'09 Books: Listeners' Picks

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Today's second hour featured critics and an independent bookstore owner dishing on the best books of 2009.  Bibliophile listeners also chimed in with some recommendations for personal reading and holiday gifts. Here are their favorites:

Sarah in Boston said she wanted to give Michael Chabon's "Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son" to every man she knows.

Katherine in Buffalo, NY recommended British writer Jane Gardam's entire body of work, especially this year's "The Man in the Wooden Hat."

Susan called in from Farmville, VA to praise "Into the Beautiful North" by Luis Urrea. She deemed it an excellent corrective to most Americans' views of contemporary Mexico.

Robert from Norfolk, VA recommended "Jesus Interrupted: Revealing the Hidden Contradictions in the Bible (And Why We Don't Know About Them)" by Bart Ehrman calling it "a mini-seminary school" for him.

From Essex, MA, Karen recommended "Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. She said it was a "pioneering, even historic book that will fuel a movement for women's empowerment."

Anthony in Buffalo, NY loves Michael Graziano's work, including the novels "The Love Song of Monkey" and "The Divine Farce."

Listeners also recommended books we have featured previously on our show. On Twitter, Rachel from New York City picked Brad Kessler's "Goat Song." We had Kessler on our show back in August. Leslie in Fort Myers, FL recommended Pat Conroy's latest, "South of Broad," featured on the show in August. And Peter called in from Waterbury, CT to rave about Stewart Brand's "Whole Earth Discipline." We talked ecopragmatism with Brand in October.

Saad from Los Angeles called in to recommend "Khomeini's Ghost" by Con Coughlin and ask Tom about his favorite nonfiction book of the year. Tom's choice? Ted Kooser's memoir "Lights on a Ground of Darkness." Kooser was on our show in September.

Any more titles you'd like to add? Keep them coming...