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The Best? – Booking Through Thursday

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This week’s Booking Through Thursday question is:

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?

I’m glad you asked! I have a few:

wednesday-sisters The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. I’m STILL recommending this to people, six months after I read it. I know I’ll re-read this book some day. The story is still with me and I only wish she would write faster. 🙂

yearoffogThe Year of Fog by Michelle Richmond. I know some people who’ve read this and haven’t loved it like I did, but it just spoke to me when I read it. I thought it was brilliant and well-written.

the-given-day The Given Day by Dennis Lehane. This book blew me away. It’s not for the faint of heart, seeing as how it’s a whopping 702 pages, but I thought the story was well-crafted and worth the investment. This book made me want to read everything else that Dennis Lehane has written.

montana_1948Montana 1948 by Larry Watson. I read this for my book group and loved it. This book was excellent. The author’s brevity allows the reader to fill in any blanks. The characters are wonderfully alive and rich, behaving in ways that seemed “real”. The story felt as if it could have happened, and probably did happen somewhere.

the-likenessThe Likeness by Tana French. This was hands down my favorite book this year. It’s a literary thriller that will suck you in so fast your head will spin. Tana French got into the protagonist’s head and wouldn’t let you leave until the last sentence. THIS is how books should be written. I think I’m most surprised that I haven’t seen this book nominated for an award.

art-of-racing

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. This is one of those books that I loved so much that I don’t really have anything to say other than OHMYGODILOVEDTHISBOOKSOMUCH. And really, that gets old. Excellent writing and a fresh protagonist propels this book into the upper echelons of books.

senators-wife2The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller. I haven’t posted my review of this book yet, but Sue Miller does a fantastic job of of exploring marriage, fidelity, love, motherhood, friendship, betrayal, and loyalty.


So what were your favorite books of 2008? If you leave the names in the comments, I’ll compile a list, because I would love to have a comprehensive list of all the books that I either should have read or should have added to my must-acquire list. A little bit of OCD never hurt anyone.

| Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 37 comments »

37 Responses to “The Best? – Booking Through Thursday”

  1. Kat

    I have The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman on top of my favorites list. 🙂 It’s quite a light read, and I think intended originally for a younger audience, but is quite captivating.

    [Reply]

  2. Marny

    Here are my favourite reads of 2008:

    Neverwhere – Neil Gaiman
    Coraline – Neil Gaiman
    Battle Cry of Freedom – James McPherson
    Mayflower – Nathaniel Philbrick
    No Time for Goodbye – Linwood Barclay
    Shape of Mercy – Susan Meissner

    [Reply]

  3. Maree

    My top 10 list is here 🙂
    http://justaddbooks.blogspot.com/2009/01/just-add-books-yearender.html

    [Reply]

  4. gautami tripathy

    I am awaiting my copy of The Likeness.

    2008 Top reads

    2008 review post

    [Reply]

  5. Sandra

    I really want to read the first three you’ve listed, oh, and The Art of Racing in the Rain. I had a long list (25) of books that I thought were outstanding this past year. Here they are:

    The Swallows of Kabul***** by Yasmina Khadra
    Village of Stone***** by Xiaolu Guo
    Disobedience***** by Naomi Alderman
    Memory***** by Philippe Grimbert
    Through Black Spruce***** by Joseph Boyden
    The Lizard Cage***** by Karen Connelly
    Me and Emma***** by Elizabeth Flock
    The Boys in the Trees***** by Mary Swan
    Night Train to Lisbon***** by Pascal Mercier
    Breath**** by Tim Winton
    The Whalestoe Letters***** by Mark Z. Danielewski
    Ten Thousand Lovers***** by Edeet Ravel
    City of Thieves***** by David Benioff
    The Door***** by Magda Szabo
    Detective Story***** by Imre Kertesz
    A Pigeon and a Boy***** by Meir Shalev
    A Thousand Splendid Suns**** by Khaled Hosseini
    The White Tiger***** by Aravind Adiga
    Home***** by Marilynne Robinson
    The Secret Scripture***** by Sebastian Barry
    Guernica***** by David Boling
    What Was Lost***** by Catherine O’Flynn
    Sorry***** by Gail Jones
    Offshore***** by Penelope Fitzgerald
    The Dawning of the Day***** by Haim Sabato

    Happy reading in 2009.

    [Reply]

  6. Melody

    I’ll keep those in mind, Trish! And I’m with you about The Likeness!

    [Reply]

  7. Janet

    Betrayal? In a book about a senator? Nah. 😉

    This is a great list, and it has lots of books I haven’t read yet. Thanks for posting it.

    [Reply]

  8. Beth F

    Wow! I don’t know many people who’ve read Larry Watson. I read that when it first came out — loved it too. How cool to see it your list.

    I like Sue Miller, too, but I haven’t read this one.

    [Reply]

  9. Kristen (bookclubclassics)

    The Given Day is on my TBR list — I just moved it up!

    Here’s a link to my list:

    http://bookclubclassics.com/Blog/16-books-glad-read-year/

    Good idea!

    [Reply]

  10. fleurfisher

    I was taken by “The Likeness” too and I’m eagerly awaiting the UK publication of “The Given Day”. My list is here: http://fleurfisher.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/2008-year-end-review-my-top-twelve-books/

    [Reply]

  11. bkclubcare

    The power of your blog is that I remember most of these review posts! In fact, even tho I haven’t read most of these, I do rec to others the Tara French and Lehane books based solely on the fact that YOU loved them. Girl, that’s power! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. On the other hand, I may not have read them, I do have them on my tbr. I did read Montana 1948 and loved it, too.

    [Reply]

  12. bermudaonion

    I’ve got to dig The Wednesday Sisters out of my stack and get to it. I really want to read The Art of Racing in the Rain.

    [Reply]

  13. bluestockingbb

    Here is mine

    The Best?

    [Reply]

  14. Barbara H.

    I’ve not heard of these, but that gives me more titles to look into!

    My faves are here.

    [Reply]

  15. Jeanne

    In addition to Nick Harkaway’s The Gone-Away World, which is my favorite book of the year, I also highly recommend two YA books: Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother, which is a reply to George Orwell’s 1984 and to anyone who thinks they prefer safety over freedom, and Justine Larbalestier’s How To Ditch Your Fairy, because it’s so much fun to think about what kind of fairy you would have.

    Also, Trish, I’ve passed on a badly-worded award to you at my blog today!

    Jeanne at Necromancy Never Pays

    [Reply]

  16. Alison

    The Likeness was also my favorite book of the year. I heard about it through NPR, but I haven’t really heard about it anywhere else! We should start a campaign to get this book recognized. 🙂

    [Reply]

  17. Lisa

    haven’t read any of yours, but they look good.

    mine:
    -the guernsey literary and potato peel pie society
    -Parnassus on wheels by christopher morley
    -into thin air by jon krakauer
    -a walk in the woods by bill bryson

    [Reply]

  18. S. Krishna

    I really enjoyed The Wednesday Sisters, The Likeness and The Senator’s Wife. The Year of Fog is on my TBR shelf.

    [Reply]

  19. Lisa

    Here are my top three:

    1. Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek
    2. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
    3. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

    I want to read The Likeness!

    [Reply]

  20. David

    “I think I’m most surprised that I haven’t seen [“The Likeness,” by Tana French] nominated for an award.” Award season is yet to come, but “The Likeness” is described by Amazon as the 6th best book of any kind (and best mystery) published in 2008, as well as being on the Best of ’08 lists of New York Magazine, Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Seattle Times, Salon, Strand, Publishers Weekly, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services, Publishers Marketplace, and others I’ve probably missed. (Its predecessor, French’s “In the Woods,” which won last year’s Edgar and pretty much every other award for first mystery, will this Sunday be in its 20th week on the New York Times paperback bestseller list.) All this for good reason – they’re great books!

    [Reply]

  21. Wanda

    ‘The Year of Fog’ is already on my tbr list and after reading your review of ‘The Wednesday Sisters’, I’m going to look for it as well.

    My list of favs:

    The Wreckage ~ Michael Crummy

    Water for Elephants ~ Sara Gruen

    You Went Away ~ Timothy Findley

    Mostly Happy ~ Pam Bustin

    [Reply]

  22. carolsnotebook

    My list is up, but I will say that my absolute favorite for the year was The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas.

    [Reply]

  23. sherry

    We have a book in common: The Senator’s Wife.

    Here’s my top ten.

    [Reply]

  24. Lenore

    I loved The Likeness just as much as you!

    [Reply]

  25. Matthew

    I have posted my selections for 2008 on New Year’s Eve.

    Best New Fiction 2008
    The Future of Love Shirley Abbott

    Letter from Point Clear Dennis McFarland

    Finding Nouf Zoë Ferraris

    The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

    The Art of Racing in the Rain Garth Stein

    Best Backlist Fiction
    The Birds Fall Down Rebecca West

    The Uncommon Reader Alan Bennett

    A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian Marina Lewycka

    The Dreyfus Affair Peter Lefcourt

    Kansas in August Patrick Gale

    I’m reading Jose Saramago’s Seeing right now. I’ll come back to read your comprehensive list! 🙂

    [Reply]

  26. Robin of mytwoblessings

    The only one I’ve heard of is the Given Day. Considering reading it. My list of favorites up on my blog at http://www.mytwoblessings.blogspot.com

    Robin of mytwoblessings

    [Reply]

  27. Florinda

    THE YEAR OF FOG was my Book of the Year for 2008. I haven’t read INTO THE WOODS yet, and I think I need to read that before THE LIKENESS, but I’ve about decided to do that.

