! = recommended
* = all-ages
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2009 was an excellent year for book lovers, even if publishers became as entrenched about withering economic changes as much as the cowering music industry. And as May '68 prophet of speed Paul Virilio was quoted in a 2002 interview, "If there is one place where you're scared, it's a bunker."
Great literature and thrilling reads (and mixtures of both) still made it into the margins of the marketplace, where the best stuff always sticks. Even a couple of lofty but subversive tomes with hefty price tags bobbled up into the mainstream, the perfect gifts to impress print-stubborn smart uncles and shrewd aunts during the holidays. But if you've been famished yourself for some tasty writing, be it scholarly or humorous or woven through excellent art and design, what follows is a short list of lit I personally endorse. Take it with you to an independent like Elliot Bay Bookstore, Third Place, University Bookstore, or any other fine vendor in the Pacific NW or elsewhere.