Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Favorite Books read in 2008

With 2008 over and 2009 starting, I figured I'd put together a few lists of favorites from the year. So, without further ado, here's a few of my favorite books read in 2008.

The Pale Blue Eye - Lois Bayard
I think this was probably my favorite read of 2008. Not being an avid reader of mystery, I can't say how well it compares to other mysteries or even to modern day "thriller" mysteries. But as a fan of Poe and of "darker" stories, this was a lot of fun. The mystery was well crafted and the writing was wonderful. I look forward to picking up more Bayard in the future.
My Review

The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
This is one of those classics I never knew much about. Somehow I missed reading it in Junior High or High School and was never really driven to read it elsewhere in my youth. Now that I've read it, I'm glad I did and I feel bad it took me so long to get to it. The story is real and fresh. It gives an interesting perspective on the life of a troubled teen. I really think this is something that should be read by most (all?) teens.
My Review

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
I'd heard a lot about this book before reading it. I'd actually purchased it when it first came out based on the word of mouth it was getting, but it still took me a year or more to finally read it. At first I thought the basic plot of the book would be trite or overdone and that the gimmicks used would seem lame after a while. I was pleasantly surprised as to just how rich and enticing this book was. The story had intriguing twists and depth I hadn't expected. I really enjoyed the characters and the actions of the novel. A great read.
My Review

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane - Kate Dicamillo
I'd seen this book sitting on the store shelves again and again and was continuously tempted to pick it up. Reading the synopsis always turned me off and I put it back down, thinking it would be too cheesy or sentimental. Finally I gave in and grabbed the book and pushed through it in an hour or so. It was a little sentimental but it was sentimental in a good way. It was a very cute story with a great narrative to engage children and provide some good thinking time afterwards. This is one of those books that I came away from with a "feel-good-feeling" and felt better for having read it. It's simple and light, yet has a good message behind it. I plan to read it with my kids at bedtime reading this year.
My Review

And there you have a couple of my favorite books read in the past year. Stay tuned for more faves from '08.


A Concerned Citizen said...

Thanks very much for your comment on my "Quote of the Day" post. I very much enjoyed perusing your recent posts. I read "The Pale Blue Eye" a couple years ago and really enjoyed it, although the scene where she attempted to swallow the heart was one of those moments when I had to suspend disbelief. I bought the book, which I just randomly happened upon in a quaint little bookstore in my neighborhood, and when I flipped to the back jacket I recognized the author. Turns out that Louis Bayard actually lives in my neighborhood, and I see him at the gym and at my favorite Vietnamese joint with some regularity. Once I stopped him at the gym to ask if he was the Pale Blue Eye guy (and I put it exactly like that!) -- he laughed and we had a quick chat. He seemed genuinely interested to know what I thought of the book, and the cover design. Very nice guy. He recently came out with a new book, another who-done-it, set in Paris I think, but I cannot remember the name of it right off hand.

Okie said...

That's a crazy cool coincidence. It's nice to find authors that are down to earth. I haven't had lengthy chats with authors, but in the couple I've interacted with, I've run into both "fake" and "real" and I much prefer the real. :)

I almost picked up his next book (Black Tower) for Christmas, but then decided I had too much on my shelf already. He's also got one based on a grown up "Tiny Tim", I think.

I definitely agree with the suspension of disbelief thing though...there were a couple of stretchers in there.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the comment you left on my blog.
Your list of books is quite interesting. The Pale Blue Eye sounds pretty good, so I'll try and pick that up next. As for The Catcher in the Rye, I must say that it's one of my least favorite books. The writing style didn't really appeal to me and the narrative couldn't hold my attention for long.

Okie said...

I'll be interested to hear how/if you like Pale Blue Eye. Based on people I've talked to, I think Catcher in the Rye is either a "take it" or "leave it" book. There doesn't seem to be much middle ground. There were definitely some things I didn't like and some passages I felt dragged, but generally, I liked it. But I do know others who think it's a waste of time to read. Just goes to show how books affect different people in different ways.