I know, I know this is a little late, but I didn't start writing this awesome blog until a couple of days ago. Ergo, "Ten Best Books of 2008". Mind you this is a personal list. Feel free to argue all you want. The only requirement for the book to appear on this list is that, I, John Bradley, need to have read the book some time between July 15th, 2008 and July 15th, 2009. As you can see, fairly strict requirements.
In no particular order:
Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathon Stroud
The Golem's Eye by Jonathon Stroud
Ptolemy's Gate by Jonathon Stroud
All three of these titles are part of the Bartimaeus Trilogy. I loved these books. Great plot line. Awesome story arc across all three books. I really loved the writer's use of first person writing across several characters. This structure worked so well in getting inside of the characters.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Amazing! I love dystopian writing. 1984, Brave New World and We are some of my all time favorites and this one was right up there with these classics. That is saying a lot in my book. Keep up the great work Suzanne.
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
In the sci-fi/fantasy realm, this one grabbed me by the shirt collars and didn't let go until I had read the last page. This was my first intro to Sanderson and I was not prepared for his level of world building as well as just such awesome description. I am still trying to wipe the dirt off of my clothes.
The Giver by Lois Lowry
This one would also go in the dystopian category, I guess. I read this one thoroughly and enjoyed all of the beautiful symbology. I am glad that I am not in a world where everything is assigned to me. Tough freaking role.
Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury
I felt privileged in being able to read this October thriller. Bradbury is a master of mood. The man with the moving tattoos and the backwards carousel. Creepy. I still think about the imagery. What Bradbury nails the best, however, is the fear involved in growing up. It can be scary to be a kid and Bradbury handles the subject perfectly.
The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Loiuse Erdrich
What a beautiful novel, at the same time being one of the funniest books I have read in long time. The novel stretches a long period of time as well as a lot of odd, colorful characters: a nun that becomes a priest, Native Amercian lives (including their hilarious sex lives), and several other novel people. The best part of the book is the way it can move you right after making you laugh out loud.
The Prestige by Christopher Priest
Priest's book was made into one of my favorite movies directed by Christopher Nolan. As much as I loved the movie, I loved the book even more. Just plain fun! Can't wait to pick up another novel by this amazing writer.
Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
There are times when I want to just not be able to sleep because I am so terrified. Silence of the Lambs put me in that state several times. There is not creepier antagonist than Hannible Lecter. At a close second is Buffalo Bill. Two of the creepiest bad guys in the same book. This one has to be on the list.
The Handmaids Tale by Margaret Atwood
Hmm, I think I am seeing a trend in my reading. Dystopia! The Handmaids Tale again takes on an oppressive government that controls all aspects of it's peoples lives. Even the process of birth is taken away from it's citizens and given to a class of woman called handmaiden. The description of this fascist regime eerily rings true. The regime is a conservative movement taken to the extreme. What an awesome take on oppression. Hopefully, my country is not moving towards a similar fate.
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
This is a non-fiction book that answers the question about why some societies gain power and why others remain under the heel of those who have that power. Surprisingly, it has to do with Guns, Germs, and Steel. Very good anthropological reading. Highly recommended.
A few runners-up
Old Man's War by John Scalzi
Hocus Pocus by Kurt Vonnegut, RIP
Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safran Foer