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<< Back Announces "Best Books of the Year...So Far"
Just in Time for Summer Travel, Books Editors Announce Their Favorite Books of 2009...So Far

SEATTLE--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul. 6, 2009-- (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced its picks for the annual Best Books of the Year…So Far list. This mid-year retrospective highlights the best books that have been released in 2009 from January through June. Customers looking for vacation reads will find an eclectic list, from an incredible memoir of adventure and survival to an epic, lyrical novel of New York City.

“At, we indulge in this mid-year "Best of" list because we’re obsessive about the books we love, and want to share them,” said Daphne Durham, Senior Manager of Books. “With this selection of the best new books and up-and-coming authors, our customers can get ahead of the curve and read the books that everyone will be talking about at the end of the year.”

The Best Books of the Year…So Far are hand-picked by Books editors and represent their favorite titles in five categories: an overall Top Ten, plus ten books each in Fiction, Nonfiction, Young Readers, and Hidden Gems. Here’s a quick peek at the Top Ten books of the year so far, listed alphabetically by author:

  • “Cheever: A Life” by Blake Bailey This outstanding, unprecedented biography of American writer John Cheever clocks in at nearly 800 pages, but don’t let that dissuade you: Senior Books Editor Brad Thomas Parsons read it one sitting.
  • “Fordlandia” by Greg Grandin: Truth can indeed be stranger than fiction: this absorbing narrative history reveals the little-known story of Henry Ford’s ill-fated utopia (complete with rubber roads) in the middle of a Brazilian rainforest.
  • “Lost City of Z” by David Grann: Follow New Yorker writer David Grann as he retraces the steps of renowned British explorer Percy Fawcett in his 1925 quest to discover the legendary kingdom of El Dorado in the heart of the Amazon — in an exclusive review for, John Grisham calls it “a riveting, exciting and thoroughly compelling tale of adventure.”
  • “Let the Great World Spin” by Colum McCann: According to Frank McCourt, “this is fiction that gets the heart thumping”-- set in mid-70s New York City, against the backdrop of Philippe Pettit’s Twin Tower tightrope crossing, it’s also a must-read for anyone who loves Don DeLillo, Jonathan Lethem, or E.L. Doctorow.
  • “The City and the City” by China Mieville: Fans of hard-boiled mysteries and literary suspense will love “The City and the City,” China Mieville’s ingenious breakout novel that imagines two cities coexisting on the eastern edge of Europe: one dying, one thriving, and both home to a host of mysterious secrets.
  • “The Forgotten Garden” by Kate Morton: Paying homage to Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s classic, “The Secret Garden,” Kate Morton's second novel is an epic page-turner following an orphaned girl as she journeys from Australia to Cornwall that’s at once haunting and enchanting.
  • “Crazy for the Storm” by Norman Ollestad: Norman Ollestad has written a memoir that will last — just the story itself could take your breath away: as an 11-year-old boy, he was the only survivor of a small-plane crash and made his way to safety down an icy mountain face in a blizzard, using the skills and determination he learned from his father (who perished in the crash).
  • “The Gamble” by Thomas Ricks: If you only read one author writing about Iraq, read Thomas Ricks. “The Gamble” tells the remarkable story of how a few people in and outside the Pentagon pushed new strategy through and put a difficult plan into action to sharply reduce the chaotic violence in Iraq.
  • “Brooklyn” by Colm Toibin: Colm Toibin’s story of an industrious young girl in 1950s Ireland who reluctantly finds herself on a boat to New York City is elegantly told and full of beautiful, bittersweet moments.
  • “Sag Harbor” by Colson Whitehead Colson Whitehead’s pop culture tour-de-force is made for beach reading. The year is 1985 and 15-year-old Benji Cooper -- a Converse-wearing, Smiths-loving, Dungeons & Dragons-playing nerd -- leaves the city to spend three largely unsupervised months living with his younger brother Reggie in an enclave of Long Island's Sag Harbor.

To see the books team’s picks for Fiction, Nonfiction, Young Readers, and Hidden Gems, go to

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