Saturday, January 03, 2009

Bookish Observations from 2008

Every week Sherry at Semicolon hosts a Saturday Review of Books. It's an invitation to link up to any book review you posted or bookish thoughts you shared from that week.

This week is a special book list edition in honor of looking back.

For me, 2008 was a good year in books. Mostly thanks to my "job" reviewing books, I found some new authors and read some new books. I enjoyed audiobooks, library books, advanced reader copies and reprints.

I read memoirs, straight nonfiction (although a lot less than in previous years), chick-lit, literary fiction, and juvenile fiction.

Sherry also provided a link to a great article by Karl Rove about the President's love of books and reading, and a friendly competition that ensued in 2006 when Rove said that he was sort of a lapsed reader and wanted to commit to reading more books. It's a neat article, and it reminds me of how thankful I am to have the encouragement and ability to read more books each year than I did the year before.

I also think about President Bush's mother, former first-lady Barbara Bush who took on reading and literacy as her cause, and I think about Laura Bush, the librarian who he married. I can only hope that in forty or fifty years, my children will take the seeds of the love of books that has been planted and will still be making an effort to read, perhaps because they are surrounded by friends and family who also value reading.

So, after that sentimental lead-in, I wanted to share about some books and authors that stood out to me this year:

Best new (to me) author of 2008: Jennifer Haigh

I was offered her book The Condition (briefly reviewed HERE) through amazon's Vine program, and loved the literary feel of it, as well as her portrait of a family. Just last month, I read an earlier novel of hers, Mrs. Kimble, which I hope to review next week at 5 Minutes for Books. I look forward to her future works of fiction.

Books from 2008 that stuck with me:

Scratch Beginnings by Adam Shepherd -- reviewed HERE

Too Small to Ignore
by Wess Stafford, president of Compassion International -- and it's not even why you might think. I haven't even finished this book that I started on my trip to the Dominican Republic with Compassion, but his thoughts about American vs. international child-rearing and care has made an imprint on my mind and heart.

The Year of the Animal -- Books about animals abounded and touched me or entertained me

I listened to Merle's Door, read Marley and Me (and the various Marley kids' books -- all reviewed HERE), and even read The Art of Racing in the Rain, a novel written from the point of view of a dog.

There was Dewey the cat and Hannah the Elephant (Diane Hammond was another wonderful new author I found, but I've yet to read another of her novels to know if that opinion will stick).

It was a good year in the pages, and I look forward to yet another one.

What about you? Do you have a stand-out book or author or theme from 2008?


Carrie said...

Dewey the Cat. Definitely something I want to be reading in 2009. I'm gonna get to it - really!

Laura said...

I'm reading Dewey the Cat now!

magistramater said...


" honor of holding back" That made me smile. We bookies are weird sometimes aren't we? Hurray for holding back!

I read Too Small to Ignore in 2007 and found it very compelling.

I haven't read Dewey, but Dewey is making quite a splash in the book blogging world. I'll have to check it out!

Thanks for a great post,

Carol in Oregon

BookPsmith said...

Hello Jennifer. I found The Irrational Season on your blog and have added it to my TBR list. I am also thinking of checking out Dewey the Cat, I have read so many good reviews. My stand out book for 2008 was Hans Brinker and The Silver Skates. Happy reading in 2009.

Robin of My Two Blessings said...

Out of all the books I read last year, the stand out author would have to be Brandilyn Collins. I read three of her stories and fell in like.

My theme was Romance. Went a little overboard. This year will be a bigger variety.

Great post - I'll have to check out Dewey.


Carrie K. said...

My favorite find of 2008 was the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series by Laurie R. King - the first volume is The Beekeeper's Apprentice. Excellent mysteries - but not fluff.

Katrina said...

Lots of good books this year, but a stand-out for me was probably The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. In fiction, I'd have to say it was The Host.

Katrina said...

Also -- loved the article about Bush and Rove and reading. Too bad they didn't join any of my challenges! Ha!