Seriously? I Read That?

Booking Through Thursday: 2008 Favorites

Posted on: January 8, 2009


This Week’s Question:

It’s a week or two later than you’d expect, and it may be almost a trite question, but … what were your favorite books from 2008?

It’s always hard for me to pick favorites, whether it be movies, music, or books. Especially books. But, there were a few standout books in 2008.

Here is my list (with notes from my reading journal, where available)

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
This slim volume packs a disturbing punch: the tale of “Alice”, a fifteen year old girl in the clutches of her abductor, Ray. It’s not a light read by any means. I finished it in one night, but took frequent breaks to collect my thoughts. Sometimes, I just needed a break from the horrors being described. The chapters are short, with a breathless, immediate quality to them.
Highly recommended.

Madapple by Christina Meldrum
I dreamt of this book while reading it, and yet I’m still unsure if I loved it or hated it. It’s one of those books, I think, that one must either love or hate. There’s no room for indifference.
Madapple is the tale of a teenaged girl named Auslaug and her life before and after her mother’s death. I can’t even really describe the plot. The chapters alternate between first person narratives and trial transcripts.
Overall, Madapple is literary and puzzling. It felt like historical fiction. That’s the only way I can really describe the tone, even though the novel is set in the 2000s.

A Drowned Maiden’s Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz
Wow. This is another book that I have been meaning to read for a while. I read the entire book in one sitting. It’s rare that I read a book that makes me question my feelings toward the characters so frequently. Highly recommend.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
Magnificent. I resisted reading this, due to all the hype, and the fact that I do not read much contemporary “adult” fiction. However, once I started I was fully engrossed. Extremely satisfying, though some parts in the middle seemed to drag a bit. Also, the story involving the narrator was quite boring at times, and seemed like an afterthought. Overall, highly recommended. I’d be interested in reading more books with the same tone / feel / atmosphere.

Love Curse of the Rumbaughs by Jack Gantos
Deliciously creepy. That’s the only way I can describe this book. Definitely not for the squeamish or those used to YA books being sappy and shallow (which isn’t a bad thing really, this just isn’t a “normal” YA novel). I found myself horrified (not scared) at times while reading, but never considered putting the book down. This book will stay with me for a long, long time.

The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
Just delightful.

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
Oh my. This was wonderful! I must read more of Miss Hanff’s works. A perfect snapshot of lives separated by distance. A definite re-read. Touching, funny, and charming.

Paper Towns by John Green
It’s John Green. Nothing more to really say.

No Choirboy: Murder, Violence and Teenagers on Death Row by Susan Kuklin
I still think about this one. A book that needed to be written.

Wide Awake by David Levithan
I read it right before the election. It was a perfect time to read it. Inspiring and relevant.

And the two titles that share my personal best book of the year spot:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by ary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows
I will admit that the title alone is what drew me in. It’s fun to say. It’s richly alliterative. The story told in letters about the effects of WWII on the island of Guernsey, however, is what kept me reading until the very end.
This is an utterly charming, delightful book. Even with small plot problems and predictability, I was able to overlook flaws that normally sour my reading experience. Once finished, it took me a few days to pick up another book for I was so loathe to leave this book’s world. I can’t say that about many books.

The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
This is a story that spans a thousand years, where the trees are the record keepers of all history and the bayous holds a thousand secrets. This is the story of a calico cat, her kittens, an old lonely hound, and evil man, and a hidden ancient creature. This is so much more than an animal story. Do not judge this book on its seemingly fluffy cover or its intended audience. This is not a children’s story. The story within is dark and mythical, but ultimately full of hope and love. The narration is like a gentle tour guide that beckons you to look at the things you wouldn’t normally see, don’t want to see. Things you must see. It forces you to not only observe, but to enter the story.

It was a very good reading year.

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Where else you can find me:

Books That Go Bump in the Night- Halloween and scary books for kids and teens. My other blog.


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