It’s December, officially List Season. Those long, all-encompassing ones are fun to bitch about and debate, but my favorite lists are short and specific. A short list demands more careful consideration on the part of the list-maker, and readers have a prayer of actually checking out most or all of its best-of books/films/what-have-you. Today Jessa Crispin (aka Bookslut, here for NPR) offers a concise and enticing list of best foreign (or non-American) fiction of 2008, with links to full reviews and excerpts. I, for one, am adding Metropole to my reading pile; Roberto Bolano’s books are already there, waiting for me to be less busy and more ambitious. Also for NPR, Alan Cheuse offers a list of the 2008 fiction he most enjoyed.
Readers, share your own lists of the five best books you’ve read this year. Feel free to define “best” however you like — and to include books published at any point (so long as you read them in 2008).
Here are my lists (note: quite a few of my friends and teachers published absolutely wonderful books in 2008, but since I can’t list them all, I’ll be fair and mention none of them here):
published in 2008
– The Good Thief by Hannah Tinti
– Dark Roots: Stories by Cate Kennedy
– The View from the Seventh Layer: Stories by Kevin Brockmeier
– You Must Be This Happy to Enter: Stories by Elizabeth Crane
– Away by Amy Bloom
published before 2008 (but read this year)
– Watchmen by Alan Moore
– The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
– Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
– Mrs. Bridge and Mr. Bridge by Evan O’Connell
– The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde