FaN Cheers: Our Favorite Books of 2008

A few of these books were read, not published in 2008, but luckily a good book is always a good book, no matter the vintage.

Then We Came to an End.inddThe Book Thief was the best book I read this year.  The prose is gorgeous and the story is unique and compelling.  It’s going in my top 5 books of all time.  The fact that it’s written from Death’s POV in WWII Munich is original and it moved me to tears.  A lot of tears. — Amy from “Tall Drink of Nerd”

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. I both love and hate books that make me feel like I shouldn’t even bother to write, because I’ll never be as good as this. And this was the book that I loved and hated most this year. Just writing about it makes me want to step up my game in 2009. Favorite book of the decade so far. — etc

My favorite book is actually my favorite series of the year: Sharon Shinn’s Samaria series.  I’m generally put off by anything to do with angels, but I found this series a thoughtful, entertaining treatment of questions about the existence of god. — Redheaded Stepchild

Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris…sorta like an HBO version of Office Space. Hilarious, moving and loving. Plus the author is adorable. — Kelli from “Fierce in Seattle”

nyecollinsA trashy Jackie Collins paperback called Thrill! Oh, it was a delight. Does the impossibly beautiful Hollywood siren fall for the irresistible bachelor with a secretive past? What about her ex-husband who still obviously holds a torch for her EVENTHOUGH his new wife is directing her (his ex-wife) in her (new wife’s) directorial debut? Did you get all that? Me neither. I just skipped to the naughty bits. — Tabitha from “Fierce Science”

My favorite book that I ‘read’ (listened to on CD) was Water for Elephants – it had amazing imagery and a wonderfully told story…  I actually looked forward to driving. — Jessica from “Musings on the Amusing”

Our non-fiction picks after the jump:

nyegarlicandsapphiresEat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I often steer clear of the books that every woman in America seems to read, but this one was sent to me by a friend (we often mail each other books we’ve enjoyed, to pass them along, I sent her garden… in return), and in the middle of a rough patch this summer I started tp read it and found solace in the first chapter. Maybe I’m in exactly the right place to feel connected to this book (mid thirties, a bit lost) but it really spoke to me. — Gudrun from “Secret Life of a Nerd Girl”

The Final Days by Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein. Woodward and Bernstein’s 1976 follow up to All the President’s Men is an incredible behind-the-scenes look that takes readers inside the White House from the height of the Watergate scandal to the very last day of Richard Nixon’s life as president. Along with all the back stage machinations, The Final Days is also a hilarious dark comedy that would have made Joe Orton squeal and an epic family drama that gives rival to the tragedies of Sophocles. Any one interested in politics, American history, the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, or insightful psychological portraits of great men in crisis must read this book. I also liked Point By Point Navigation: A Memoir by Gore Vidal. Reading Vidal’s second memoir is like having a wonderful conversation with someone who has had one drink too many. Does it meander? Yes. Is it filled with little-known personages? Indeed. Is at times brilliant, funny and heartbreaking? You bet.  The high points of the memoir are the passages where Vidal chronicles the final stages of his relationship with his partner of over fifty years. It was these moments that provided the tonic I needed earlier this year to help deal with the grief over my grandfather’s passing. — Ryan from “Fierce Anticipation”

nyeepstein-sisteraimeeGarlic and Sapphires by Ruth Reichl.  — Delia from “Chic Geek”

Sister Aimee- The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson by Daniel Mark Epstein. It is a wonderful biography that reads like a novel but with all the dates and details in order. It also gives great respect to a powerful and impressive woman in American history. Which is more than I can say about the biography I am currently reading about her Aimee Semple McPherson-Everybody’s Sister by Edith L. Blumhofer. I’m already on page 37 and we still haven’t gotten to a word about Aimee. That’s almost 40 pages without a mention on the person who’s picture is on the cover! I mean come on already. — Kaboom from “Venice Flytrap”

As for everyone else…

OK, so here’s something embarrassing. It seems that when one lives in a two TiVo household and also has a subscription to US Weekly, one doesn’t get much actual reading done. I’m working on rectifying that for 2009. — Robin from “Wonderfully Awful”

Oh my gosh – I love to read, but sadly, I did not finish any books in 2008. I tried, really! I started to read Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. I love books about boarding school! I would appreciate more recommendations on boarding school books. I also love young adult novels! — Missy from “Dork Lifestyle”

Except for Harry Potter I almost never read a book the year it comes out. So my favorite book of the year was The Complete Original Illustrated Sherlock Holmes, inscribed Christmas 1976 in my mom’s hand. Comfort reading for over thirty years: a story here, a story there. This year I knocked out the final fifteen or so. Pondering the secret of their addictive properties. The charming English rhythms and phrases. The scientific clarity of the sentences. The odd passages of lyricism or sharp insight. Doyle’s unique impenetrable magic. — Jeff from “Hippie Squared”

All I can remember reading this year that I can remember is What to Expect When Your Expecting and although it is the Holy Bible of Pregnancy, it is boring as hell! — Monique from “Political Physics”