Best Books of the Year Countdown: 40 to 21

Between 60 and 41 yesterday we included a four-sided memoir of a one-of-a-kind childhood, a big retrospective from a master of the short-short-short story, a delirious trilogy-ender from the Demon Dog himself, a tiny and spellbindingly lovely novel of memory, and a travel tale far smarter than its sexpot cover would lead you to think.


40. The Informers, Juan Gabriel Vasquez

39. The Defector, Daniel Silva

38. The Year of the Flood, Margaret Atwood

37. Chronic City, Jonathan Lethem

36. The Good Soldiers, David Finkel

35. The Book of Basketball, Bill Simmons

34. Spooner, Pete Dexter

33. Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong, Terry Teachout

32. Open, Andre Agassi

31. Momofuku, David Chang and Peter Meehan

30. Too Much Happiness, Alice Munro

29. The Last Olympian, Rick Riordan

28. Born Round, Frank Bruni

27. Border Songs, Jim Lynch

26. The Age of Wonder, Richard Holmes

25. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, Wells Tower

24. Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It, Maile Meloy

23. How I Became a Famous Novelist, Steve Hely

22. The Unit, Ninni Holmqvist

21. When You Reach Me, Rebecca Stead

Tomorrow we'll count down from 20 to 11, and then on Monday we'll reveal our top 10, along with our full Best of 2009 feature. Until then... --Tom

More Best Books of 2009:

#100 to #81

#80 to #61

#60 to #41

#40 to #21

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