Tag Archives: let the great world spin

Top Books of the Year – 2009

A lot of sites/papers have come out with their lists of the top books of the year. Here are a few of the ones I have seen:

  • You can also browse The New York Times Book Review's 100 Notable Books of 2009. I was happy to see Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon (which I wrote about here), Let The Great World Spin by Colum McCann (which I wrote about here), and Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead (which I wrote about here) on the list, and I was intrigued by the blurb about Penelope Lively's Family Album ("It’s the slow, inexorable way everyone comes to acknowledge the suppressed event
    at the heart of this domestic novel that makes it quietly devastating."). Maybe someday I will actually read some of these books.
  • Flashlight Worthy Books' Best Books of 2009 as selected by readers. Noteworthy: Sag Harbor again and The Help by Kathryn Stockett, which I finally own, thanks to my husband who gave it to me for Hanukah! Hope to start it soon. And while you're there, check out the Best Book Club Selections of 2009 as chosen by "Great Book Bloggers", including me!
  • Here's Amazon's Top 10 List, which is topped by Let The Great World Spin. And here's the Top 100 (lots of familiar titles on this list, including The Help and Andre Agassi's Open, which for some reason I want to read).
  • And finally, my beloved Entertainment Weekly's The Best Fiction (sneaky EW won't post the whole list online – you have to have the print version), which includes The Help, Await Your Reply, Let the Great World Spin and This is Where I Leave You.

Whew. That was a lot of links!

So, EDIWTB readers, what are your picks for the best books of 2009? Please share them here.


Mccann I am finishing up at one job and about to start another, so my life has been a little hectic lately as I try to wind down, clean out, and get organized. I apologize for not posting as frequently this week. And I am sad to report that I haven't been able to get much reading done either.

But here is a quick post about a book I learned about from Gwen at the Literary License blog: Let The Great World Spin, by Colum McCann. Gwen says:

At its core, Let the Great World Spin is a novel about a particular city—New York City—at a particular point in time—the summer of 1974. McCann illuminates his subject through a series of stories that overlap in interesting and sometimes unexpected ways. Tying the whole thing together is Philippe Petit's daring tightrope walk between the newly constructed towers of the World Trade Center, representing the idea that the “core reason for it all [is] beauty.”

I have gotten really interested in the Philippe Petit tightrope walk lately – spurred by this documentary (which I haven't seen yet) and this children's book – and I love the idea that this book is loosely organized around that daring and mind-boggling act.

Reading Matters loved McCann's writing, but felt that the stories didn't always tie together that well. Page 247 agreed:

McCann is a magician with language and I enjoyed the novel just for that,  but  it felt too jumbled up. I don’t know, maybe this chaos was completely intentional and I missed something. I found some characters more true than others, some parts fit, others felt like bits of a jigsaw puzzle crammed where they didn’t belong. It made me sad. I wanted to love all of it and I just didn’t.

Anyone read this yet? Worth it?