New York Times 10 Best Books of 2009

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New York Times 10 Best Books of 2009
Mon, 01-25-2010 - 8:44pm

The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2009


Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It
By Maile Meloy

"In an exceptionally strong year for short fiction, Meloy's concise yet fine-grained narratives, whether set in Montana, an East Coast boarding school or a 1970s nuclear power plant, shout out with quiet restraint and calm precision. Her flawed characters—ranch hands in love, fathers and daughters—rarely act in their own best interests and often betray those closest to them."

Chronic City
By Jonathan Lethem

"Lethem's eighth novel unfolds in an alternative-reality Manhattan. The crowded canvas includes a wantonly destructive escaped tiger (or is it a subway excavator?) prowling the streets, a cruel gray fog engulfing Wall Street, a "war free" edition of the New York Times, a character stranded on the dying International Space Station, strange and valuable vaselike objects called chaldrons, colossal cheeseburgers and some extremely potent marijuana."

A Gate at the Stairs
By Lorrie Moore

"Moore's captivating novel, her first in more than a decade, is set in 2001 and narrated by a Wisconsin college student who hungers for worldly experience and finds it when she takes a job baby-sitting for a bohemian couple who are trying to adopt a mixed-race child. Meanwhile, she drifts into a love affair with an enigmatic classmate and feels the pressing claims of her own family, above all her affectless younger brother, who enlists in the military after 9/11."

Half-Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel
By Jeannette Walls

"In her luminous memoir, "The Glass Castle," Walls told of being raised by eccentric and unfit parents. Now, in a novel based on family lore, she has adopted the voice of her maternal grandmother, Lily Casey Smith—mustang breaker, schoolteacher, ranch wife, bootlegger, poker player, racehorse rider and bush pilot. The result