The Multnomah Public Libarary (which I love very much) has an online feature which will automatically save to a list everything you have checked out. This is optional, to prevent the government from spying on us, and you can also remove books from your list if you’d like. I love lists so I chose to have my history saved to a list, and I can see that I checked out 38 books from the library last year. Some are computer books and travel books so they don’t really count as “reading”, and some I didn’t’ like and didn’t finish reading them. In all, I read 24 library books last year. I thought I’d put together a list of my 10 favorite, but I find that there are plenty that I liked okay, but only a few that I REALLY loved. And here they are. I am handicapped by the fact that as soon as I read one book, I mostly forget the last one I read, so it’s obvious from my descriptions that no one’s going to hire me as a book reviewer. Anyway, here are my 6 most favorite of 2008. They’re not in any sort of order except for The Ridiculous Race which was my most very favorite.

  1. The Ridiculous Race – Steve Hely and Vali Chandrasekaran – Non-fiction – These two guys decided to race each other around the world, using no airplanes. This is what first drew me to this book – I was just interested to see how they would get around the world. I love this book because it is very interesting – I learned a lot – but it is also very, very funny. I was laughing out loud almost every page.
  2. Rome 1960 – The Olympics that Changed the World – David Maraniss – Non-fiction – I read this during the Summer Olympics which led to a little confusion in my addled brain as I kept thinking that the Olympics I was watching on tv were in Rome and the ones I was reading about were in Beijing. It’s a fascinating book, full of interesting information about what was going on during the Olympics and in the world during 1960.
  3. When Will There Be Good News – Kate Atkinson – Fiction – Kate Atkinson is Scottish and writes literary mysteries. They’re good mysteries and even better characterization. She is one of my favorite writers (though I checked out her short stories from the library last year and found them too “clever”. I got through one and a half of them before returning the book.)
  4. The Genius – Jesse Kellerman – Fiction – This is characterized as a thriller by Publisher’s Weekly. I’d call it a mystery. It concerns an art dealer in New York and a 40-year-old unsolved murder. There is definitely a mystery here, but this was to me a book about family, and a very good one.
  5. The Reluctant Communist : My Desertion,Court-Martial and 40-year Imprisonment in North Korea – Charles Robert Jenkins with Jim Frederick – non-fiction. The subtitle says what the book is about, and I found it to be really interesting.
  6. The Old Silent – Martha Grimes – Fiction – Martha Grimes is an American mystery writer who writes novels set in England. Martha Grimes is my easy pleasure reading, and most excellent airplane reading. I bought two Martha Grimes novels for our recent Caribbean cruise – one for the flight to Florida and one for the flight back. (Very sadly, I packed the one for the flight back in my suitcase and then checked the suitcase.) My plan was to donate the first book to the ship’s library or something after I finished it, but I found I liked this one so much that I had to hold on to it (unfortunate since it’s a fat book.) All of Grimes’s novels involve some sort of precocious child and all are very humorous in places. This one had all that, but went deeper. It moved me, so I couldn’t just get rid of the book. Fair warning: I also found it fairly disturbing.