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Final word on the year’s best reading

Underworlds exposed, history reanimated, treasured masters translated at last and new frontiers in fiction — our favorite books of 2009

Our reviewers were caught out when asked to come up with their short-lists for the best books of 2009. A list? No problem. A catalog, even, if you please. But a limit of just three recommendations each was tantamount to censorship. From Jake Adelstein’s blockbuster underworld expose, “Tokyo Vice,” to long awaited translations of noir master Edogawa Rampo and lyrical mythologist Mieko Kanai, dazzling new fiction, and on through a fascinating glut of cultural and historical investigations, the year gave bookworms plenty of fertile ground to burrow into. So, which ones made the cut?