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Best books of 2009

According to Publisher's Weekly, a magazine targeted at publishers, booksellers and literary agents, these were the best books of the past year:

"Cheever: A Life," by Blake Bailey (Knopf). A biography of the novelist and short story writer.

"Await Your Reply," by Dan Chaon (Ballantine). PW calls this novel "a literary page-turner."

"A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon," by Neil Sheehan (Random House). An account of the development of the ICBM.

"In Other Rooms, Other Wonders," by Daniyal Mueenuddin (Norton). A story collection about the people of Pakistan.

"Big Machine," by Victor LaValle (Spiegel & Grau). A novel about a bus station porter who gets sucked into a rural Vermont cult.

"The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science," by Richard Holmes (Pantheon). Called " a thrilling narrative of scientific discovery" by PW.

"Stitches," by David Small (Norton). A graphic novel about Small's terrifying childhood.

"Shop Class as Soulcraft," by Matthew B. Crawford (Penguin Press). About the intellectual satisfactions of working with one's hands.

"Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi," by Geoff Dyer (Pantheon). About a freelance journalist pursuing a girl and a story.

"Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon," by David Grann (Doubleday). Adventure tale about the life of Amazon jungle explorer Percy Fawcett.

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