What are the best books you have read in 2008? And why do you like them?

Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 06:29 am
The book was dominated by Bronte's intelligence. Very few people in the history of the English speaking world must have had a facility with language equal to hers.
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Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 07:16 am
two recent reads that i quite enjoyed

American Gods and Anansi Boys both by Neil Gaiman


American Gods is a neat little fantasy that has the the old gods (norse, egyptian, african et al) threatening war against the new gods (basically technology)

the declining belief in the old gods threatens their existence and an all out confrontation is the seeming outcome, but things are not always what they seem, and lies and deception are often the currency of the gods


Anansi Boys is the story of one of the gods featured in previous book, after the death of Anansi, his son must come to grips with the fact that his father was a god, and that he has a half brother he's never met

part fantasy, part thriller, part family drama, fun stuff

Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 09:03 am
Hmmmm...I don't normally "do" fantasy...but American Gods looks kinda interesting.

Here's a book I enjoyed:

John Harding's "one Big Damn Puzzler".


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Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 10:37 am
I liked American Gods too!
I'll have to check out the other one.
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Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 10:46 am
I have just finished a book called Ship Fever by Andrea Barrett. It's a collection of Historical Fiction shorts. All the stories are set in the 19th century and revolve around the science being developed then. The title short is phenomenal.
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Reply Sun 7 Sep, 2008 11:55 am
I liked "Suite Francaise" The beginning was not that enticing, but once I read
further into it, I enjoyed the book very much.


From The Washington Post:
This extraordinary work of fiction about the German occupation of France is embedded in a real story as gripping and complex as the invented one. Composed in 1941-42 by an accomplished writer who had published several well-received novels, Suite Française, her last work, was written under the tremendous pressure of a constant danger that was to catch up with her and kill her before she had finished.
Irène Némirovsky was a Jewish, Russian immigrant from a wealthy family who had fled the Bolsheviks as a teenager. She spent her adult life in France, wrote in French but preserved the detachment and cool distance of the outsider. She and her husband were deported to Auschwitz in 1942, where he was gassed upon arrival and she died in the infirmary at the age of 39. Her manuscript, in minuscule and barely readable handwriting, was preserved by her daughters, who, ignorant of the fact that these notebooks contained a full-fledged masterpiece, left it unread until 60 years later. Once published, with an appendix that illuminates the circumstances of its origin and the author's plan for its completion, it quickly became a bestseller in France. It is hard to imagine a reader who will not be wholly engrossed and moved by this book.

Némirovsky's plan consisted of five parts. She completed only the first two before she was murdered. Yet they are not fragmentary; they read like polished novellas. The first, "Storm in June," gives us a cross section of the population during the initial exodus from the capital, when a battle for Paris was expected and people fled helter-skelter south, so that the roads were clogged with refugees of all classes. Némirovsky shows how much caste and money continued to matter, how the nation was not united in the face of danger and a common enemy. In her account, the well-to-do continue to be especially egotistical and petty. And yet a deep, unsentimental sympathy pervades this panorama. Looking up to the sky at enemy planes overhead, the refugees who have to sleep on the street or in their cars "lacked both courage and hope. This was how animals waited to die. It was the way fish caught in a net watch the shadow of the fisherman moving back and forth above them." I can't think of a more chilling and concise image to convey the helplessness of civilians in an air raid.

Not being French herself but steeped in French culture may have made it easier for Némirovsky to achieve her penetrating insights with Flaubertian objectivity. She gives us startling, steely etched sketches of both collaboration and resistance among people motivated by personal loyalties and grievances that date from before the war.
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