My Book List, 2008

Note: I’ve moved my other book lists to my other blog. Just click on Reduction Physics in the blogroll on this one. I mean, if you are interested in what I”ve read since 2008!

For the past several years I’ve kept a list of what I read each year.  But I never share it with anyone, so this seems like a good place for it.  Here it is…to be updated frequently.

2008 Book List:  My goal is to read more non-fiction this year.


1.  Dragon Bones Lisa See   Fiction
Main character is Liu Hulan, an American educated Chinese woman who is Inspector of Security in modern day China, married to American Attorney, David Stark.  Their child has died, they are estranged.  Both sent to the Three Gorges to investigate a murder and the disappearance of many ancient Chinese relics from an archaeological dig.  Thriller, spellbinding.  See is incredible.

2.  The Secret Lives of the Sushi Club Christy Yorke    Fiction
One of a group of friends writes a best selling novel which reveals the secrets of the other group members.  Strife follows. Good.

3.  The Gate Francoise Bizot    Memoir
The memoir of a man who was held captive in a Cambodian camp at the beginning of the Khmer Rouge reign.  Poignant, beautifully written.

4.  No Plot? No Problem Chris Baty    Non-Fiction
NaNoWriMo manual.  Good advice, easy to read.

5.  The Mermaid Chair Sue Monk Kidd    Fiction
A woman returns to the island she grew up on to help her mother who has cut her finger off and learns a family secret.  Falls in love with a monk.

6.  The Book of Vices Peter Sagal    Non-Fiction
“Nasty things and how to do them.” NPR guy, who does “Wait!Wait! Don’t tell me.”  Pretty funny.

7.  The Mole People Jennifer Toth    Non-Fiction
Young woman researches the people who live under NYC, in the tunnels.  How did she have the nerve to go there? Great read.

8.  The Obedient Father Akhil Sharma    Fiction
Disgusting bureaucrat who molested his daughter when she was little.  She and her daughter now have to live with him, since her husband died.

9.  Bel Canto (x2)     Ann Patchett    Fiction
Opera Singer from US is taken hostage in a South American country along with a lot of others.  Interesting psych study.  I think this is a really good read, as well.

10.  A Great and Terrible Beauty Libba Bray    Fiction YA
Girls at a boarding school who are able to enter “The Realm”, a place of magic.  One of a trilogy.  A really good read!

11.  Any Bitter Thing Monica Wood.    Fiction
A woman is hit by a car and left for dead.  Opens the story of her childhood, raised by her uncle, a priest who is (unjustly) accused of molesting her.

12  Homesick Creek, Diane Hammond.    Fiction
Story of families in Oregon ~ one couple the man is troubled by memories of a dead younger sister, another couple the man is hiding his true relationship with a childhood friend.

13.  Pillars of the Earth Ken Follett    Fiction
Building of the Cathedral of Kingsbridge.  Page turner.  Enough said.

14.  Women and Money Suze Orman    Non-Fiction
Women and money – get your act together.

15. The Other Boleyn Girl Philippa Gregory    Historical Fiction
The story of Anne Boleyn and King Henry VIII.  Page Turner.

16.  The Street of a Thousand Blossoms Gail Tsukiyama    Historical Fiction
Japan at the time of Pearl Harbor, 1939; Sumo Wrestling, Noh mask making.  Beautifully written.

17.  A Girl’s Life Online Katie Tarbox    Memoir
A teenage girl meets a man online meets him and is molested.  Warning to other teens and parents.

18.  The Devil in the White City Erik Larson    Non-fiction
Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.  Building it & the crimes that took place in the city.  It took me a really long time to get through this one.  Actually, I probably won’t finish it.

19.  Useful Girl Marcus Stevens    Fiction
Teenage fiction: a girl whose mother has died goes to live with her father who is a road contractor.  They unearth bones of an Indian girl and the daughter becomes involved with a young Native American man.  Tragic.  Lots of time jumping.

20.  Flower Net Lisa See    Fiction
“Red Princess Mystery”  Good one!

21.  The Book of the Dead Patricia Cornwell    Fiction
Kay Scarpetta Mystery.  Page turner.

22.  The Fountainhead Ayn Rand    Fiction
It’s Ayn Rand…Hard to read but completely compelling.

23.  The Handyman Caroline See    Fiction
Guy graduates from UCLA with BFA, can’t figure out what to paint, so paints houses – seems to make things better for people. A good read.


24.  The Worst Thing I’ve Done Ursula Hegi    Fiction
Three people who have grown up together, two guys and a woman – woman marries one of them, he commits suicide, the other two have to figure out how to go on.

25.  The Summerhouse Jude Deveraux    Fiction
Three women meet for their birthday after nineteen years.   They had met at the DMV, and always remembered one another but didn’t really know each other well.  Interesting precept for a story.  It’s a good read.

26.  A Summer in the Country Marcia Willett    Fiction
A woman rents her cottages to guests.  It’s hard to predict what will happen when a random group of people come together.


28.  Prisoner in Tehran Marina Nemat    Memoir
True story of an Iranian woman’s imprisonment in Evit prison in Tehran during the 1980s.  Completely compelling – highly recommended.

29.  All of It (not by Jeannette Halen, author unknown Fiction
A PhD student in Religious studies goes to work in a halfway house for women.  She thinks she is there to do interviews for her dissertation, and it turns out very differently than she expects.  Very good.

