Mind you, these are not Best of Things Released in 2009 lists. What do I know from that? These are the best of my year* in listening and reading.
The Top Ten Albums I Heard in 2009:
10. Aretha Franklin. I Never Loved a Man the Way I Loved You. 1967.
9. Pablo Casals/Johann Sebastian Bach. The Three Gamba Sonatas/Brandenburg Concerto No. 4. 1994 (recorded 1950).
8. Milt Jackson & Ray Charles. Soul Brothers. 1958.
7. The Crickets [Buddy Holly]. The “Chirping” Crickets. 1957.
6. Gnarls Barkley. St. Elsewhere. 2006.
5. Karen O & the Kids. Where the Wild Things Are. 2009.
4. Mississippi John Hurt. Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 OKeh Recordings. 1996.
3. Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar. 1957.
2. Ah Holly Fam’ly. Reservoir. 2009.
1. Ray Charles. Yes Indeed! 1958.
That’s a pretty clear choice for #1 – I’d only give the top three a 10/10, and Charles easily stands out among those – although after that the order of this list is pretty arbitrary. And what do you know, there are actually some 2009 albums up there. Who’d have thought?
The Top Ten Books I Read in 2009:
10. William Shakespeare. Julius Caesar. Edited 1963.
9. Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Gods of Mars. 1913.
8. Ian Fleming. Casino Royale. 1953.
7. Isaac Asimov. Foundation and Empire. 1952.
6. Truman Capote. In Cold Blood. 1965.
5. Cormac McCarthy. The Road. 2006.
4. John A. Lomax & Alan Lomax. American Ballads and Folk Songs. 1934.
3. Mark Millar et al. Superman: Red Son. 2003.
2. Richard Brautigan. Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork. 1976.
1. Richard Adams. Watership Down. 1972.
Even easier to pick #1 here. I’ve read surprisingly few books this year that I’ve loved. These are all great, but I might have bumped #7-#10 off the list without feeling it was missing anything. Watership Down, meanwhile, is one of the best books ever written.
*disclaimer: I’m counting as having heard/read in 2010, not 2009, stuff that I (1) listen to in the next couple days, (2) have listened to in the last couple days but haven’t had time to process yet, and (3) have read but haven’t finished yet.