This book contains 200 reviews of significant fiction and nonfiction published in 2008. It provides coverage for works that are likely to be of particular interest to the general reader, that reflect the publishing trends of a given year, and that will stand the test of time. "Magill's Literary Annual, 2009", is the fifty-fifth publication in a series that began in 1954. Critical essays for the first twenty-two years were collected and published in the twelve-volume "Survey of Contemporary Literature in 1977"; since then, yearly sets have been published. Each year, "Magill's Literary Annual" seeks to evaluate critically 200 major examples of serious literature, both fiction and nonfiction, published during the previous calendar year. The philosophy behind our selection process is to cover works that are likely to be of interest to general readers, that reflect publishing trends, that add to the careers of authors being taught and researched in literature programs, and that will stand the test of time. By filtering the thousands of books published every year down to 200 notable titles, the editors have provided the busy librarian with an excellent reader's advisory tool and patrons with fodder for book discussion groups and a guide for choosing worthwhile reading material. The essay-reviews in the Annual provide a more academic, 'reference' review of a work than is typically found in newspapers and other periodical sources.
Organization and format: The reviews in the two-volume Magill's Literary Annual, 2009, are arranged alphabetically by title. At the beginning of both volumes is a complete alphabetical list, by category, of all covered books that provides readers with the title, author, and a brief description of each work. Every essay is approximately four pages in length. The text of each essay-review analyzes and presents the focus, intent, and relative success of the author, as well as the makeup and point of view of the work under discussion. To assist the reader further, essays are supplemented by a list of additional 'Review Sources' for further study in a bibliographic format. Every essay includes a sidebar offering a brief biography of the author or authors. Thumbnail photographs of the book covers and the authors are included as available. Finding aids and special features: Four indexes can be found at the end of volume 2. The Biographical Works by Subject arranges the works by subject, rather than by author or title. The Category Index groups all titles into subject areas such as current affairs and social issues, ethics, and law, history, literary biography, philosophy and religion, psychology, and women's issues. The Title Index lists all works reviewed in alphabetical order, with any relevant cross references. The Author Index lists books covered in the annual by each author's name. "Magill's Literary Annual, 2009": The authors covered in this year's edition include Geraldine Brooks, William F. Buckley, Jr., Ha Jin, Dennis Lehane, Toni Morrison, Joyce Carol Oates, David Sedaris, and Kurt Vonnegut. At a Glance: This title contains two volumes; 900 pages; 200 essay-reviews; illustrations; annotated titles by category list; further reviews; biographical works by subject; category index; title index and author index.