Though 2009 saw much of the publishing industry shuffling about madly in a benighted attempt to keep doing things in the same way they’d always been done, for readers, it was one of the best years in memory. So many wonderful books from authors who always draw crowds. So many really great debuts. So many great new works of fiction and arresting works of non-fiction. So many beautiful books that made us think about art and culture. So many gorgeous new cookbooks and books for children. So many great new mysteries.
The fact that it was such a fantastic reading year seemed to make it even more difficult to hone all of this wonderfulness down to just a handful of our favorite books for 2009. These are the 120 or so that made the cut. And while it seems like a large number, considering the many thousands of books published in the English language over the last 12 months, the number we need to bring it down to is distressingly small. You can see the works that January Magazine’s writers and editors chose as their favorite books of 2009 here.