Looking back at 2008

2008 was a rather unusual year for me. I travelled to Europe. I quit my job. I moved in with my boyfriend. I moved to a new city. For most of the year I only worked for BlogHer (part-time). I went to PEI to visit family and to the BlogHer Boston conference. Then I started another part-time job at Overlay.TV in November. I've met a wonderful group of Ottawa-area people (mostly through Twitter).

It was a good year.

And of course I read books. While I could still probably add one more book to the list today as of writing this post I've read 106 books in 2008. Not bad.

My notable books for 2008 are:

Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. Excellent and kept me up at night. Every time I'm in a store and see a crank flashlight/radio I say that we need to buy one for when the moon gets knocked closer to the earth by an asteroid and ends life as we know it. (To date we do not own either a crank flashlight or radio. It seems that *someone* does not think this event is as likely as I do.)

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Stewart Lee. Awesome. Love, love, loved it. Smart kids. Adventure. Mysteries. Clues. Everything you want in a book and none of the kids was an annoying know-it-all like Encyclopedia Brown (not even Constance or Sticky).

I'd Tell You I Love You But Then I'd Have To Kill You by Ally Carter. I want to go to Gallagher Academy, the very top secret spy school for girls. They all speak multiple languages, have the best science labs and take classes like "undercover ops". Pure fun.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. The author created the most alluring world where our own world and magic overlap. It pulls you in and doesn't let you go until the last apple has been eaten. I don't know anyone who has read this book that doesn't want an apple tree.

Apples to Oysters by Margaret Webb. There's not a huge pile of food-lit out there that is Canadian so I gulped this one down happily. It felt me hungry for more.

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson. Jackson is an author who continues to surprise me with each book. I tend to think I know exactly where her books are going and then she whips something around the corner that knocks me off my feet.

My Most Excellent Year by Steve Kluger. Hands down one of the best books I read this year. I wanted his characters to be real people. If there was only one book I could tell people that they had to read it would be this one.

The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollen. I'll be the first to admit that it took me a looonnnggg time to get through the first section but after that it was smooth sailing. My boyfriend also read it. Since then we've had many discussions about high-fructose corn syrup.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It made me want to run away, buy a farm on a big piece of land and plant a huge garden. Totally not going to happen but hey, I can dream. The best part of dreaming? No actual weeding. Besides I'd totally kill the garden as I have a special talent for killing plants. Or keeping tomato plants alive that don't yield any tomatoes.

On Writing: A Memoir by Stephen King. The one and only book I have not blogged about anywhere this year but had great plans to do so. The irony does not escape me. Seriously one of the best books I've read on writing as a craft. Cannot recommend it enough. At some point I'll reread it and write about it properly but in the meantime go buy a copy. You'll want to keep it.

The President's Daughter Series by Ellen Emerson White. I cannot even tell you how thrilled I was that this series was republished. I love it. See reviews of the books here, here, here and here.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows. A popular book this year, and I know that not every one loved it, but I did. I've read a lot of books about WWII and it can be hard to find a fresh voice but this one brought that. It also informed people that the Channel Islands were occupied by the Nazi's in WWII, something that a lot of people did not necessarily know.

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins. Mostly notable because I was certain that I did not like Wilkie Collins. I strongly dislike The Moonstone and could not imagine liking anything he wrote. I was wrong. The Woman in White is very good.

It was a good reading year.