Colm Toiben
Under the Dome by Stephen King
Alive in Necropois by Doug Dorst
Little Bee by Clive Cleve
If you like these “best of” lists, the blog Largehearted Boy has very conveniently aggregated dozens of Best of 2009 lists, ranging from Amazon and Barnes and Noble to a large collection of litblogs.