Friday, January 2, 2009

2008: A Year of Reading

2008 hasn't been a spectacular year of reading like 2007 was, but it was full of a number of excellent books, a few really bad ones, and lots in the middle. Click the titles for my reviews.

The Top 10
Broken for You (Stephanie Kallos)
Cellist of Sarajevo, The (Steven Galloway)
Death in the Family, A (James Agee)
Half of a Yellow Sun (Adichie)
I Have Lived a Thousand Years (Livia Bitton-Jackson)
Sky Isn't Visible From Here, The (Felicia Sullivan)
To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
Unaccustomed Earth (Jhumpa Lahiri)
When the Emperor Was Divine (Julie Otsuka)
Year of Wonders (Geraldine Brooks)

To Kill a Mockingbird and A Death in the Family are definitely the top books for the year, but I like to pick contemporary books, too (plus, I'd read To Kill a Mockingbird many times already). I'd have to say that, after those two: Year of Wonders and Half of a Yellow Sun were the best. Some observations about the Top 10: we have lots of war and death going on this year with Sarajevo, Biafra, WW2 (Japanese internment camp and the Holocaust), and the plague. In fact, To Kill a Mockingbird is the only really uplifting novel on the list. I'm not sure what that says about me, but there it is!

The Next 10
Atonement (Ian McEwan)
A Town Like Alice (Neville Shute)
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Mark Haddon)
gods in Alabama (Joshilyn Jackson)
Horizontal World, The (Deb Marquart)
House at Riverton (Kate Morton)
Jayber Crow (Wendell Berry)
On Chesil Beach (Ian McEwan)
Peony in Love (Lisa See)
Winter Wheat (Mildred Walker)

Bottom of the Barrel
Appeal, The (John Grisham)
Blue Ridge (T.R. Pearson)
Five People You Meet in Heaven, The (Mitch Albom)
Secret Between Us, The (Barbara Delinsky)
Shattered Dreams (Irene Spencer)
Songs in Ordinary Time (Mary McGarry Morris)
Way the Crow Flies (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
World Before Her, The (Deborah Weisgall)


And The Whole List Itself (59 total fiction & nonfiction)


Fiction

Nonfiction
A Million Little Pieces (James Frey)
Beginning, a Muddle, and an End (Avi)
Five Love Language of Teenagers (Gary Chapman)
Horizontal World, The (Deb Marquart)
I Have Lived a Thousand Years (Livia Bitton-Jackson)
Liars' Club, The (Mary Karr)
Serpent Handlers, The (Brown and McDonald)
Shattered Dreams (Irene Spencer)
Sky Isn't Visible From Here, The (Felicia Sullivan)
Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank (Celia Rivenbark)
We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda (Philip Gourevitch)

And let's not forget…
Children's Book Reviews

6 comments:

onfire in PNG said...

so i wonder if you have read anything by alice munro and i have just missed a review you wrote of it? i truly love to read what you think of literature.

Literary Feline said...

I'm so glad to see Broken For You on your list. That was my top favorite last year. :-) Stephanie Kallos has a new one coming out this month. I've heard mixed reviews about it.

Laura said...

I'm curious to know why you read Winter Wheat? I read it years ago because it was recommended by knitters to other knitters. How did you find it?

SmallWorld at Home said...

Laura: Winter Wheat--hmmm, this is about a girl growing up on a wheat farm in Montana. I'm not sure where I heard about it—somewhere in blog world!

Lit Feline: I'll look for the Kallos book!

K: Tell me what to read!

Bluestocking said...

Good job!!! Here is mine!

The Best?

softdrink said...

The 5 People You Meet in Heaven was at the bottom of my barrel when I read it, too.