Stephen King’s favorite book of 2009 and other author picks

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New Yorker contributors, including Stephen King, share their favorite books of the year on the New Yorker website. Perhaps it’s not surprising that King goes with a ghost story -- but as this is the New Yorker, he picks one that is highly literary -- shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, even. King writes of Sarah Waters’ ‘The Little Stranger’:

Like Waters’s “The Night Watch,” it’s set in rural England, just after the Second World War, and like her novel “Affinity,” it touches on the supernatural—in this case a ghost which may or may not inhabit Hundreds Hall, an estate house fallen on hard postwar times.... Like the best ghost stories, this is a tale of deepening obsession, and the first evil manifestation, involving an unpleasant little girl and a normally inoffensive old house-dog, is authentically horrifying.

A wide selection of fiction and nonfiction has been lauded by Hilton Als, Jane Mayer, Jeffrey Toobin, Jonathan Lethem, David Denby, Rita Dove, Elizabeth Kolbert, Joshua Ferris, editor David Remnick and others.

More authors share their picks on the website The Millions, which is posting new selections daily. Hari Kunzru, Philip Lopate, Joe Meno, Victor Lavalle, Jennifer Egan, Rivka Glachen and Jonathan Lethem (with another selection) are among those who share their favorite books read this year. There are also bloggers and critics in the mix, including David Gutowski from Largehearted Boy and L.A. Times books editor David L. Ulin.


-- Carolyn Kellogg