- David Sedaris - When You Are Engulfed in Flames. Love his humor!
- Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows - The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
- Alan Bradley - The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I read the ARC; book is due out Feb 2009.
- Every book in Charlie Huston's Joe Pitt series. I read the whole thing in less than two weeks. Absolutely great stuff.
- Michael Connelly - The Lincoln Lawyer. I missed this when it first came out, but totally loved it. Maybe it's the ex-lawyer in me, but the book rocked. In fact, I just bought The Brass Verdict to follow up.
- Orson Scott Card - Ender In Exile. I love this guy's stuff (and he lives about a mile from me). This book, the sequel to Ender's Game, was twenty years coming. How could I not be all over it?
- Richard Price - Lush Life. Price is justly prized for his command of dialogue, but what few commentators discuss is that this grows out of his profound, specific and generous insight into character. In truth, Price does everything seamlessly -- introspection, transitions, description, pacing. But his fundamental understanding of behavior, what people think and do -- and the often deceptive reasons they give themselves for what they think and do -- reveals the hand of a sly, careful, fundamentally unjudging observer.
- Gabriel García Marquez - Love in the Time of Cholera. Yes, I know, I should have read this years ago. Jim Harrison has written that what he wants is a fairy tale for adults. This qualifies. A brilliant, odd, whimsical, poignant, sad, fascinating, profound and triumphantly human book. Not even Oprah's imprimatur could spoil it.
- Junot Diaz - The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. At the heart of this wickedly funny and darkly sad book is a subtle truth: that our desire for an authoritative narrative -- religion, history, science -- inevitably leads us to embrace tendentious, ridiculous and even dangerous errors, whereas the airy stuff of our imagining, the wiggy little fantasies that startle us, make our hearts flutter, pull us out of our intractable sorrows, might just bear all the truth we need, or at least have a right to.
- Michael Connelly - Angel's Flight. Excellent. What else can I say that hasn't been said about Mr. Connelly's work?
- John Kellerman - Obsession. I borrowed this on CD and listened to it on my drive home from Albany, NY. Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis kept me wide awake and happily alert during the solo 14 hour trip. I am forever grateful.
- Diane Setterfield - The Thirteenth Tale. Recommendation from a good friend. With its laboriously slow start, I expected to really hate this book. Just finishing it now, and it's still slow, but I'm surprised at how very much I've enjoyed the journey.
George Easter, Editor of Deadly Pleasures Mystery Magazine
- Stieg Larsson - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. The second of the series will likely be on my 2009 Best 3 List. This series will be considered a classic one in ten years.
- Arnaldur Indridason - The Draining Lake. It's amazing that tiny Iceland could produce a writer of such power and scope.
- Kate Atkinson - When Will There Be Good News? She doesn't care about the conventions of a crime novel and manages to write an eye-popping one.
- Robert Harris - The Ghost. A hugely entertaining thriller in which Harris gleefully knifes his old friend Tony Blair in the back.
- Sebastian Faulks - Devil May Care. A pitch-perfect homage to Ian Fleming in his centenary year which has sold by the bucketload on this side of the Atlantic.
- Eric Ambler - Journey into Fear. An almost-forgotten master of the spy novel who would himself have been 100 years old in 2009.
- Denis Johnson - Tree of Smoke. A study of America at war, with writing so good it made me ache.
- Willy Vlautin - Northline. A beautifully understated novel of addiction and recovery, harm and hope.
- Richard K. Morgan - Altered Carbon. The most exciting sci-fi writer I've read in a long time.
Leaving friends, clients and unpublished manuscripts out of the equation.
- Donald Ray Pollock - Knockemstiff
- Claude Bonnefoy - Conversations with Ionesco
- Ted Lewis - Plender
Patti McCoy Jacob, critic (Yorba Linda Star)
- Garth Stein - The Art of Racing in the Rain. Captivating up through its unexpected ending. And as one who has three dogs of her own, I felt Stein "got it right" when telling it from a dog's perspective -- thoroughly convincing.
- Anna Quindlen - Black and Blue. I read it in 2008, and it is one of the most powerful and realistic books on the subject of abuse and the psychology of those who tolerate the abuse.
- Temple Grandid - Four books: The Way I See It; Thinking in Pictures; Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships and Developing Talents. A woman with her PhD who has Asperger's Syndrome. I've read a ton of books about Autism and Asperger's since my 8-year old son was diagnosed five years ago, and although these four books address four different areas, they complement each other perfectly and should have been sold as a group. I recommend them highly as Grandid's advice and conclusions are realistic and applicable to the real world of Asperger's and high-functioning Autism. It is clear through her words that she knows Asperger's firsthand, and therefore knows of what she speaks.