2008 Year in Review – Part 2 (Books)

Since I will be out of the country (and away from an internet connection) at the time the new year rolls in, I decided to start my “End of Year” reviews early. In this installment, I talk books from the past year…

For best results… read this post from the bottom up, to see how the year progressed…

Sue Grafton: F is for Fugitive –

Kate Mosse: Labyrinth – Good read. May take a little to get into, but (as a writer) liked looking at the characters in the alternating storylines and figuring out the past-present connections.

Pete McCarthey: McCarthey’s Bar – Not bad. A couple of places mentioned that I might like to check out. Nice text flavor, like listening in on a conversation.

Neil Gaiman: The Graveyard Book – Great. Easy read (but, it’s listed in the kids section, so I hope it would be) but bigger elements than one would expect.

T.C. Boyle: Tooth and Claw and other stories – Classic Boyle. Memorable images from individual stories; some are thicker in details than others when reading.

J.D. Salinger: Nine Stories – Meh. The stories were good, but I’m just not a fan of some of his style elements.

Tobias Wolff: The Night in Question: Stories – Not bad. There are a few “keepers” here, that I could see referencing for some of my own projects. Enough to make me want to look at some of his other works.

Clyde Edgerton: Lunch at the Piccadilly – Simplicity of style, with slice of life possibilities. A simple cast of characters, set in real-enough places.

Christopher Paolini: Eldest – Interesting twist in the series; much better (style) than the first book. Looking forward to seeing the rest of the series playing out.

Michael Crichton: Travels – Interesting accounts from some interesting expeditions. Saddened at his passing, but interested in seeking out some of the other (older) works… some of which were in my dad’s collection.

Steve Martin: Born Standing Up – Some of his movies (lately) may be seen as hit or miss, but his writing is always good.

Gregory Maguire: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister – A bit think in some sections (details), but creative enough for a good story. May read some of the other works, after getting through more of my current collection.

Sue Grafton: E is for Evidence – Never a problem with Grafton’s books, except I don’t want to get through the series too quickly.

Neil Gaiman: Neverwhere – The first Gaiman novel I have read. Interesting story twists, and an example of crossing real and not-quite real that has kicked around in some of my own ideas. I have the BBC series in my Netflix queue, just for fun.

Kate DiCamillo: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – A very short book, but with a nice emotional element.

Kevin Brockmeier: The Brief History of the Dead – Nice idea for the afterlife, and I liked the pacing/sequencing between “living” and “dead” worlds… but not a big fan of the ending… but it posed some possibly interesting questions…

Neil Gaiman: Smoke & Mirrors – Eclectic collection of stories, a couple of which I have already referenced or used for material for a short story. A definite keeper.

J.D. Salinger: Catcher in the Rye – Not a bad book, but I’m not a huge fan, either. It’s a stylistic thing, that I’m just not a fan of…

Sue Grafton: D is for Deadbeat – I like the books. There’s a predictability in the pacing (after reading a few in the series) that lends itself to study material. Something to look at to get a feel for writing in the genre.

Sheri Holman: The Dress Lodger* – I liked the story. The details, while very rich, tended to bog me down in some sections. Not an easy work to get back into if you have to put it down for a while.

John Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath – Interesting slice-of-life piece. Juggling the characters had to be an interesting feat when he was composing the work.

Mark Twain: The Adventures of Huck Finn – Colorful, and subtle. People get so caught up on what labels are used (remember, it was written in the late 1800’s, but set in the early 1800s), that they miss the bigger picture.

J.K. Rowling: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (reread) – It’s been a few years since I first read it, and I had forgotten some of the smaller details that hadn’t carried over to the film. I have an extra copy (a paperback) for plans to mark up the text, as an exercise in writing… And I may go back and reread the entire series to see how things were put together (reveals, etc.).

Imogen Edwards-Jones & Anonymous: Hotel Babylon – A nice “guilty-pleasure” read, especially with my past work experiences. I have the BBC series in my Netflix queue, and will be interested to see how the series was adapted…

Eric Clapton: Clapton: The Autobiography* – Interesting insight into the music world, and someone that I can appreciate, even though he is not a heavy-hitter in my music collection.

* – Books that were “carried over” from 2007.

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