Of all the books I read in 2009, here are my top 5:
5. Einer von vielen, by Norbert Zähringer. Quirky, fun, interesting. Once I started, I couldn’t put it down.
4. In Search of Small Gods, by Jim Harrison. Harrison put out two books this year, this lovely work of poetry and The Farmer’s Daughter. This one was uplifting and profound. The Farmer’s Daughter left me feeling dirty and in need of a shower, especially after the first novella. His prose fiction has been fairly pedestrian and repetitive as of late.
3. Süden und das grüne Haar des Todes, by Friedrich Ani. First published in 2005, I only just got a copy of it. Ani is one of my favorite authors, and this Krimi did not disappoint. It’s well written, and the story brought me to tears.
2. Cultural Amnesia, by Clive James. A treasure trove of essays inspired by the writings of people James has read over the course of his life. His takedowns of Sartre and Mao are priceless, his take on Karl Kraus is dead on, and his essays on Egon Friedell and Alfred Polgar sent me to the interlibrary loan department of my library to get copies of their books.
1. Poems New and Collected 1957-1997, by Wislawa Szymborska. Read “Writing a Resume” and “The End and The Beginning,” and you’ll know why this was my number one read of 2009