Sunday, January 11, 2009

2008 Books I Read

Marley & Me: Love and Life with the World's Worst Dog (Hardcover) Marley & Me: Love and Life with the World's Worst Dog (Hardcover)
I appreciated this book, but the author's writing voice grated on me. That being said, I enjoyed reading the story for the most part and several antecdotes of Marley made me laugh out loud.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Hardcover) The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Hardcover)
I would recommend this book to a lot of different people. This book unfolds through letters and tells the story of the Nazi occupation of Guernsey Island during World War II. Well written, easy read, and fun. Reminds me a bit of LM Montgomery's writings actually.

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto (Paperback) Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto (Paperback)
For the most part, I loved this book, and the collections of essays by Chuck Klosterman. The essay on Billy Joel was pretty much brilliant, loved his critique of love and John Cusack.

Crocodile on the Sandbank: An Amelia Peabody Mystery (Book 1) Crocodile on the Sandbank: An Amelia Peabody Mystery (Book 1)
Perfect for Tricia Jackson if she hasn't read it already. Kind of a dumb book, but hilarious and I found myself really enjoying the read.

The Last Lecture (Hardcover) The Last Lecture (Hardcover)
I pretty much loathed this book. There were a few good points, but really? A shoddy book. However, his kids are pretty much set for college, and that I respect.

Living Well with Asthma (Paperback) Living Well with Asthma (Paperback)
I was diagnosed with asthma when I was 12, but this book was still very beneficial.

Deception Point (Paperback) Deception Point
So, uh, I pretty much despise Dan Brown but I read and enjoyed this thriller about a meteorite at the north point that may or may not prove the evidence of extra-terrestrial life.

The Thin Man (Paperback) The Thin Man (Paperback)
The way Dashiel Hammet writes dialogue is brilliant. This is the first Nick and Nora detective story I've read, and is supposed to be the best. Personally, I found myself in awe of Hammond's mastery of the english language.

The Dirty Girls Social Club: A Novel (Paperback) The Dirty Girls Social Club: A Novel (Paperback)
The first ten pages in I pretty much hated this book. But, by the end, it was a decent read. I enjoyed the stories albeit a little predictable and stereotypical.

Mary, Called Magdalene (Paperback) Mary, Called Magdalene (Paperback)
Historical fiction accounting (and speculating) the story of Mary Magdalene. The book was interesting, especially from a non-mormon point of view and I find myself thinking about it occasionally.

Freedomland (Mass Market Paperback) Freedomland (Mass Market Paperback)
Thank you to the person who introduced me to Richard Price. Although not quite as good as Clockers, Freedomland comes close. This is a crime drama that takes place in '98 I believe and is a haunting crime thriller about a kidnapping in New Jersey. Reading Price though write genre fiction is like reading Cormac McCarthy write genre fiction. Both are such skilled writers that their book eclipses the category. Well done.

Playing For Pizza: A Novel (Hardcover) Playing For Pizza: A Novel (Hardcover)
Grisham isn't a great writer, but this book isn't half bad. Entertaining, light fluff.

The White Rock (Paperback) The White Rock
What a great book. The author strikes up a conversation with a guy in a bar in England and soon finds himself in the jungles of Peru looking for a lost archaeological site. He brings great insight in the ruins around Cusco and in Peru.

Holidays on Ice (Paperback) Holidays on Ice (Paperback)
Sedaris does nothing for me, but I really like his sister Amy. I also enjoyed the essay about the washing machine.

Oliver Twist (Penguin Classics) Oliver Twist (Penguin Classics)
I'm glad I waited until now to read Oliver Twist because I'd probably think that Oliver is a whiner. That being said, I find Dickens funny, and really found myself enjoying this story of little Oliver.

Wild Life (Paperback) Wild Life (Paperback)
I still can't decide if I love or despise this book. Perhaps Gloss's strongest book, but there's something about it I can't put my finger on that unsettles me about this novel. The story of a feminist widow raising five boys who lives in Oregon at the turn of the century. She accompanies her housekeeper to a logging camp when the housekeeper's granddaughter goes missing and embarks on a great adventure.

