The Book Depository is running a competition (mentioned in their newsletter) for readers to review what they consider the best book of 2009.
Hmm. When I stop to think about it, most of the books I read this year weren’t 2009 copyright. Even if I bought them new, they were often a couple of years old. But of those I did read, I think it’s probably a toss up between Gail Carriger’s Soulless and Daniel Metcalfe’s Out of Steppe. Both have flaws, but the exuberant imagination Carriger displays trumps minor quibbles (like repeated mentions of the colour of the heroine’s skin), and although I found Metcalfe’s analysis a little light at times, he really does share with the reader a different world, one in which the people are alive and sympathetic. No stock characters.
Speaking of Metcalfe, the article on Waziristan in this week’s Economist sounds mighty like him.