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Friday, December 26, 2008

The Nervous Marigold's Best Reads of 2008

So...I read almost 75 books this year, although a lot of them were in the Young Reader or Young Adult categories, meaning I could read more in less time. I am just partway through The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, and loving it so much that I felt I had to create a Top Ten list for the year in order to show how good it is. Then, I went to my LibraryThing tag "2008" to choose the rest of the list. Magically, it came out to exactly ten books - no padding, nothing left out. Without further ado, here they are, divided into fiction and non-fiction, in alphabetical order by author:

Best Fiction read in 2008: (None of which were published in 2008!)

Andrea Camilleri
Il colore del sole: romanzo (2007)
I loved this for the fun of the idea and the language, and because I love art and I love Caravaggio, and I love Camilleri's other books.

Michael Chabon
The Yiddish Policeman's Union: a novel (2007)
I loved this because it was so funny that I laughed out loud, and I love the ideas of alternate reality and five minutes in the future, and I love a smart-ass, which would be not only most of the characters, but Chabon himself.

Kate DiCamillo
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (2003)
This book I loved because the language was beautiful, and that is rare enough in books intended for grown-ups, let alone those intended for children. I cried with my child's teacher over some turns the story takes.

Barbara Kingsolver
The Poisonwood Bible: a novel (1998)
I am really late coming to the Kingsolver party, but this is an absolutely exquisite book that deserves its reputation.

Markus Zusak
The Book Thief (2005)
This is the book that I loved so much it inspired me to rank the best reads of the year. A well-documented subject covered in an odd and moving way. Funnily, not really a book about books.

Best Non-fiction read in 2008

Pierre Bayard
How to Talk About Books You Haven't Read (2007)
Awesome! Knowing what the book means in our culture is more than half of knowing the book. Nobody reads it all. How freeing. How fun!

Daoud Hari
The Translator: A Tribesman's Memoir of Darfur (2008)
So sad and so simply written, the author's voice is that of a child unable to dissemble. An incredible one-two punch to read in the same year as Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible.

Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die (2007)
Such an interesting analysis of marketing, which is a front-of-mind topic with me, always. Lots of cool ideas.

Daniel Pink
A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future (2006)
I am glad I read this before the shifting in the world economy turned into a scary roller-coaster. The changes are fundamental, and still evolving. This book gives a kind of paradigm through which to understand how it will be going.


  1. A trully wonderful collection of tiles. I shall have to visit my local library to check out these titles, especially The Book Thief. Thank you for the post.

    Tony Peters
    Author of, Kids on a Case: The Case of the Ten Grand Kidnapping

  2. WOW...looking at this, I see that you have been writing this blog for a LONG TIME! Good for you, keep it up, Souci!