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Annual SF Site Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2009

Vote For Your Favourite Books of the Past Year

by Neil Walsh

The Name of the Wind
The Name of the Wind
The Lies of Locke Lamora
The Lies of Locke Lamora
Anansi Boys

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
House of Chains
Perdido Street Station
A Clash of Kings
Another Year of Fine Reading

You may have noticed that here at the SF Site we focus mainly on books. Sure, we also like film and television and audio books and comic books and music and fine art -- but most especially it's about the books. So for us, the new year is always a time to look back on what we've read over the year just ended and to decide what we liked best.

And every year at this time, we also like to hear what you've read and enjoyed over the past year. We want to know what you thought was the very best of what you read from 2009.

Of course, it's often difficult to pick just one favourite, so we want to know what you would put on your top 10. We invite you to take your time, finish off any books you've been meaning to read, think it over, and send us the list of your top 10 favourite books from 2009. We'll compile all the responses from our readership, weighted according to your personal rankings, and present an overall list of the top 10 books from 2009 as chosen by the SF Site readers.

The rules haven't changed from previous SF Site Readers' Choice Awards. If you're new or need a reminder, here's how it works...

What's Eligible for Your Vote

Any book is eligible if it

  • meets our definition of a "book",1
  • is in some way related to "speculative fiction",2 and
  • was released in the 2009 calendar year.3
1.   For this purpose, we define a "book" as any collection of printed words that requires reading as a primary means of conveying the message, including but not limited to novels, novellas, collections, anthologies, chapbooks, essays, biographies, comic books, graphic novels, e-books, magazines, etc.

2.   Related to "speculative fiction" means anything that could reasonably be said to be associated in some way with fiction of a speculative nature (including, but not limited to science fiction, fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, and probably even a fair selection of what is generally considered mainstream fiction). By "related to" speculative fiction, we mean to include such non-fiction items as biographies, essays, speculative science writing, etc., as well as any sub-genre fiction or associated non-fiction.

3.   "Released in the 2009 calendar year" means that your chosen book must have been released in English during the 2009 calendar year, either for the first time, or as a new edition, or a new translation to English, or even a "new" reprint.

If you think a book might be or should be eligible, go ahead and vote for it. Voting is wide open -- there's no list of nominations to choose from. If it was so good that you think it's one of the 10 best things you read all year, we definitely want to hear about it.

How You Vote
  • In the body of an e-mail, list 4 to 10 of your favourite books of 2009, in your order of preference, with your top choice clearly indicated as #1, second choice listed second, etc.  Please do not submit your list as an attachment; e-mails with attachments are filtered out and will not be read.
  • Remember to clearly indicate your #1 choice, second choice, etc. as the votes are weighted according to your own personal ranking. If you didn't read 10 books worthy of inclusion, you are welcome to choose fewer than 10, but surely you read at least 4 good ones. Any choices beyond the first 10 you list will not be counted, so please just pick the 10 best.
  • Remember to list the title and author for each of your choices, or the specific issue(s) of a periodical such as a magazine or comic book. If you know the publisher, you may include that information as well, although it is not strictly required.
  • E-mail your list to vote@sfsite.com with "VOTE" in the subject line.
       Please remember to put "VOTE" in the subject line, or your e-mail may be mistaken for spam and automatically deleted without anyone ever reading your wonderfully insightful choices.
  • Each voter may vote one time only for up to 10 books. If you share an e-mail address with someone else, only one of you should submit your list (perhaps you could agree on one list between you). If you personally have more than one e-mail address, you still only get to submit one list -- not one list per e-mail address.
       You get 10 votes, so there's really no need to try and cheat. Ballot stuffers are remarkably easy to spot and will have all of their votes disqualified.
  • Deadline for voting is Friday, 5 February 2010 at midnight, Eastern Standard Time.

Past & Future Results

While you're thinking about your own personal favourite books from the past year, the SF Site editors and contributors will also be working on our own version of the SF Site Best Read of 2009. We'll post the results of both the Readers' Choice Top 10 and the Editors' Choice Top 10 in February and March, so you can see how your choices compare with ours.

Have a look if you want to see which books made it to the top 10 lists in the past...

Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2008
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2007
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2006
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2005
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2004
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2003
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2002
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2001
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 2000
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 1999
Readers' Choice: Best Read of 1998
Best Read of the Year: 2008
Best Read of the Year: 2007
Best Read of the Year: 2006
Best Read of the Year: 2005
Best Read of the Year: 2004
Best Read of the Year: 2003
Best Read of the Year: 2002
Best Read of the Year: 2001
Best Read of the Year: 2000
Best Read of the Year: 1999
Best Read of the Year: 1998
Best Read of the Year: 1997

To get you started thinking about what you might want to vote for, we offer a sampling of books that appeared in the past year: feel free to browse through our New Arrivals archive, linked below. Check out the pages listed under 2009, but note there will be some overlap -- i.e., some eligible books will appear in 2008 or 2010. Also, these pages are not a complete list of books from 2009; they merely provide a starting point.

Some of the books of the past year

Thanks in advance for your participation. We hope you enjoy voting for your favourite books, and we're look forward to hearing from you.

Copyright © 2010 by Neil Walsh

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