    [Reply]

  28. Lisa Quing

    13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (Young Adult)
    Ginny’s eccentric aunt leaves her 13 blue envelopes with instructions to travel to England and further.
    Ginny is an interesting character and so are the many people she meets on her travels. The premise is unique as well. How many people have an eccentric aunt who would leave them a treasure hunt of sorts as a legacy? As far as it being a young adult novel, I’m not sure. I was quite entertained, but I don’t know that I’d want young teens reading it. Ginny makes some choices that I wouldn’t want an impressionable young person to imitate.

    A Bride Most Begrudging by Deeanne Gist (Inspirational Romance)
    Constance is kidnapped and shipped to the Virginia Colony as a tobacco bride.
    Deeanne Gist has the talent to write a Christian novel that doesn’t hit you over the head with preachiness. I love historical fiction and I love realistic characters. Gist blends all three qualities here for a novel that was a joy to read. Sensuality was not ignored, discussions of faith are frank but not corny-sounding. And the details about the historical setting excited me – learning about the tobacco brides, seeing the homestead that they were creating, familiarizing myself with traditions. Go read it!

    Austenland by Shannon Hale (Chick Lit)
    Jane is obsessed with Mr. Darcy as portrayed by Colin Firth in the BBC Pride & Prejudice to the extent that it interferes with her real life. Then she gets the chance to vacation in Austenland.
    If you have a love for Mr. Darcy or for Jane Austen’s works, then this is a fun read. Jane gets a trip to Austenland from, you guessed it, an eccentric aunt who leaves it to her in her will! LOL (OK, fictional characters have this happen more often than the rest of us, apparently.) She gets to dress up in Regency gear, live like she’s on Regency House Party, and fall in love with a Regency guy. But which one? And how does she return to her normal life in the modern world?

    Cook’s Treasure Jennifer Cooper (Romance)
    Reagan Sinclair vacations in Florida and meets a mysterious treasure hunter.
    I read it. Loved it! You can’t! It’s unpublished. So, nyah nyah….

    Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon (Historical Fiction)
    Claire and Jamie settle on a mountain and their daughter Brianna finds love – 4th in the Outlander series; I listened to the audiobook.
    If you haven’t read Outlander, start there. I adore all of the Outlander books and hearing them on audio is a treat. The narrator does all of the accents and it’s a masterpiece. Gabaldon is a genius at writing. She makes her reader (even me, who does not visualize) see the world she creates, with all the detail she includes.

    Finding Hope by Brenda Coulter (Romance)
    Hope befriends a rich heartless doctor but his lack of belief in God is a stumbling block to any further relationship.
    Another Christian romance novel that doesn’t beat you over the head with preachy statements or resort to implausible conversions. Instead we get a happily-ever-after tale with two fairly realistic and quite likable characters.

    Mansfield Park by Jane Austen (Classic, Romance)
    Fanny Price is sent to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousins at Mansfield Park, but she is never quite part of the family.
    This is the 4th Austen I read this year, but the first one (except P&P) that I really enjoyed. I didn’t particularly care for the ending, but I enjoyed the characters and the plot.

    Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (Classic, Romance)
    Elizabeth and her 4 sisters are encouraged to marry well
    A must-read for everyone. How could anyone not love Mr.Darcy?

    Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen (Classic, Romance)
    Catherine Moreland is naïve and prone to romantic fantasy; in Bath she meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney and is invited to visit his family estate – Northanger Abbey
    My favorite Austen (or tied closely with P&P for first)! Mr. Tilney is a hero I can really enjoy and Catherine is naive and sweet, but with that morbid streak that makes so many friends fun to be around. The plot is great too! Once you’ve read it, go watch the newest film version!

    Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (Classic, Romance)
    The classic story of two sisters – one who feels everything deeply and the other who keeps her feelings well-hidden
    My 3rd-ranked Austen favorite. Again, the ending bothered me, but the characterizations were so sharp that it was a joy to read!

    Spiderweb for Two by Elizabeth Enright (Childrens)
    A sequel to Four-Story Mistake – Mona and Rush are away from home, leaving Randy and Oliver at loose ends, but then a treasure hunt clue appears in the mail.
    The Four Story Mistake is one of my all-time favorites and this follow-up is a joy as well. I read it aloud to my kids and they enjoyed hearing the details of the treasure hunt.

