Writers Pick Best Books of '09 Nick Hornby, Judy Blume, and more weigh in By Kevin Spak, Newser Staff Posted Dec 11, 2009 3:40 PM CST 5 comments Comments "The Financial Lives of Poets" by Jess Walters has "most things that one can reasonably expect from a good novel," says Nick Hornby. It's about the financial crisis yet manages to be "a joy to read." View 5 more images (Newser) – What was the best book of the year? Salon asked Nick Hornby, Junot Diaz, Curtis Sittenfeld, and other people with better literary credentials than ours what they enjoyed in 2009. Their responses are in the photo gallery. Nicola Keegan's "Swimming" is told with "the most original voice I've heard in a long time," says Judy Blume. It's a sports book that's really about family and life. This memoir, about a woman dealing with a complicated, misdiagnosed pregnancy was "everything we love in a book," says Anne Lamott, "profound, honest, hilarious, humane, surprising." Junot Diaz says she fought hard for "Book of Clouds" by Chloe Aridjis during National Book Award judging. It's "a hypnotic first novel" about a young Mexican girl and an eccentric historian in Berlin. Curtis Sittenfeld loved this book, in which a reporter follows three people on their quests for the perfect gift, so much "that I've literally bought seven copies (so far) to give as gifts." Barry Eisler "has reinvented the spy thriller for the 21st century," gushes Juan Cole. "His Iranian female lead is smart, frighteningly competent and creamily gorgeous."