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Books I Read in 2009

January, 2009
The Best American Short Stories 2008 eds. Salman Rushdie, Heidi Pitlor
    Especially liked those by Allegra Goodman, A.M. Homes, Miroslav Penkov, George Saunders, Bradford Tice and Mark Wisniewski.
Drown Junot Diaz
    Ten convincing stories. Diaz has the gift. Keep writing, bro.
The White Tiger Aravind Adiga
    White Tiger, black India. Well-painted, scary first-person portrait of one violent attempt to do the near-impossible: escape from a bottom caste or "Rooster Coop."
Dreams from My Father, A Story of Race and Inheritance Barack Obama
    This autobiographical, self-exploration by superior thinker and writer, Barack Omaba, includes eloquent depictions of obstacles to social and political advancement faced by American Blacks. With profound irony, its author is now today the first Black president of our United States. Highly recommended reading for every American.
February, 2009
Women in Their Beds Gina Berriault
    Wow! PEN/Faulkner awared winner exceeds expectations. Seems impossible that one writer could produce 35 such absolute gems. At least as good as anything I've read. Listen carefully to Berriault's stories and you will hear sounds that you didn't know your heart could make. Yes.
Exit Ghost Philip Roth
    Roth at his best. Teaches while he entertains - brilliantly. Could not put the book down. We love you, Nathan Zuckerman.
A Person of Interest Susan Choi
    Irresistible page-turner by very talented writer. Choi seamlessly weaves together elements of terror, suspense, and mystery, with an older person's self-examination and rediscovery leading to growth, maturation and hope for a new kind of personal rapprochement. No small feat.
The Prospector J.M.G. Le Clezio translated from French by Carol Marks
    Well-told biographical adventure/love story letting us feel the human condition in a new way.
Death with Interruptions Jose Saramago translated from Portugese by Margaret Jull Costa
    Well done, fantastic bemusements. What if death: put things on hold for while in one country? restart gave one-week warnings? fell in love?
March, 2009
Intuition Allegra Goodman
    Excellent look at the personalities, passions, deceptions and nobilities of the modern medical science laboratory business.
The March by E.L. Doctorow
    Tells the story of Sherman's March to the Sea from the points of view of several interesting characters on both sides of the American civil war.
The O'Henry Prize Stories 2008 ed Laura Furman
    Twenty fine stories. I especially liked three: Village 113 by Anthony Doerr, Touch by Alexi Zentner and Bad Neighbors by Edward P. Jones.
May, 2009
A Free Life Ha Jin
    Wonderful, moving epic tale of one Chinese immigrant's struggle to find personal and artistic fulfullment through, or in spite of, the "American Dream."
This Book Will Save Your Life A.M. Homes
    Very entertaining read. Warm. Funny. Happy. Sad. Read it and you will hope to be like Richard Novak - an always willing, if sometimes accidental, modern American Good Samaritan hero. You may even save someone's life, if not your own.
June, 2009
The Best American Short Stories 2007 eds. Stephen King, Heidi Pitlor
    Twenty good ones. Especially liked those by Aryn Kyle and Richard Russo.
Half of a Yellow Sun Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Powerfully moving look inside the Biafran-Nigerian war.
Biting the Hand that Starves You, Inspiring Resistance to Anorexia/Bulimia Richard Maisel, David Epston, Ali Borden Toilet Training in Less Than a Day Nathan H. Azrin and Richard M. Foxx
    Classic (1974) method.
July, 2009
The PEN/O.Henry Prize Stories 2009 ed. Laura Furman
    Good stuff. Especially liked the stories by L.E. Miller, Caitlin Horrocks, Judy Troy, and Junot Diaz.
The Happiest Toddler on the Block, How to Eliminate Tantrums and Raise a Patient, Respectful, and Cooperative One-to-Four-Year-Old Harvey Karp
    Clear, detailed explanations and examples of how to help your toddler into civilization. Basic principles useful for all ages: first listen with RESPECT, echo strong emotions, talk at the appropriate level, provide lots of positive guidance. Always respect the dignity of your toddler as an individual.
August, 2009
CivilWarLad in Bad Decline George Saunders
    Six very good stories and a novella. Original, funny, at times scary.
The Last Lecture Randy Pausch
    For everyone, including his wife and three kids.
September, 2009
The Crimson Petal and the White Michel Faber
    Faber gently seduces us into the story of Suger, an 1870's London prostitute, who keeps us entranced without disappointment for over 800 pages. Great story, very well told.
Oxygen Carol Cassella
    Exciting medical adventure involving a mysterious operating room anesthesiology mishap that kills a child. Well thought-out by real insider Dr. Cassella, a practicing anesthesiologist.
Beethoven Was One-Sixteenth Black Nadine Gordimer
    Good stuff. Especially liked Alternative Endings. Unique story-telling style. Nobel prize winner.
October, 2009
The Garden of Last Days Andre Dubus III
    An irresistible page-turner all right!
Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day Teri Crane
    We're gonna have a Potty Party!
November, 2009
Fine Just the Way It Is Annie Proulx
    Super fine stories. Hooray for the gem, 'Tits-Up in a Ditch' - very powerful, moving anti-Iraq-war Wyoming story!
Detective Story Imre Kertesz, translated from Hungarian by Tim Wilkinson
    Outer Dark Cormac McCarthy
      Great story-teller. Creepy story.
    December, 2009
    The Humbling Philip Roth
      Super story-telling, as always, from Mr. Roth.
    Indignation Philip Roth
      Funny, sad, powerful.

    Greg Gordon MD, CFII