BEST AND WORST OF 2009

"Putting Taylor Swift on the cover in a red dress was like wrapping up 2009 with a beautiful holiday bow"

Jamie Campbell

New York, N.Y.

Thanks for waving goodbye to 2009—and the millennium's first decade—with a terrific holiday issue. Sitting by the Christmas tree while reading your year-end issue has become a ritual for our family. It helps us remember everything that has happened over the past 12 months. Please keep up the good work.

Johanna Cunningham

Chicago, Ill.

I found so much to enjoy in your look back at 2009. Despite all the challenges we've faced recently, this issue made me realize there's a lot to be grateful for. We Americans have an abundance of blessings, and the stories in your magazine help put everything in perspective.

Mary O'Hurley

Los Angeles, Calif.

Your wrap-up of 2009 was very nice, but why wasn't filmmaker John Hughes included in your Tributes section? He directed some of the most endearing movies ever, such as The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. His life deserved to be celebrated too.

Tricia Stansberry

Upper Sandusky, Ohio

I can't believe you gave the very boring Kardashian sisters a two-page spread, while the tributes to Walter Cronkite, Bea Arthur and Ed McMahon were all a half page or less. That is ridiculous!

S. Ferrara

Boston, Mass.

PASSAGES

It was great to read that Ethan Zohn is winning his battle against Hodgkin's lymphoma and getting a stem-cell transplant. I have survived cancer for more than six years by having adult stem-cell transplants. More people need to hear about this treatment so they can investigate it for themselves or their loved ones. Thank you for spotlighting a medical option that doesn't get much coverage in mainstream media.

Carol Franz

Owego, N.Y.

STAR TRACKS

How wonderful that Britney Spears is back on track in both her personal and professional life. It's good to see her out again with her boys. However, does anyone else wonder why her 3-year-old son still needs a "binky"? Jayden seems to have a pacifier stuck in his mouth in almost every picture I see of him.

Patrice Offenhauser

Granite Bay, Calif.

SCOOP

It's time for the Duggars to stop making babies. Most people would agree that having 19 kids is ludicrous and totally unfair to each of those children. There is no way that any of those kids are getting the attention they deserve from their parents. Michelle needs to say "no," and Jim Bob should try a cold shower.

Linda H. Poirier

Methuen, Mass.

Clarification Readers wondered why The Associate by John Grisham was listed at both the No. 4 and No. 10 spots in our year-end issue's "Tops of 2009" listing of adult fiction bestsellers. We should have said that those were the positions achieved by the hardcover and paperback versions of the book, respectively. We regret the omission.

REMEMBERED HEROES

Readers appreciated our tribute to American soldiers who lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan last year. Rebecca Lovaasen of New Iberia, La., whose cousin was among the servicemen listed, writes, "Words cannot begin to express how deeply touched I was by this article." Vanessa Adelson of Charles Town, W.Va., lost a son in Afghanistan and says, "Until you have a loved one fighting in a war, you don't understand the sacrifices the soldiers and their families make. These are the true 'stars' you should be writing about." Adds Janet Carpino of Racine, Wis.: "With most of the media obsessed with celebrities, it's refreshing that your magazine remembers what's really important."