May 2010

The Reader Survey

Believer readers vote for their favorite fictions

Heroically mailed to San Francisco on non-prepaid postcards

I Am Not Sidney Poitier was chosen from a short list of novels selected by the editors of the Believer. We also asked our readers to fill out a survey card included in the January 2010 issue indicating which they thought were the three strongest works of fiction published in 2009. The top twenty most-represented novels we received from readers follow. Below that, please find a selection of additional eligible titles that received several honorable mentions.

Top 20

  1. Buffalo Lockjaw—Greg Ames
  2. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned—Wells Tower
  3. Let the Great World Spin—Colum McCann
  4. Invisible—Paul Auster
  5. A Gate at the Stairs—Lorrie Moore
  6. Inherent Vice—Thomas Pynchon
  7. Juliet, Naked—Nick Hornby
  8. Chronic City—Jonathan Lethem
  9. Wolf Hall—Hilary Mantel
  10. The Anthologist—Nicholson Baker
  11. Await Your Reply—Dan Chaon
  12. Ablutions—Patrick deWitt
  13. The Interrogative Mood—Padgett Powell
  14. The Financial Lives of the Poets—Jess Walter
  15. This Is Where I Leave You—Jonathan Tropper
  16. Sag Harbor—Colson Whitehead
  17. The Way Through Doors—Jesse Ball
  18. The Children’s Book—A. S. Byatt
  19. Summertime—J. M. Coetzee
  20. The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet—Reif Larsen

Honorable Mentions

  • The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein—Peter Ackroyd
  • War Dances—Sherman Alexie
  • The Year of the Flood—Margaret Atwood
  • The Women—T.C. Boyle
  • South of Broad—Pat Conroy
  • Everything Matters—Ron Currie Jr.
  • The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis—Lydia Davis
  • Sunnyside—Glen David Gold
  • The Magicians—Lev Grossman
  • The Believers—Zoë Heller
  • Blame—Michelle Huneven
  • Under the Dome—Stephen King
  • The Lacuna—Barbara Kingsolver
  • Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It—Maile Meloy
  • Lark and Termite—Jayne Anne Phillips
  • Generosity: An Enhancement—Richard Powers
  • The Humbling—Philip Roth
  • Brooklyn—Colm Tóibín
  • Cutting for Stone—Abraham Verghese
  • The Convalescent—Jessica Anthony
  • Havana Lunar—Robert Arellano
  • Hemingway Deadlights—Michael Atkinson
  • The Windup Girl—Paolo Bacigalupi
  • The Little Giant of Aberdeen County—Tiffany Baker
  • The Complete Stories of J.G. Ballard—J.G. Ballard
  • The Soul Thief—Charles Baxter
  • The Skating Rink—Roberto Bolaño
  • The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards—Robert Boswell
  • You or Someone Like You—Chandler Burr
  • Little Bee—Chris Cleave
  • And Another Thing…—Eoin Colfer
  • Catching Fire—Suzanne Collins
  • The Gates—John Connolly
  • Generation A—Douglas Coupland
  • The Great Lover—Jill Dawson
  • Spooner—Pete Dexter
  • Puttering About in a Small Land—Philip K. Dick
  • Alive in Necropolis—Doug Dorst
  • Blood’s a Rover—James Ellroy
  • Baby Leg—Brian Evenson
  • Last Days—Brian Evenson
  • Every Man Dies Alone—Hans Fallada
  • Shades of Grey—Jasper Fforde
  • If I Stay—Gayle Forman
  • An Echo in the Bone—Diana Gabaldon
  • Silver Lake—Peter Gadol
  • A Reliable Wife—Robert Goolrick
  • The White Queen—Philippa Gregory
  • The Divine Farce—Michael S. A. Graziano
  • Starvation Lake—Bryan Gruley
  • The Actor and the Housewife—Shannon Hale
  • Hospital for Bad Poets—J. C. Hallman
  • Tinkers—Paul Harding
  • Love and Obstacles—Aleksandar Hemon
  • In the Valley of the Kings—Terrence Holt
  • On the Winding Stair—Joanna Howard
  • Last Night in Twisted River—John Irving
  • Nocturnes—Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Book of Night Women—Marlon James
  • A Good Fall—Ha Jin
  • Nobody Move—Denis Johnson
  • Swimming—Nicola Keegan
  • Impossible Princess—Kevin Killian
  • Erased—Jim Krusoe
  • House of Windows—John Langan
  • The Piano Teacher—Janice Y. K. Lee
  • My Work Is Not Yet Done—Thomas Ligotti
  • The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square—Rosina Lippi
  • Black Water Rising—Attica Locke
  • How Some People Like Their Eggs—Sean Lovelace
  • Asterios Polyp—David Mazzucchelli
  • The Show That Smells—Derek McCormack
  • Blood Promise—Richelle Mead
  • The Great Perhaps—Joe Meno
  • Dear American Airlines—Jonathan Miles
  • How the Dead Dream—Lydia Millet
  • Big World—Mary Miller
  • Americans in Space—Mary E. Mitchell
  • Fool—Christopher Moore
  • Miles from Nowhere—Nami Mun
  • Too Much Happiness—Alice Munro
  • The Original of Laura—Vladimir Nabokov
  • Her Fearful Symmetry—Audrey Niffenegger
  • Far Bright Star—Robert Olmstead
  • Pygmy—Chuck Palahniuk
  • Run for Your Life—James Patterson
  • Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing—Lydia Peelle
  • The Song Is You—Arthur Phillips
  • Woodsburner—John Pipkin
  • Andromeda Klein—Frank Portman
  • Captive Audience—Dave Reidy
  • The Halfway House—Guillermo Rosales
  • That Old Cape Magic—Richard Russo
  • The Blindfold Test—Barry Schechter
  • Follow Me—Joanna Scott
  • A Monster’s Notes—Laurie Sheck
  • Drood—Dan Simmons
  • A Jello Horse—Matthew Simmons
  • Annabel Scheme—Robin Sloan
  • Mr. Penumbra’s Twenty-Four-Hour Book Store—Robin Sloan
  • The Writer and the Witch—Robin Sloan
  • The Last Song—Nicholas Sparks
  • The Help—Kathryn Stockett
  • Body Blows: A Joe Grundy Mystery—Marc Strange
  • Jerusalem—Goncalo M. Tavares
  • Love Begins in Winter: Five Stories—Simon Van Booy
  • Future Missionaries of America—Matthew Vollmer
  • A Short History of Women—Kate Walbert
  • The Little Stranger—Sarah Waters
  • The New Valley—Josh Weil
  • Tunneling to the Center of the Earth—Kevin Wilson
  • Once the Shore—Paul Yoon

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