I read 45 books last year, and these 11 are the ones I think you should read too. They are listed in the order I read them.
Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
reviewed here on February 7th
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
reviewed here on March 15th
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
reviewed here on June 23rd
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
reviewed here on June 19th
Girl With a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
This book, historical fiction that takes place in the 1600s, secured Tracy Chevalier as a favorite author for me. The story centers around a girl who is a servant of the artist Johannes Vermeer's family. She becomes his secret apprentice and model -- secret because of his jealous wife.
Liner Notes by Emily Franklin
I think people born in the 70s will be able to relate to this book the most. This story is about a girl who is moving across the U.S. During her road trip to her new home, she listens to old mixed tapes which remind her of memories tied to the songs. I made a playlist on my iPod to go with it which I listened to while I read it.
Animal Farm by George Orwell
I had never read Animal Farm before 2009! Wish I had read it while Bush was in office. It's the "Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type" for grown-ups.
The God of Animals by Aryn Kyle
Classic dysfunctional family story, but takes place on a failing horse ranch. I love stories like this where the last page just grabs you.
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Yes, this book lives up to the hype. Romance + Science Fiction = something unique and fun to read! My favorite part wasn't in the movie, which was when the time traveler, a librarian who can't control where or when he time travels to, keeps going to one of the best concerts he ever went to. How awesome would that be?!
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Another classic I had never read before 2009! reviewed here on October 3rd
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
"The most important thing about a person is always the thing you don't know." That is what The Lacuna is: the missing piece. In this book we follow the life of a half American/half Mexican man who spends his life trying to find where he fits in. He is friends with Frida Kahlo and works for Diego Rivera and Leon Trotsky. This story gave me an idea of what it would be like to have lived during the era of McCarthyism.
Here is my tale of meeting Barbara Kingsolver and getting it autographed.