February 17, 2018

My Top 10 Books in 2009

Like you, I’m sure, I am a voracious reader. Maybe unlike you, I am an exclusive non-fiction reader. And the goober that I am, I’ve written down every book I’ve read since 1987. In honor of the last week of the year — and because we do, afterall, work for libraries —  I’d like to share with you my top 10 books of 2009. In no particular order:

1. Nureyev, Julie Kavanaugh
For years I’ve been studying and reading about the creative process. I’ve not ventured much into dance, and this biography of Rudolf Nureyev was enlightening and poignant while demonstrating repeatedly the dyad of creative genius — intolerable selfishness yet profound originality.

2. The House of Wittgenstein, Alexander Waugh
What a family! Wealthy Viennese who in one generation produced a philosopher, a one-armed concert pianist and a writer. They were present at all the significant cultural and political events of Europe in the late 19th through much of the 20th centuries.

3. Losing Mum and Pup, Christopher Buckley
I think I could read everything Christopher Buckley writes. This memoir of his parents tells of the heartbreaking conflict of love and disappointment. 

4. Red Orchestra, Anne Nelson
An untold story of the tragic sacrifice of a group of friends and colleagues who formed a Nazi resistance.

5. Germany 1945, Richard Bessell
I get on subject jags and I got on one with WWII Germany. This one will make your heart weep. And you’ll never look at war the same way. My daughter’s world history class covered the fall of Germany in two sentences. This story will blow you away.

6. The Guinea Pig Diaries, A.J. Jacob
I do ready everything A.J. Jacob writes. He makes me laugh out loud and often. These short essays are his attempt to try just about anything.

7. The Bride of the Wind, Susanne Keegan
A biography of Alma Mahler, widow of Gustav and mistress of many in Vienna. A unique spin on the study of creativity.

8. Civil War Wives, Carol Berkin
A study of Angelina Grimke, an ardent abolitionist; Varina Davis, wife of Jefferson Davis; and Julia Dent Grant, wife of Ulysses. They knew each other, bonded with each other and forged their own ways through the tumult of the Civil War.

9. Goddess of the Market, Jennifer Burns
Ayn Rand fueled her career through a passionate drive, single-minded vision, originality and total fearlessness. 

10. Columbine, Dave Cullen
I just finished this study of the Columbine tragedy. A case study for how to take an emotional, complex and controversial story and tell it wisely, judiciously, with compassion and insight. I can’t get this book out of my head. 

That’s too sad a note to leave on. So I’ll confess to a total indulgence, but absolute page-turner,
In Spite of Myself by Christopher Plummer. He is a wicked — and wickedly funny — writer.

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.



  1. librarylover says:

    Why link to Amazon rather than Worldcat? Promote borrowing from the library rather than purchasing from Amazon.

  2. Sorry, I’m not a librarian and I don’t know how or where to do that. I would have happily and absolutely agree with your premise! After all, that’s where everyone of these books came from.