Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Books Read in 2008

Here's the list of books I've read in 2008, to the best of my memory. Favorites are marked with **.

The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff, my review here.

Angela's Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt. September book club selection, summary here.

The Birth House by Ami McKay. An interesting story of a young midwife in Nova Scotia in the early 20th century. The history seemed to be well researched, but some elements were a little too modern and politically correct, in my opinion.

The Black Tulip by Alexandre Dumas, my review here.

**The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak. One of my favorite books read this year - review here.

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L'Engle. This is the first in "The Crosswicks Journal" series of four books. It's truly a beautiful book. I'll post my favorite quotes soon.

Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. January book club selection, summary here.

**A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland Indiana by Haven Kimmel. I loved this memoir. It's laugh-out-loud funny and packed with great stories about family, small town life, and childhood. Here is my review of both Zippy and the second installment, She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana.

A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis. March book club selection, along with Two-Part Invention, summary here.

**Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry. November book club selection - book club summary here and my review here.

**How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill - both scholarly and very readable, even entertaining at times. I read this before I started Lines from the Page, but posted my favorite quotes here.

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson - this one just didn't have the charm of Gilead, in my opinion. In fact I found it more than a little odd and pointless.

A House Like a Lotus by Madeleine L'Engle. I read this in sixth grade, and I was apparently clueless to many of the nuances in this coming-of-age novel. That's a good thing. I'm not sure I'd want my daughter reading this when she's twelve. The story is well-written, but it deals with some pretty mature themes.

Impossible by Nancy Werlin, my review here.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. I didn't like this novel nearly so well as A Thousand Splendid Suns. The protagonist was a rich, spoiled brat, and though he did develop some character by the end of the novel, I wasn't impressed.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. February book club selection, summary here.

**Kristin Lavransdatter I: The Wreath by Sigrid Undset, translated by Tiina Nunnally.

**Kristin Lavransdatter II: The Wife by Sigrid Undset, translated by Tiina Nunnally.

**Kristin Lavransdatter III: The Cross by Sigrid Undset, translated by Tiina Nunnally.

La Reine Margot by Alexandre Dumas. October book club selection - book club summary here and my review here.

**Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier - January '09 book club selection, but I finished it early, my review here.

Revolution In World Missions by K. P. Yohannan. My review here.

**She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel. A sequal to A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland Indiana, both of which I reviewed here.

**The Summer of the Great-Grandmother by Madeleine L'Engle. Book 2 in "The Crosswicks Journal" series. This is a beautiful story about life, death, growing old, and family legacies. Favorite quotes coming soon.

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel by Diane Setterfield. April book club selection, summary here. Some of our book club members found parts of this book a little shocking, but I liked it for the mystery and suspense, as well as the literary bent to the story.

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini. This is a captivating and tragic story of two women in Afganistan. Highly recommended.

Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson. May book club selection. Although the writing style was a bit cumbersome, Greg Mortenson's story is both amazing and inspiring.

**Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage by Madeleine L'Engle. Book 4 in "The Crosswicks Journal" series. March book club selection. Another beautiful book by L'Engle that chronicles her 40 year marriage and the final months of dealing with her husband's cancer. Summary and favorite quotes here.

**The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer and Jessie Wise. A great resource for home schooling or enrichment in classical education. We're still in the preschool years, but I know I'll turn to this book again and again. I might even have to buy the revised, 10th anniversary edition, The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, which will be released next year, since I'm sure there will be updated curriculum and resource recommendations.

Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. I thought this historical novel about the plague in 17th century England would be interesting, but it seemed to have a modern interpretation. Personally, I like historical novels to be history, not just a shallow modern story of desire in a historical garb. I know the plague caused some to throw morality to the wind, but this novel didn't even give it that much rationale.


Carrie said...

Oh! You have read a great many that I haven't and have wanted to! The Birth House, The 19th Wife, A Circle of Quiet . . .

Looks like you had a ton of fun! Happy New Year to you! (Thanks for visiting my blog, btw.)

Beth F said...

There a few books here that I've been meaning to read. I'll have to come back and catch up on your reviews. Thanks for the list.

Anonymous said...

Kristin Lavransdatter is one of my favorite classics - I read part three at the beginning of the year, the other two last year.

I've had How the Irish Saved Civilization on my list forever - I need to get to it soon.

Sheila said...

Wow! I agree with so many of your reviews and your favourites! I think I better subscribe to your blog. :)