    The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver (Suspense)
    Lincoln’s cousin is arrested for murder, but has he been framed by an identity thief? CHILLING!
    This one struck home, as it’s a crime that really could happen to anyone. I love how Deaver builds the suspense. The characters are true to themselves, throughout the series, and likable even though they have obvious flaws and foibles, as do the rest of us.

    The Sleeping Doll by Jeffery Deaver (Suspense)
    Kathryn Dance, a CBI agent and kinesics expert, interrogates Daniel Pell and then tracks him down in his subsequent escape
    This Deaver is not about Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sachs as so many of his are. Instead, we get Kathryn Dance, who has built a career on knowing things about people by watching them. How do people act when they lie? When they’re hiding something? Fascinating – and a great mystery to boot!

    My Non-Fiction Picks:
    Back for Seconds by Peter Bowerman (Non-fiction)
    A second helping of “how-to” for any writer dreaming of great bucks and exceptional quality of life (a companion volume to The Well-fed Writer)
    Read it, if you are interested in freelance writing!

    How I Write: Secrets of a Bestselling Author by Janet Evanovich (Non-fiction) Janet shares tips and tricks on writing – my second read-through of this book. Very practical and easy to read.
    I adore Evanovich’s writing and she’s a successful best-selling author who started out writing genre romance. She answers questions on her website and expanded those into this how-to book on writing. Conversational in tone, amusing often, and always informational, this book has been a great help to me. I’ve read it twice.

    Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer (Non-fiction)
    Chris McCandless was a young college graduate with everything going for him, but he gave it all up to walk into the wild of Alaska.
    The movie of the same name is based on this book and I was fascinated by it. It’s not a happy tale, but an interesting look into the mind of someone who observed our modern society and rejected it wholeheartedly.

    Jane Austen for Dummies by Joan Elizabeth Klingel Ray (Non-fiction)
    If you’ve ever tried to read Austen and gotten confused about historical details or customs of the time, this is the book for you! Conversational in tone and very readable, this guide answered ALL the questions I had – and some I didn’t realize I had!
    I need to own this book. That’s all I can say.

    No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty (Non-fiction)
    How to write a novel in 30 days
    I had already written a novel in 30 days, almost a year before I read this, but it was actually very very helpful. If you plan to do NaNoWriMo (or write a novel on your own in 30 days), this book will be instrumental in getting you to your goal!

    [Reply]

  29. Frances

    Great list! The Likeness and The Senator’s Wife are both in my tbr pile.

    [Reply]

  30. Staci

    I’m sold…I’m going to make sure that I read The Wednesday Sisters within the next 3 months.

    I love your list!!

    [Reply]

  31. Teddy

    Yikes Trish, you added more to my TBR! I so agree with you on The Art of Racing in the Rain!

    BTW, I gave you an award. Please pick it up at:

    http://teddyrose.blogspot.com/2009/01/butterfly-award.html

    [Reply]

  32. monnibo

    I’ve been wanting to read The Wednesday Sisters for a while. I’ve had so much trouble picking favourites because it’s hard to compare such diverse titles.

    [Reply]

  33. Jen Forbus

    Hey Trish,

    You can find my favorites reads of 2008 here:

    http://jensbookthoughts.blogspot.com/2008/12/my-top-10-well-sort-of.html

    Since I was supposed to be making a top 10 list – didn’t actually turn out that way – I had to trim a few off that I really enjoyed like:

    Mistress of the Art of Death (Ariana Franklin) and Power in the Blood (Michael Lister).

    I still have The Art of Racing in the Rain on my TBR list. I also picked up Montana 1949 last year, but haven’t gotten to it yet. And of course The Given Day, bought that one, too. Dennis Lehane’s Shutter Island made my list, though!

    Happy Reading!

    [Reply]

  34. Lisa May

    I have not read any of these! Where was I last year?! 🙂

    http://lookatthatbook.blogspot.com

    [Reply]

  35. smoothpebble

    I should not be here. I should not be here. I should not be here. My book list is already incredibly long, and now….well it just got longer.

    My faves:
    I Am the Messenger/ Markus Zusak
    The Year of Living Biblically/ A.J. Jacobs
    Lamb/ Christopher Moore
    The Omnivore’s Dilemma/ Michael Pollen
    East of Eden/ John Steinbeck

    [Reply]

  36. Elizabeth

    I really enjoyed The Wednesday Sisters, too.

    [Reply]

  37. The Best Books of 2008 - According to You « Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin’?

    […] 26, 2009 by trish During a fairly recent Booking Through Thursday, we were asked to list our favorite books of 2008. I mentioned that if people left their favorite […]

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