2008 was surely one of the busiest reading years ever for me. With no plan to do so, I read over one book a week (54 in total). Now I know this is chump change for some. But I’m not whatcha might call a fast reader, so this is a lot for me. I rated everything I read on the 5-star system. The top five all got 5 stars.
Here are (were) my Fave Five for 2008 (with links to my reviews):
- The Motel Life ~ Willy Vlautin. (his first). He’s a unique voice. A quote from Willy still graces the top of my blog. It cracks me up every time I see it. If you haven’t read the book, it probably doesn’t crack you up. So read it already! I also read his follow-up effort, Northline – at #16, an excellent book as well. And I had the great pleasure of hearing Willy read (and sing) live.
- Breath by Tim Winton had a lot of buzz and all well deserved as it turned out. Although I haven’t got around to reading anything else by Winton, I sure want to.
- The House on Fortune Street ~ Margot Livesey. Livesey really knows the human heart. A terrific book
- The Secret Scripture ~ Sebastian Barry. Wonderful and lyrical, which is why I quickly followed this up with three more Barry books. Besides #10 (see below), there was A Long Long Way (#17), Annie Dunne (#23). I love to read this guy.
- To Siberia ~ Per Petterson. Newly translated but an earlier work. I already have the award winning Out Stealing Horses (which was translated first) in my library queue. Reading this one carried with it this unique experience: It was like having someone read to you. Can’t explain it, but a unique reading experience.
All of the above were the first reads by me of books by each of these authors (as were #6 and #8 below). Rounding out the top 10?
6. City of Thieves ~ David Benioff. This one snuck up on me. A ripping yarn, and mostly (it would seem) true.
7. Man in the Dark ~ Paul Auster. Well I anticipate any new Auster. One of my very favorite writers, and this one is not even in my top three from him. Still, a top 10 selection for 2008. Easy.
8. The Given Day ~ Dennis Lehane. My first Lehane (and apparently very different from his previous work). A riveting historical novel of Boston and the Police Strike. Is the movie out yet?
9. Diary of a Bad Year ~ J. M. Coetzee. My very favorite writer. The linked review is Part I. There are actually 5 if you want to read them all. This is a writer of ideas. Many, many ideas.
10. The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty ~ Sebastian Barry. Two in the top 10. Four in the top 23. He likes him. He really, really likes him.
The entire list and rating of of all 54 books is archived here.