Award Winning Books, 2009, National and International Prizes

Keep Your Bookshelves Full With Some Award Winning Books

There's nothing better than to know from page one, paragraph one, sentence one of a book, that you have just started a book which is destined to become one of your all-time favorites.

It is unlikely that you will feel this way about every book that has won a major national or international literary award. On the other hand, if you use literary prize lists to choose your future reads, you will likely increase the chances of opening up one of those 'great ones' with every new book you read.


This Year's Winner Is . . .

There are several major national book awards, as well as many international prizes, that offer terrific lists of books to choose from each and every year. Combined with the shortlists and finalists, the book winners for the prizes covered here total over 29 books.

Unless you are a speed reader, 29 books will get your reading off to a pretty good start each year. And even if you are a speed reader, it should be enough to get you through . . . the week.

So charge up your Kindle and kick the cat out of your reading chair, it's time to dive into some seriously amazing books.

Man Booker Winner, 2009: Wolf Hall

The Man Booker Prize

Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel

Mantel's lyrical prose and great research into the details of the every day life of the period join to create a sweeping fictional account of Tudor England, focused around the right-hand man to Henry VIII, Thomas Cromwell.

Man Booker Prize Shortlist, 2009

The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters

The Glass Room, by Simon Mawer

The Quickening Maze: A Novel, by Adam Foulds

Summertime: Fiction, by J.M. Coetzee

The Children's Book, by A.S. Byatt

Costa Award Shortlist, 2009

Family Album, a Novel, by Penelope Lively

Wolf Hall: A Novel, by Hilary Mantel

The Elephant Keeper, a Novel, by Christopher Nicholson

Costa Book Awards

Costa Novel Award

Brooklyn, by Colm Toibin

Ellis Lacey leaves her mother and sister in Ireland for a boarding house in 1950s Brooklyn. With very subtle writing, Toibin shows the young immigrant's struggles in her new world and eventually brings us back to Ireland when Ellis receives a letter from home.

Book of the Year Award

A Scattering, by Christopher Reid

Award-winning poet Christopher Reid creates a beautiful and moving peace with this poetic tribute to his wife as she lay dying.


Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner, 2009

Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout

In this terrific work, Kitteridge links thirteen tales of everyday residents from coastal Maine, spanning a period of 30 years. Loneliness, loss and grief fill the pages of these stories with the occasional flashes of hope, joy and beauty. A collection that the Pulitzer judges said packs, "a cumulative emotional wallop."

Pulitzer Fiction Finalists, 2009

The Plague of Doves, a Novel, by Louise Erdich

All Souls, a Novel, by Christine Schutt

PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill

In his third novel, O'Neill takes Dutch-born equities trader Hans van den Broek to London and then New York, where he and his wife Rachel must abandon their downtown loft after the attacks of 9/11. They wind up moving into the Chelsea Hotel, until Rachel abandons Hans for London. Hans soon finds that cricket is played in NYC, and thereafter becomes involved with a Russian mobster.

PEN/Faulkner Finalists, 2009

Ms. Hempel Chronicles, by Sarah Shunlien Bynum

A Person of Interest: A Novel, by Susan Choi

Lush Life: A Novel, by Richard Price

Serena: A Novel, by Ron Rash

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for Fiction, 2009

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award

A Gentleman's Guide to Graceful Living, by Michael Dahlie

Fly-fishing Manhattanite Arthur Camden's marriage is falling apart at just about the same time he is ruining the family business. What follows is Camden's reluctant look inward, as he navigates his emotional landscape while venturing across the old money landscape that he has always known. A Gentleman's Guide is a funny and poignant debut.

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for Fiction Finalists and Honorable Mentions, 2009

One More Year: Stories, by Sana Krasikov

Personal Days: A Novel, by Ed Park

Alive in Necropolis, by Doug Dorst

The Silver Linings Playbook: A Novel, by Matthew Quick

National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction Winner, 2009

National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction

Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel

Mantel examines Tudor England through the story of Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII's right-hand man. The tumultuous period in European history, due largely to Henry VIII's want to divorce the queen and his challenging of the church's power, is told from Cromwell's perspective with wonderfully descriptive detail. Also won the Man Booker Prize for 2009 (see above).

National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction Finalists, 2009

 American Salvage, by Bonnie Jo Campbell

The Book of Night Women, by Marlon James

Blame: A Novel, by Michelle Huneven

Lark and Termite, by Jayne Anne Phillips

Enjoy all of these amazing displays of storytelling, and always remember the words of Lily Tomlin, when she said, "If you read a lot of books, you are considered well read. But if you watch a lot of television, you are not considered well viewed."

Read these already and need some more? Check out the 2010 Book Award winners.

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