The Best and the Rest of 2008

What do an Afghani woman in a bhurka, the manager of a Red Lobster restaurant in Connecticut, Queen Juana la Loca of Spain, a stroke victim in Paris who can only communicate by blinking one eye, and a family with a magical apple tree have in common? They’ve all ended up on my “Best Of 2008” list!

I’m about 2 weeks late with this wrap up post, but it was surprisingly difficult to pick favorites! I changed my mind several times. Since I don’t do any sort of rating system, no stars or caterpillars, I couldn’t just list the books that got my highest ratings. Hmm.. maybe I should do that this year to make the 2009 wrap up post easier.

I wrote 44 reviews in 2008-quite a slouch compared to some other book bloggers but not half bad for ME! That number doesn’t include the books that I never finished, or books that I was ambivalent about, or books that for whatever reason I didn’t like as much as I’d hoped and was worried about offending the author. I didn’t keep stats on these but I know there were at least 10 books that I never got around to writing reviews for, and nearly that many that I started but didn’t finish.

So without further ado, here are the books I reviewed in 2008, alphabetically within their categories:

The Best:

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
The Diving Bell and The Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
Last Night at the Lobster by Stewart O’Nan
The Last Queen by CW Gortner
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro

The Rest:

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
And Sometimes Why by Rebecca Johnson
Capote in Kansas by Kim Powers
Chez Moi by Agnes Desarthe
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
The Fires by Alan Cheuse
The Girls by Lori Lansens
The Heartbreak Diet by Thorina Rose
House and Home by Kathleen McCleary
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler
Keeper and Kid by Edward Hardy
The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood
The Leper Compound by Paula Nangle
The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
Loose Girl: A Memoir of Promiscuity by Kerry Cohen
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan – Book Club Wrap-Up
Matrimony by Joshua Henkin
Netochka Nezvanova by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The Next Thing On My List by Jill Smolinski
One Perfect Day by Lauraine Snelling
Peony in Love by Lisa See
Shrink Rap by Robin Altman

The Sister by Poppy Adams
Songs for the Missing by Stewart O’Nan

Springtime on Mars by Susan Woodring

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Summer People by Brian Groh
Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Wishing Year by Noelle Oxenhandler

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks

In a category all by itself:

Getting Rid of Matthew by Jane Fallon

(I’m driving myself crazy trying to fix the spacing on this post- I’ve finally decided that it’s just going to have to remain wonky. Sorry.)

So here’s to a wonderful new year of reading! I haven’t set any reading goals for 2009 other than to review every book I read. I’ve only joined one reading challenge, and it’s a short one. What are your goals for 2009?

11 Responses

  1. We have similar tastes. 🙂 My only goal RIGHT NOW is to STOP looking at all these lists, to STOP adding books to my tbr, to STOP being overwhelmed at how many books I WANT to read NOW, and get back to R E A D I N G.

    Just let me go make sure that O’Nan book in on my wishlist…

  2. Last Night at the Lobster is sitting on my pile of books to read (except I keep calling it Late Night at the Lobster for some reason) so it was fun to read your review of it.

  3. I need to clear out my ARC pile. I also want to read more, but that shouldn’t be too hard, seeing as how I’m not planning a wedding or working two jobs (TLC doesn’t count). I want to work on TLC (duh). I want to get back into a workout routine (which starts today, incidentally). And I’m trying to plan out our meals better. I don’t really *do* resolutions, as I’m always trying to better myself, so to speak, but January’s so darn convenient for some new goals, seeing as how it comes right after a month and a half of craziness.

  4. I had just heard about the blinking book on Wednesday night. I’m going to grab it. And, I’m also interested in never let me go.

    You should join just one more challenge. hint. hint. hint.


  5. I think you did very well for the year! Nice list and I know the reviews were enjoyable 🙂

  6. Great list. Your final category just made me have to pop over and read why. 🙂 I think I should use your Best Of as a reading list for 2009. I’ve only read one of those – The Diving Bell and The Butterfly.

    Happy New Year!

    Karen H.

  7. Since I haven’t read anything on your list, it’s all getting added to my wishlist and I’m making it my goal to much less romance and way more of everything else this year. I’ve got a good start with Life is Like a Line by Cynthia Sabotka. It’s a really moving story of a family broken by a lifetime of deceit and the mental illness that has followed them for generations, and the most brutally honest depiction I’ve ever read of living with bipolar disorder.

  8. Blogger and I are waging a never ending battle over spacing, so I feel your pain.

  9. I LOVED A Thousand Splendid Suns! It captured me from the first page, and I just got wrapped up in it! I’m glad you liked it – I was a little wary at first, mostly because I wasn’t sure if Hossini’s next work to stand up to The Kite Runner, but I loved them both and am trying my hardest to get everyone I know to read them!

  10. Love your best list! I see lots of books I enjoyed or that are on my shelves.

  11. What what the worst or least like book you read?? I am going to try and limit my ARC books this year. Last year I got so many it was hard to read the other books of my own that I wanted to read!~

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