Friday, January 2, 2009

Best of 2008

I started to think about all the books I have read and thought about this year. Here are my top picks for books and literary ideas.

Best Travel Writing: Lost on Planet China by J Maarten Troost. Funny, witty, engaging. It makes you think to yourself, "He's gone to China for me. Now I don't have to go." A great read before the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Best Fiction: Loving Frank by Nancy Horan. Fascinating Historical Fiction about the affair between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mama Borthwick around 1917. Well written, great story, tragic ending.

Best Non-fiction: Outliers by Malcom Gladwell. Mr. Gladwell is one of the most insightful writers out there. His essays and ideas are breathtaking. Outliers is probably the best of his three works. All of his stuff is marvelously readable and Mr. Gladwell is very likable. We should all be so skilled in translating ideas to thought and thought to prose on the page.

Best Early Review: They give me free books. I give them a free review. Bonk by Mary Roach. The curious history of how scientists study sex complete with cameras on the end of penises and MRI machines that study couples in coitus. The writer actually got her husband to join her in the machine. She took notes while the study was being done!

Best Memoir: The Church of 80% Sincerity by David Roche. I hope I can be this graceful in the wake of stunning misfortune and set back. Mr. Roche will help you find your blessings and your humanity.

Best Annual Literary Event: The Red Cross Book Fair. Held at the Monroe County Fairgrounds every October--it always feels like Christmas when you can buy a brand new favorite book for 50 cents.

Best Women's Literary Event: Women Writing for (a) Change Bloomington summer retreat at St. Mary of the Woods, Indiana.

I wanna be just like this writer when I grow up: Elizabeth Gilbert. We heard her speak. She is as beautiful a human being as she is a talented writer.

Best Book Related Website: Library Thing.

What were some of your favorite books or literary highlights this year? Favorite Blogs?

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