The Books I Read in 2008

Looking at this list, it doesn’t seem comprehensive. I’m sure there are books I left off this list, but I just can’t remember what they are. Nonetheless, here are the books I read in 2008. I decided not to rank them, as they are all worth reading. Some have better ideas than they do stories or characters (see Blasphemy), while others are beautifully written but don’t have too much of a story to tell (see The Story of Edgar Sawtelle).

One does stand above the rest, however, as a book that I tore through simply because of how good it was. The Middle of the Night, by St. Louis author Daniel Stolar, was the best book I read this year. Like several of the books on the list, it’s a collection of short stories (I really got into that format this year, both in terms of reading and writing). The stories are character driven, some uplifting, some heartbreaking. Stolar simply weaves a good tale. It seems that he hasn’t written–or published–since this book came out several years ago. I hope that changes soon. (As a sidenote, I sure wish he had a blog so I could see if this guy was writing again. I think it’s pretty standard now that all authors should have some form of electronic communication with their readers. I think some of them don’t realize how many fans they have out there. Just because your book doesn’t sell 100,000 copies the first month doesn’t mean it can’t gain popularity over time, and you need to keep open a chain of communication with readers so you can build on that popularity. I’m talking to you, Mr. Stolar, as well as Frederick Reiken, who has been silent for years.)

The List:

The Middle of the Night by Daniel Stolar

The Year of Living Biblically by AJ Jacobs
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau
The People of Sparks by Jeanne Duprau
Blasphemy by Douglas Preston
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wrobleski
The Boat by Nam Le
A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
Loveship, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Marriage by Alice Munro
The True Story of Hansel and Gretel by Louise Murphy
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai