2008 Year In Review ~ Best Fiction Reads

Out of the 93 books that I have read in 2008, 69 of them have been fiction.  I read quite a bit of nonfiction as well, but there is something about fiction that manages to capture the essence of the unreal and the real that just keeps me coming back for more.  It’s always hard to come up with a best of list that’s comprehensive.  When I took a look at the books that I read last year,  they stand out for wildly different reasons.  Some were thought-provoking, some were heavy, and others were just plain fun. After 12 months, here’s what’s still buzzing in my brain and at the tip of my tongue.

  • Dating Da Vinci, by Malena Lott – (read my review) Sometimes a little unlikely, but still fun, this chick-lit  plus novel provided humor and deep thoughts on the topic of love all at the same.
  • The Five Lost Days, by William Petrick- (read my review) Intriguing read of drama and emotion set against the back drop of civil war, the
    beauty of the rainforest, and a culture that moves at a much different
    place and with different beliefs than the American filmmakers who have come to film a documentary on the last remaining curandero.
  • The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy – Confusing and complex. Told through the eyes of fraternal twins speaking their strange and beautiful language.  The pieces slowly rearrange themselves and fall into place in front of your eyes as this dark tale comes to its tragic conclusion.
  • The Heretic’s Daughter, by Kathleen Kent- Beautifully detailed and haunting story of a mother-daughter relationship set against the backdrop of the Salem Witch trials.
  • In The Woods, by Tana French- (read my review) Intense psychological thriller for the mystery and literary fiction lovers.
  • My Lady of Cleves, by Margaret Campbell Barnes- (read my review) Didn’t want to put it down. Henry VIII & Anne of Cleves.  Historical fiction at its best.
  • Pride & Prejudice, by Jane Austen- Timeless tale but also a witty and fun study of romance and the workings of 18th century British middle and upper class society.
  • Property, by Valerie Martin- I don’t know if I have ever run across a character who I have detested as much as Manon Gaudet (well, there is her husband too).  If you don’t mind your blood boiling for a good couple of hundred pages this is a great story about slavery and its brutal effects on the owner and the owned.
  • Recent History, by Anthony Giardina-  As he come of age in the early 1960’s Luca’s father mysteriously disappears from home and shows up across town living with another man.  Luca struggles to understand what it means about his father and then his own sexual identity.
  • Run, by Ann Patchett- Two boys are adopted into a loving family, what happens when a car accident threatens the happiness of them and their families.  Couldn’t put it down and didn’t want it to end.
  • The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Chandler Warner- (read my review) Fantastically implausible and super fun blast from the past.
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife, Audrey Niffenegger- Supposedly a love story across the times.  Of course I had a much different take on things.
  • The Wife, by Meg Wolitzer (my review)- Novel and character study of a wife finally looking to take back the power that
    she has been afraid to possess, and a character study of a marriage and how
    it grew and changed from the ‘60’s to the present day. A thought provoking and humorous read.

Other Year In Review Posts:


Unfinished Business

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  1. I haven’t read any of those, but 3 of them are in my TBR pile. It looks like I need to get to work. Happy New Year, Nicole! I love reading your reviews – keep up the good work.

  2. I loved The Heretic’s Daughter and A Short History of Tractors as well. I have always wanted to read The God of Small Things and I appreciate your comments. Great list!

  3. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian is a surprised delight for me. I picked up my friend’s copy at his dinner party in Hong Kong this spring and read it in a day. I also re-read Pride and Prejudice this year. Austen is always a vouchsafe good read.

  4. I enjoyed My Lady of Cleves, too, and want to re-read Brief Gaudy Hour about Anne Boleyn. Barnes was really good with historical characters.
    The God of Small Things still makes me sad when I think about it–very powerful little book.
    Liked The Time Traveler’s Wife. Loved In the Woods, Pride and Prejudice, The Boxcar Children!