Amazon’s Best Books of 2009

Let The Great World Spin by Column McCann
Best Books of 2009

Customers’ Bestsellers: Top 100 Books
It’s not a surprise that our bestselling book this year was The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown’s long-awaited follow-up to The Da Vinci Code. But among books that made their debut in 2009, one about a real-life race against time was hot on its heels: economist Jeff Rubin’s sobering but hopeful treatise on Why Your World Is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller, also one of our editors’ picks for the best books of the year. (And we can’t resist pointing out that two of the top 10 titles evoke conflagratory carousal.)

See our complete top 100 bestsellers for 2009. (Ranked according to customer orders through mid-November. Only books published for the first time in 2009 are eligible.) And don’t miss our Editor’s Picks for the Top 100 Books of 2009.

Editors’ Picks: Top 100 Books
Our annual Best of the Year debates, often contentious, were the easiest and most amicable we’ve ever had, at least when it came to our top pick. The nearly unanimous choice: Colum McCann’s Let the Great World Spin, a rich and moving novel of New York City in the ’70s, told in ten distinctive voices from all corners of the city whose lives connect and divide against the backdrop of Philippe Petit’s audaciously graceful tightrope walk between the Twin Towers.

Title: Let the Great World Spin
Author: Column McCann
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (Jun 22 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 155468482X
ISBN-13: 978-1554684823

Amazon Best of the Month, June 2009: Colum McCann has worked some exquisite magic with Let the Great World Spin, conjuring a novel of electromagnetic force that defies gravity. It’s August of 1974, a summer “hot and serious and full of death and betrayal,” and Watergate and the Vietnam War make the world feel precarious. A stunned hush pauses the cacophonous universe of New York City as a man on a cable walks (repeatedly) between World Trade Center towers. This extraordinary, real-life feat by French funambulist Philippe Petit becomes the touchstone for stories that briefly submerge you in ten varied and intense lives–a street priest, heroin-addicted hookers, mothers mourning sons lost in war, young artists, a Park Avenue judge. All their lives are ordinary and unforgettable, overlapping at the edges, occasionally converging. And when they coalesce in the final pages, the moment hums with such grace that its memory might tighten your throat weeks later. You might find yourself paused, considering the universe of lives one city contains in any slice of time, each of us our singular world, sometimes passing close enough to touch or collide, to make a new generation or kill it, sending out ripples, leaving residue, an imprint, marking each other, our city, the very air, compassionately, callously, unable to see all the damage we do or heal. And most of us stumbling, just trying not to trip, or step in something awful.

But then someone does something extraordinary, like dancing on a cable strung 110 stories in the air, or imagining a magnificent novel that lifts us up for a sky-scraping, dizzy glimpse of something greater: the sordid grandeur of this whirling world, “bigger than its buildings, bigger than its inhabitants.”–Mari Malcolm


“This is a gorgeous book, multilayered and deeply felt, and it’s a damned lot of fun to read, too. Leave it to an Irishman to write one of the greatest-ever novels about New York. There’s so much passion and humor and pure lifeforce on every page of Let the Great World Spin that you’ll find yourself giddy, dizzy, overwhelmed.” — Dave Eggers, editor of McSweeney’s and author of What Is the What

“Now I worry about Colum McCann. What is he going to do after this blockbuster groundbreaking, heartbreaking symphony of a novel? No novelist writing of New York has climbed higher, dived deeper.” — Frank McCourt, Pulitzer Prize-Winning author of Angela’s Ashes and ‘Tis

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