Hoot (Paperback) Hoot (Paperback)
I liked it until I realized it's just Huck and Tom retold.

Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission (Paperback) Ghost Soldiers: The Epic Account of World War II's Greatest Rescue Mission (Paperback)

Hampton Sides is a great writer, and this book is no exception। I was a little bothered with no footnotes in the book, but the notes in back assured me the documentation and research was legit. A harrowing, emotionally draining, ultimately rewarding true story of one of the most difficult episodes of WWII.

Beginner's Greek : A Novel (Hardcover) Beginner's Greek : A Novel (Hardcover)
This book is a light romance, but well-written। A debut novel, but a great read throughout. As I was finishing the book about "love at first sight," a friend I trade books with approached me. I was asked by the book and am sure had a big goofy grin on my face. I gave it up, and this is one I'll be sharing with others too.

The Jump-Off Creek (Paperback) The Jump-Off Creek (Paperback)
Molly Gloss is rapidly becoming one of my favorite living writers-I'd equate her to Haruf, probably। This book, a tale of a widower who settled a neglected homestead in a remote part of Oregon sticks with you. Although Hearts of horses is probably a better written book, this book is worth the read. Towards the end of the book, I flipped to Gloss's bio and found a kindred spirit when she said she admitted to find a shamefaced love in westerns and especially the tough women in L'Amour's novels.

Contract With God (Paperback) Contract With God (Paperback)
The stories and images are powerful।

Road to Perdition (Paperback) Road to Perdition (Paperback)
My neighborhood public library has a graphic novel section right by the front desk so I've been checking out a few graphic novels at a time। I really wish I would've read this before seeing the movie, but it still is a powerful book and the illustrations astound.

American Pastoral (Paperback) American Pastoral (Paperback)
Philip Roth's masterpiece. Not for the faint of heart.

Thunderhead (Mass Market Paperback) Thunderhead (Mass Market Paperback)
Nothing more than popcorn entertainment, but because skinwalker myth scares me like none other, it was intriguing. The story of a lost Anasazi colony.

Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began (Paperback) Maus II: A Survivor's Tale: And Here My Troubles Began (Paperback)
Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (Hardcover) Maus I: A Survivor's Tale: My Father Bleeds History (Hardcover)
The author of the Maus books uses cats, mice, dogs, frogs and pigs to retell the story of his father's imprisonment during World War II.

The Complete Persepolis (Paperback) The Complete Persepolis (Paperback)
Graphic novel by the author recounting her childhood and young adult years in Iran.

Princess Academy (Paperback) Princess Academy (Paperback)
Good, not great. The book fell flat.

The Blue Star: A Novel (Hardcover) The Blue Star: A Novel (Hardcover)
Not quite as good as Jim the Boy, but still a worthy sequel.

Jim the Boy: A Novel (Paperback) Jim the Boy: A Novel (Paperback)
A simple, spare book for all ages. The story of a 10 year old boy with no father during the Great Depression. One of the themes about family resonated with me.

The Book of the Dead (Diogenes Trilogy, Book 3) The Book of the Dead (Diogenes Trilogy, Book 3)
I loathe Dan Brown, but I had fun reading this book. Normally I struggle with this genre, but this was a mindless page-turner.

Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen (Hardcover) Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen (Hardcover)
Julie, the author, decided to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child's, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in her tiny apartment in New York City. She does it, she learns life lessons.

March (Paperback) March (Paperback)
Normally sequels of beloved classics don't win Pulitzer Prizes. This one did however, and merits its own page on the shelf of great Civil War Literature. This book chronicles the story of the father of the March girls from Little Women and tells what happened to him during his year as a Chaplain during the War.

Assassination Vacation (Paperback) Assassination Vacation (Paperback)
Sarah Vowell rocks and is one of my favorite essayists. She's also very educational and you learn a lot about the assasinations of various U.S. Presidents by the time you finish this book.

