My favorite books of 2008

It’s time for a wrap-up of my favorite books of the past year. These are not books published in 2008, just books that I finally got around to reading. In no particular order:


  • The Niagra River by Kay Ryan
  • Seven Notebooks by Campbell McGrath
  • How We Sleep on the Nights We Don’t Make Love by Ethelbert Miller
  • Dante’s Inferno, new translation by Robert Pinsky


  • The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • The Pieces from Berlin by Michael Pye
  • The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett
  • Ursula Under by Ingrid Hill
  • Empress of the Splendid Season by Oscar Hijuelos


  • Inversions by Ian Banks
  • The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers
  • Spin by Robert Charles Wilson
  • Making Money by Terry Pratchett


  • Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World by Nicholas Basbanes
  • The Invisible Wall by Harry Bernstein
  • Aristotle’s Children: How Christians, Muslims, and Jews Rediscovered Ancient Wisdom and Illuminated the Dark Ages by Richard Rubenstein
  • The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature by Steven Pinker

What’s on my shelf for early 2009? Let’s see… I just purchased The Music Lover’s Poetry Anthology (thank you to David for the tip). I really have to get to Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad and Naomi Shihab Nye’s 19 Varieties of Gazelle. And I picked up a used copy of John Kinsella’s The Hierarchy of Sheep, because who could resist all those multi-colored sheep on the cover? Really?

In fiction, there are a number of titles languishing on my shelves: Bangkok Haunts (third in John Burdett’s series), the next Maisie Dobbs (by Jacqueline Winspear) and Isabel Dalhousie (by Alexander McCall Smith), Snow by Orhan Pamuk (although hard to muster enthusiasm for a book with this title – in Chicago – in winter), The Bone People by Keri Hulme. Oh, and I just purchased Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruis Zafon, which had such buzz this fall.

There are always a few nonfiction titles on my shelf, although never as many. My book group will pick some NF during the year, so not to worry. But I can start with Proust Was a Neuroscientist by Jonah Lehrer and Philosophy of the Arts by Gordon Graham.

There. I’ve got them out in the public eye. Now I will have to read them! Happy reading in 2009, everyone.

2 thoughts on “My favorite books of 2008

  1. Holly, I loved the Blind Assassin! I had it on my shelf forever and finally finished it last year. Family drama, sex, science fiction, scandal…who could ask for more? Happy New Year!

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