Favorites 2009: Fiction and poetry
The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Doubleday)
A struggling young writer in 1920s Barcelona accepts a lucrative, diabolical assignment commissioned by a shadowy client.

The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker (Simon & Schuster)
Meet Paul Chowder, a poet, editor and procrastinator whose character sheds autobiographical light on his creator.

The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb (W.W. Norton)
An honest, powerful and violent rendering of Genesis by the artist.

Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli (Pantheon)
An intriguing hybrid graphic novel about a paper architect "whose reputation rested on his designs, rather than on the buildings constructed from them."

Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It: Stories by Maile Meloy (Riverhead)
Explorations of the lives of ranchers, lawyers and others in the American West in a collection of diamond-hard stories.

Chronic: Poems by D.A. Powell (Graywolf)
Love, the poet writes, has the ability to turn a person inside out.

The City & The City by China Mieville (Del Rey)
A detective investigates a crime in an Eastern European-flavored fantasy world in which cities and realities overlap in unexpected ways.

The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis by Lydia Davis (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Spanning 20 years, the four collections here show the author in full command of language and imagery, playing the reader like a master.

Everything Matters! by Ron Currie Jr. (Viking)
In rural Maine, a young man struggles with his family, and his prophetic powers, as the world braces for the apocalypse.

The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter (Harper)