For all her fatigue and depression, Lori couldn’t get back to sleep the day that followed Henry’s installation of the Astroturf carpet in the basement. After Henry and Danny said goodbye that morning she sat awake in bed and for more than an hour considered the great waste of an off day she could not sleep through. Why did Henry have to wake her up before taking Danny to school? Tomorrow she would ask him to not kiss her goodbye on Fridays when she wasn’t working. She tried to will herself back to sleep. She tried reading in bed. She took a warm bath. And finally, after a cup of decaffeinated tea she gave into the day, and just before ten o’clock hauled Danny’s hamper of tiny clothes into the basement to launder its contents.

Wow. Can’t believe I’m here with you.

Get over it, kid.

Move over, Pulitzer. Step aside, Man Booker. National Book Award? Pfft.

We asked our esteemed TNB editorial staff to nominate their selections for best books of 2009. The only rules were: the book had to be published this year, and books by TNB contributors were not eligible. The result is the first annual TNB Best Books of the Year award—The Nobby, for short.

Here are the Nobby winners, presented in alphabetical order by author: