Friday, 19 December 2008

Favourite book of the year...?

Tonight was the opening night of the Chiselborough Christmas Cracker, our village show, and the Thomas family were in full force performing a version of the Four Yorkshiremen sketch, cleverly reworked by Our Vicar into the Four Clergyperson sketch. Much fun had all round. It's our third turn in Somerset - last year we played ourselves preparing for the sketch, in a postmodern turn which baffled most, and the year before we did a chat show, hosted by Our Vicar; my character was a Sound of Music obsessive who sang all his lines, Our Vicar's Wife was celebrity chef Smelia Dith, and The Carbon Copy had a phobia of rhyme. I do love villages.

The other challenge of the day has been compiling my favourite books of the year. I always look forward to this, and then find it incredibly difficult... my list might well be slightly different if I'd made it last week or last month, but
I've settled on my Top 15. I tried to make a Top 10, but couldn't bring myself to leave some out. Anyway, I'll keep that for a few days, because I've asked The Clan to each write something about their favourite book of the year. None of them keep a list of the books they read, like I do, but hopefully each will be able to drag into the depths of their minds for a special one this year... keep your eyes out for those.

So, for now, I open the floor to you - what's the best book you've read in 2008? Doesn't have to have been published this year, but preferably one you read for the first time this year. My end of year lists never include rereads or more than one book by any author... I look forward to hearing your choices, and reasons - and if you can link to a review on your own blog, if you have one, that would be great too! I might compile your lists in a future email.

16 comments:

  1. 'My Antonia' by Willa Cather, not only my favourite book of the year but one of my favourite books of all time. It was just beautiful; the writing, the language, the landscape just everything.

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  2. This is a frightfully difficult question -- I am about to start my own 2008 list so I'll probably change my mind soon but right now I'd have to vote for Sebastian Barry's A Long Long Way -- published in 2005, when it for some extraordinary reason failed to win the Booker, this is a truly remarkable book.

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  3. I think I read Rebecca this year. That's my winner.
    And then 'Abba's Child' by Brennan Manning, in the non-fiction category. Brilliant.

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  4. I was just talking about this on my new improved blog yesterday. Without doubt, the best book of the year for me was AN Wilson's 'The Victorians'. An absolute labour of love.

    http://feministbookworm.wordpress.com/2008/12/19/kirstys-books-of-2008/

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  5. I'm not sure I can narrow it down to one. Right now, my gut says Blindness by Jose Saramago (http://shelflove.wordpress.com/2008/11/10/blindness-review/), but The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox (http://shelflove.wordpress.com/2008/10/05/the-meaning-of-night-review/) would have to be a close second. I liked the two of these so much, but in completely different ways, that it's very difficult to choose between them!

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  6. The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry. Like poetry disguised as prose.

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  7. I'm not sure the Four Yorkshire men sketch can be bettered, but I hope you enjoyed trying Simon.

    I find it difficult to make even a best of '08 list, so one book is almost impossible! I think the novel would be A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy, short stories Dance of the happy shades by Alice Munro and non fiction My reading life by Bob Carr. But ask me another time and I'd have different answers.

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  8. Oh my, it's kind of hard to pick one book...I've read some great books this year but I think the one that stuck to me the most was The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

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  9. For me it has to be Ferney by James Long - so good I read it twice!

    Carol

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  10. Peter the Flautist20 December 2008 18:16

    "Second Harvest" by Jean Giono (pub 1930); fabulous, bleak, hopeful, poignant.

    Dark Puss

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  11. Undoubtly my choice is Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth. She is my find for 2008

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  12. My two outstanding contempory reads this year are Engleby by Sebastian Faulks (1) and The Road Home by Rose Tremain (2). Wonderful re-reads from the past include Barbara Pym's Quartet In Autumn and Mariana by Monica Dickens.

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  13. An outstanding book in any year - Geraldine Brooks's Year of Wonders. Anybody who likes historical fiction (or good fiction generally) will love it. A beautiful, brilliant book.
    My review of it is here:
    http://hawkinsbizarre.blogspot.com/2008/04/year-of-wonders.html

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  14. A toss-up for me between "Cultural Amnesia" by Clive James and "The Great War for Civilisation" by Robert Fisk. By the way, I'm another one of the "250 a year" mob, so I have a lot to choose from!

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  15. 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' by Khaled Hosseini. Odd, because I didn't like 'The Kite Runner'

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  16. I don't know if I could actually narrow it down to one. My favourite non-fiction was Old Books, Rare Friends, by Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine B. Stern, but the fewest I can narrow it down to for fiction is three--Grendel by John Gardner, Storming Heaven by Denise Giardina, and The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice. My full favourite books list is here

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