Jodie’s Top Ten 2009

10. The Fractured Fairy Tales of Lynn Roberts: Ms. Roberts, along with her illustrator brother, give us three charming renditions of some old classics. Cinderella as an 1920's flapper girl, Rapunzel as a long-haired hippie of the 1970's and Little Red, a brave little guy who gets the wolf to burp out Grandma with ginger ale. The stories and pictures amaze again and again. [review]

9. If I Am Missing or Dead by Janine Latus: One of two non-fictions on my list this year. Latus gives us a haunting tale of her own paralleling it with her sister, Amy's, disappearance and subsequent death. Both sisters spiral down into abusive relationships and self-loathing. One comes up for air and gets to tell their tale, the other winds up dead. Simply chilling. [review]

8. Everything Hurts by Bill Scheft: If you are one of three people who heard the BCB podcast of this you might be wondering why it's on my list. It's funny. And being a jaded, cynical, bitch any book that can make me laugh out loud gets props. Scheft is great at writing jokes, and that is very apparent while reading the book. He also shines while telling true fiction, it's when Scheft tries to veil his own story in the guise of a novel that things feel too distant. I get the whole humor as defense thing, but I think Scheft should have written this as a memoir, not a fictional novel. [review]

7. The Sandman, Volume 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman: Neil. Neil. Neil. You're like the top ex-boyfriend author of mine. It never works between us and yet I keep trying. I've spent years reading and trying to like Mr. Gaiman's novels and it wasn't until I went back to the origins ? The Sandman graphic novels – that I understood where he was coming from. I'm sorry baby, I am the bad ex-girlfriend that never got your genius until it was too late. (Disclaimer ? I am not, nor have I ever, actually dated Neil Gaiman.) Listen to the Bookclub Bitches podcast here.

6. Wesley the Owl: The Remarkable Love Story of an Owl and His Girl by Stacey O'Brien: The problem with pet memoirs is that they always end the same way. And reading about someone loving and losing a pet isn't very interesting; unless the pet is a really cool one?like an owl. O'Brien gives Wesley the Owl every single part of her life. Every. Single. Part. How can one not enjoy a love story about true soul mates? Even if your soul mate is an owl? [review]

5. The Year of Endless Sorrows by Adam Rapp: This should be required reading for any twenty-something moving to New York. Mr. Rapp's nameless narrator struggles through a boring job, disgusting roommates, love, loss and dealing with his family; all while writing a novel. The set-up seems clich?, young man comes to New York to write the next great American novel, but Rapp tells his tale with so much humor, Midwest charm and hapless young man, you just want to hug him and make him soup.

4. Outtakes From A Marriage by Ann Leary: Ann Leary might know a thing or two about being a celebrity wife…after all, she’s married to Denis Leary. Outtakes seems cliche, but is actually wonderfully framed. Joe is a successful actor. He and his wife Julia live in New York with their two kids and just ride the wave of Joe's famousness. Two weeks before the Golden Globes ? Joe's been nominated – Julia accidentally listens to her husband's voice messages. There is a message from another woman. It's explicit and raunchy. So from that moment when she hangs up the phone until they get out of the limo at the Golden Globes; Ms. Leary gives us such a perfect snapshot of the celebrity wife that I began to wonder how much was real and how much was fiction.

3. Disquiet by Julia Leigh – Edward Gorey novella style. What's not to love? Creepy and weird, funny and sad, grotesque and loveable, this tale of Goth family dysfunction should be on everyone's “To Read” list. [review]

2. Let The Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist: Lindqvist's vampire tale is sleep-with-the-lights-on scary. It should be no surprise that I have a vampire novel in my top ten. But the complete horror of this book makes it stand out. Vampires to me aren’t that scary, but the inner workings of some ‘normal’ people can be more repulsive and shocking than we imagine or suspect. Lindqvist takes you to the edge of shocking and leaves you uncomfortable. [review]

1. The Ghost in Love by Jonathan Carroll: This was the first of Carroll's novels that I've read, but it won't be the last. Carroll's slipstream fiction fits right in with my views of the weird. For every girl who thought her love would be enough, for every girl who thought she could change a man by loving him right, for every girl who was dumped for no good reason?The Ghost in Love validates you. Your love is enough, in it's many forms and parallels. Your good memories and good intentions do impact the world and the ones you hold dear. In fact Carroll proves that your love can save someone, not from death, but more importantly from themselves. [review].

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