Here's the ten favourite books to come out in 2009 as picked by the Planet Books crew. It's not intended as a ten best list and not everyone's choices could be fitted in but it's still an interesting list all the same. It's in no intended order, just the way I threw it together.
by David Malouf
With learning worn lightly and in his own lyrical language, David Malouf revisits Homer's ILIAD. Focusing on the unbreakable bonds between men - Priam and Hector, Patroclus and Achilles, Priam and the cart-driver hired to retrieve Hector's body. Pride, grief, brutality, love and neighbourliness are explored.
by Paul Guinan & Anina Bennett
Designed by Professor Archibald Campion in 1893 as a prototype, for the self-proclaimed purpose of "preventing the deaths of men in the conflicts of nations". Campion and his robot also circled the planet with the U.S. Navy, trekked to the South Pole, made silent movies, and hobnobbed with the likes of Mark Twain and Nikola Tesla. [Expect me to write more about this fellow]
by Adam Thirlwell
As Flaubert finished Madame Bovary, Miss Herbert, his niece's governess, translated the novel into English. But this translation has since been lost. This book is not a novel, but an inside-out novel - with novelists as characters. It demonstrates a new way of reading internationally - complete with maps, illustrations, and helpful diagrams.
by Mark Ryden
Never reluctant to freight his work with layers of reference that range from Renaissance landscape and Neoclassic portrait painting to occultism and literature, in his latest works Ryden combines the arcane with popular cultural images as ground from which to make his carefully executed leaps into fantasy. [I did a piece on Mark Ryden last year]
by Eva Hornung
by Jeremy Holmes
There was an old lady who swallowed a fly...a bird...a cat...a dog...a snake...a cow...and a horse. Do you know what happened to her? Of course you do! But with his distinct art style and a clever format, acclaimed graphic designer Jeremy Holmes has given the universal rhyme a unique makeover that is clever, funny, and unexpected. Sum : Forty Tales from the Afterlives
by David Eagleman
Sum is a dazzling exploration of funny and unexpected afterlives that have never been considered-each presented as a vignette that offers us a stunning lens through which to see ourselves here and now.
These wonderfully imagined tale-at once funny, wistful, and unsettling-are rooted in science and romance and awe at our mysterious existence: a mixture of death, hope, computers, immortality, love, biology, and desire that exposes radiant new facets of our humanity.
by Daniele Tamagni
Daniele Tamagni's wonderful pictorial essay brilliantly manages to capture the ebullience of sapeur culture at its source in Bacongo, a sprawling suburb of Brazzaville in The Congo. The sapeur style and relationship to clothes is unique - a throwback to a lost world of pre-colonial elegance and decadence and at the same time it is futuristic. [This reminded me of The Sartorialist. Perhaps Gentlemen of Bacongo deserves similar treatment]
by Archie Weller
The Window Seat is a collection of his best short fiction - some award-winning and some previously unpublished. These stories are honest, brutal and often moving. In 'The Window Seat', we witness an old woman's final journey home and the view of the reluctant white traveller who sits beside her; in 'Stolen Car', a young Aboriginal man learns his first lesson in rough justice; and in 'Dead Dingo', we see another rallying against what his friends, life and fate are offering him.
by Odd Nerdrum
A textbook on human deceit, as narrated by Odd Nerdrum. It consists of six short stories in dialogue form, drawing on Nerdrum's experiences in Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Russia and Germany, and spanning "The Last Days of Immanuel Kant" in the eighteenth century through to our time, and into the future. [Mr. Nerdrum sounds like a guy to write about in the future]