Monday, January 05, 2009

Reading Recap: 2008

OK - I've been a lousy blogger lately.  I've just been busy organizing my life for 2009 - and that's a good thing right?  Everyone deserves a little vacation!
Since it's now officially 2009, I'd like to re-cap my oh-so-important 2008 reading.  I know you're all waiting anxiously for my thoughts since there aren't enough top 10 book lists.  Drum roll please ...last year, I read a whopping 113 books.  Before you get too impressed, I read TONS of really short young adult books that only take a few hours to get through.  Plus, I spent a lot of time on planes, in airports and in hotels, traveling for work (and some fun)!  

I know what you're thinking, but I swear I have a fabulous life! I spend time with people I care about.  I volunteer.  I work full-time.  I work out.  I belly dance.  I even have a very nice young gentleman caller.  (Sorry - I've been reading a lot of historical romances.)  I just have always made time to read because it's something I find relaxing and enjoyable.  I read when I'm drying my hair and before I go to sleep at night.  Plus, I always carry a book with me in case I'm stuck in a waiting room somewhere.

All that explanation aside, here are the top 10 books I read in 2008.  (They weren't necessarily written in 2008!)  If you want to share some of your faves, leave a comment!

Top 10 Books I Read in 2008

Reviews were mixed on this one, but I really liked it.  (Of course, I'm a bit fascinated with the whole 'Salem witch trial' thing, so the setting especially appealed to me.) The heroine was spunky (yet crazy). Also, I didn't figure out the uber-important plot twist until the very last chapter.  That automatically earns a great review from me!

I swear I didn't pick this one because the author's name is Laura.  (Although I'm all about spreading the Laura love around the globe - need a girl name for a baby?  Try Laura - it's enjoyable and fun for all.)  All joking aside, this book was a creepy thriller that left my mouth hanging open at the end. I couldn't put it down!

This one reminded me just how much I love young adult fiction  (Sweet Valley High aside.)  I zipped through this book (the first in the series) and immediately devoured the remaining three.  Plus, it introduced me to some cool new futuristic teen lingo like pretty-making, bubbly, icy, crumbly, and more. 

Not to be one of those weird Twilight obsessed gals, but I really enjoyed this year's addition to the pentalogy (I remembered the word, Ben!)   I was disappointed that Facebook spoiled the ending for me -- stupid user-generated flair --  however, I felt like this book got somewhere and provided closure. Good stuff!

This was one of those rare non-fiction books I actually enjoyed.  It made me laugh, think AND learn something - a terrific combination!  There were a couple of scenes that almost had me in tears - in a good way!

I finally got around to reading the grand-daddy of all vampire books.  It's the big kahuna for a reason...pure awesomeness! It took me awhile to get through because I wanted to savor every word.  Plus, it was a fun kind of scary -  I had to sleep with my lights on for a day but I still enjoyed it.

I've always had a soft spot for William Blake, so of course I loved this story about how Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience really came about.  Plus, I've loved every single Tracy Chevalier book I've ever read.  She has a great imagination and writes extraordinary characters.  

I absolutely hated this book when I first started reading it. For the first 100 pages, I bitched and complained and whined about how terrible it was.  However, when it picked up, it really picked up.  Yes, it's technically "science fiction," but it's really just an absolutely beautiful love story about loving people for who they are and not who you think they are.  

There's been a great deal of debate on the message boards about how unoriginal this book's plot is.  I say, who cares?  The book's great!  I couldn't put it down.  I kept apologizing to my family because I was completely immersed in it instead of wrapping presents/baking Christmas cookies like I should have been.  Beware - since this is the first in the series, it has a very abrupt ending!

OK- this was the last book I read in 2008 so I might still be basking in the afterglow.  However, I thought it was phenomenal.  A fast paced combination of  mystery/thriller/history - I couldn't put it down. (Notice a theme?)  Just ignore all the Swedeisms - I'm still not exactly sure what a kronor is - and the very last page (it was awful).  The rest of the book, however, is divine!


hillsideslide said...

hey there! been a while.... did you Happy New Year txt me? sometimes I get a txt from an Ohio phone that I don't recognize... could be ur bf's.

Hm, this is more of an email than a txt...

Anyway, the Year of Living Biblically author has a video on We watched it in Sunday School.

I'm interested by what people mean when they say they take the Bible LITERALLY. ...I am glad, though, that such folk seem to rarely get around to stoning anyone. So, I'm careful & try to keep it a learning conversation... don't want to accidentally drive someone to become a stickler about that "literal" thing.

Eljabo said...

No - I was a slacker with the Happy New Year texts!

But Happy New Year now!

I loved the YoLB book - but I was very disappointed when I heard the author interviewed on the radio. He had a high pitched, squeaky voice, which was not what I expected.

That's my whole beef with people who use the Bible to judge people or to provide support to their arguments. You either have to take the whole Bible literally or none of it literally - you don't get to pick and choose the parts you agree with.

Personally, I'm always surprised when people take the Bible literally. I don't think you're any less devout if you think it is divinely inspired. Although why are people always competing about how devout they are?

hillsideslide said...

Well then WHO IS TXTING ME? Yikes!

That's funny that you mentioned his voice... our Sunday Sch. teacher prefaced the vid with,"Now, this guy is a little annoying... but it's worth a listen."

Hey, pop over to my blog and read the thing about Happy Monkey... you should read his whole comment. it is fantastic.

BigMama said...

I loved Jacob's "Know It All" (my husband & I have been listening to the audio book in the car on trips to visit family), and I can't wait to read "Living Biblically." I think his pursuits are absolutely fascinating.

Some good books there and you WAY out-did me! I was excited to break over the 40 book barrier!

Eljabo said...

Seriously - I need to further qualify the number of books I read!

I read 5 Sweet Valley High books and 3 VC Andrews books. They are not exactly tough reads!

Plus, I read a slew of mysteries and romances, which tend to be shorter.

2008 was apparently NOT about challenging myself mentally!

Zach Doppelt said...

Hey Eljabo!

I caught your blog and thought I would comment as I am one who tends to take the bible at face value. I personally try to avoid describing my beliefs using the word "literal" as it has a lot of baggage. The better way to think of it is reading the Bible "plain and in context." If people do that, then they see that stoning was for a particular people at a particular time, whereas other principles are for all those who believe... The problem is not literal versus allegorical, the problem with those that are judgmental is that they often take things out of its context... in turn not taking it plain or literal at all! Sort of a paradox.
And, I agree with your qualm on the whole competition thing... it get's a little childish, doesn't it?

Hope no one "stones" me for my comments :) What do you guys think?

Eljabo said...

I don't know - I think there IS a problem between literal and allegorical. For instance, I personally believe evolution is valid science but I also don't think it dis-proves God in any way. I think you can have evolution and God and it's not a bad thing.

Yet, for some reason, many Christians have a problem with science - particularly evolution. And I guess if you believe the world was literally created in 7 days, that's where the disconnect comes from.

However, if you look at it as a divinely inspired story of how we came about that was written well before modern science existed there is no disconnect.

For example - that museum in Kentucky where they show dinosaurs and humans living together in prehistoric times. Didn't happen, per massive scientific evidence. It doesn't dis-prove God if dinosaurs came first - so why have a museum that perpetuates a lie?


Cauterize said...

Hey Eljabo... I'm with BigMama and recommending "The Know-it-all" since you liked "The Year of Living Biblically". I've read both, and I enjoyed both, but I'd have to say I liked Know-it-all a bit more. Happy New Year, keep reading!