The Hearts of Horses (Hardcover) The Hearts of Horses (Hardcover)
I adored this quiet, unassuming book about a young girl who rides into Eastern Oregon to break horses to saddle during WWI. The book's descriptions of the horses, the people in the county she encounters and befriends is priceless.

The Reader (Oprah's Book Club) The Reader (Oprah's Book Club)
This book recently came out as a movie and tells the story of a young boy who embarks on an affair with a woman who has a secret.

Goodnight, Nebraska (Paperback) Goodnight, Nebraska (Paperback)
Reminds me a lot of Haruf--The first 50 pages are set in Salt Lake which was fun to read. The book is more or less about loneliness in small town America.

The Street (Beacon Paperback, 699) The Street (Beacon Paperback, 699)
The story of an African American woman who wants to give her young son a better life by leaving WWII Harlem. Poignant, straight forward, but the "street" is described in such a way that is almost suffocating to the reader. Petry writes in such a way that the reader experiences the desperation and hopelessness the protagonist and other characters feel.

Amended 11/08

This is one of those books that haunts you far beyond when you finish it. I still think back to this book in random conversations I have with people, when I am reading something else. This is one of those books that shapes your world-view. At least it has shaped mine.

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (Mass Market Paperback) Shopaholic Takes Manhattan (Mass Market Paperback)
Better than Confessions of a Shopaholic, but I would have never read these except for they were given to me.

Rhett Butler's People (Hardcover) Rhett Butler's People (Hardcover)
I liked this book and it gave me an excuse to reread Gone with the Wind, one of my all-time favorite novels. Rhett Butler's People tells the story of Gone with the Wind (but starts before and ends after GWTW) from Rhett's point of view. The author does a good job actually of retelling a timeless, beloved story.

Child of God (Paperback) Child of God (Paperback)
The simple, spare prose is wonderful to read, but prepare yourself for this one. This book is just as affecting as McCarthy's later work.

Cat's Cradle (Paperback) Cat's Cradle (Paperback)

The Natural (Paperback) The Natural (Paperback)
This is the novel the Robert Redford movie is based on, the difference between the two is night and day however. The first 50 pages of this book is very similar to the movie and then the book veers off into a different story. Loved it.

The Tie That Binds (Paperback) The Tie That Binds
Kent Haruf has made a name for himself writing about characters in a fictional town in Eastern Colorado. These stories are haunting, especially this one about a former high school football star.

Where You Once Belonged (Paperback) Where You Once Belonged
Another Kent Haruf novel about how ties to a farm can destroy a family.

Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West (Paperback) Blood and Thunder: The Epic Story of Kit Carson and the Conquest of the American West (Paperback)
Mesmerizing, well-told fascinating story of the Conquest of the American West.

Gone With The Wind (Paperback) Gone With The Wind (Paperback)
If you haven't read this story, please do.

The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn (Paperback) The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn
I reread this masterpiece while I was getting better from the flu/asthma complications last month and I was struck again about how brilliant this book is.

The Secret Life of Bees (Paperback) The Secret Life of Bees (Paperback)
Not brilliant, but decent.


Cindy said...

Good list. You've made me want to read Oliver Twist. I tried to read The Reader, but for some reason I couldn't do it. I saw the movie last night though and now my new slang for if a boy is too young for me to date is, "He can read to me though!"

Katz said...

Princess Academy is our book club read for this month. I'll let you know what I think.

Kristi said...

I still haven't finished Oliver Twist and I started it a year ago. It's a great book, I just keep setting it aside for other books. You strengthened my resolve to finish it.

Putz said...

show off,,,, that is probably reading for my last ten years

bookworm said...

Spot on with the Amelia Peabody novel. I'll have to see if I can pick it up from the library. There are also a few others from your list I might try. Hope you don't mind, I shared the link to this post with a friend from work. She's always looking for a good book.

Laura said...

That is NOT 2008 books! Pah! Trickster!

Lucy Stern said...

How long did it take you to read all of these books? I'm with the Putz...