Obsessions Small and Mega: The Best Books of 2009

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Every book on this list is the culmination of an obsession, either lived or imagined. There are a handful of megabooks — the fruits of sustained fixation on a sport (Simmons), a region (Vollmann, Sanderson), or a literary form (Davis). There are characters on all-consuming quests — to gain freedom (the slaves in The Book of Night Women), to save the world (Lowboy), to save a daughter or a community (There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor's Baby). All ten of them are worth spending some hours obsessing over.

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