30.  The Dive From Clausen’s Pier Ann Packer    Fiction
I couldn’t put this one down.  I read it in about a day and a half.  The story of a woman whose fiance dove into shallow water and broke his neck.  Their relationship had been faltering before the accident, and she had to deal with what to do afterward.

31.  The Interior Lisa See    Fiction
A “Red Princess” mystery – Maybe it’s the first one?  Not sure.  See is dependable.  Good, captivating story.

32.  Loving Frank Nancy Horan    Hx Fiction
The story of a love affair between Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah which scandalized society.  Closely tied with historical fact.  Hard to finish once I knew how it would end. (Because of course I Googled Mamah and Frank and read the Wikipedia entries while halfway through the book)

33.The Latehomecomer Kao Kalia Yang    Memoir
The story of the Hmong in Laos, Thailand and America – eloquent, so beautifully written.

34. Iran Awakening Siri Abadi (?)    Memoir
I read this for a book club, and it was not compelling to me.

35.  Between Two Worlds Nairob Salbi    Memoir
Memoir of a young woman who grew up in a family that was Saddam’s “friends.“  She started a NGO “Women to Women International..”


36.  Water for Elephants (X2)    Sara Gruen    Fiction
I chose this for the bookclub, and read it again.  It’s amazing.

37.  Middlesex (x2)    Jefferey Eugenides    Fiction
Bookclub read: second time.  Interesting look at hermaphroditism among other topics.

39.  Funny in Farsi Firoozeh Dumas   Memoir
This book is just not funny to me.  I fail to see the story, it seems kind of pointless – she seems to be just making fun of her family’s attempts to acculturate.   Actually, it made me mad, kind of.

40.  the not so big life Sarah Susanka    Non-fiction
Not so big house principles applied to living.  Kind of cultish, but I like it.

41.  Fieldwork Mischa Berlinski    Fiction
A guy and his girlfriend go to northern Thailand, where she teaches English.  He gets involved in a story of an anthropologist who “went native” (or tried to).  Very interesting.  I especially liked it because of references to the tribes I know of in Laos.

42.  A Fatal Waltz Tasha Alexander    Fiction
A suspense novel set in England and Vienna in 1891.

43.  Portrait of an Unknown Woman Vanora Bennett    Fiction
Historical Fiction about the family of Sir Thomas More as seen through the eyes of his daughter and painter Hans Holbein.  Good read.


44.  Love Walked In Marisa de los Santos    Fiction
I loved this book.  Loved it!!!

45.  Bangkok Haunts John Burdett    Fiction
Burdett writes a gritty detective thriller set in the brothels of Bangkok.  I love reading his work.  It’s kind of a guilty pleasure, because it’s such pulp fiction.

46.  The Forbidden by Beverly Lewis    Fiction
Novel set in the Amish community.  Confusing, but pretty good.

47.  Sweetness in the Belly Camilla Gibb    Fiction
I started listening to this book on CD in my car, but it was so good I decided I had to read it.  The time jumping became too confusing for listening, as well.  Muslims in Africa then London.  I loved it.


48.  T is for Trespass by Sue Grafton.  The latest ABC mystery doesn’t disappoint.  I call these Sunday afternoon TV books and I love to read one every so often.

OMG – I’ve gotten so far behind!  I know I will not remember every book I’ve forgotten to write down.  And many of them came from the public library which means they aren’t sitting around waiting for me to write them down.  But here are a few:

October, November:

49.  Run by Anne Patchett.  Outstanding.  Must read.

50.  Master of Ceremonies by David Henry Sterry.  Story of life as the Master of Ceremonies of Chippendales in NYC, the original one.

51.  Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs.  Enjoyable read.

52.  Rush Home Road by Lori Lansens, author of The Girls.  Fabulous.  Just read it.

I can’t believe I can only remember four books for September through November.  I’ve certainly read more than that since September.  I skipped the last book club book about Catholicism.  What else did I miss?  Maybe I’ll visit the library to see if I can see what else I read, or at least some of them.  Once I get a list going I’m anal about keeping it complete.  Does anyone care what I’ve read this year?  I didn’t think so.  Even so.  I like to keep track.

53.  The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls.  Horrific memoir of a childhood that I’d think would demolish a child.  Good read, makes you think about forgiveness.  As I read I couldn’t imagine being able to forgive her parents, yet she seems to do so.  I recommend it.

54.  Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer.  The story of an Iranian businessman who is taken into  custody for reasons he doesn’t know.  His wife’s efforts to get him released, the long time he spends in prison without charges. Sad, but a good book.

55. Mudbound by Hilary Jordan.  Excellent read.  I first heard a review of it on NPR, and I’m glad I read it.

December, 2008.

56. Rosie Dunnby Cecilia Ahern. Okay, this one would be perfectly fine to listen to in the car.  In fact I’d like to listen to it in the car.  I probably didnt’ need to read it though.  Her first book, P.S. I Love You was better I think, although it was a good car listen as well.  Fluffy but held my attention for both days it took to finish it.

57.  Big Cherry Holler by Adriana Trigiani.  This is a good read.  It is the second of about four about the same characters.  I think I listened to the first one.  This went fast, and was pretty absorbing. Trigiani always writes a good book.

58.  A Version of the Truth by Jennifer Kaufman and Karen Mack.  “The story of Carrie Shaw, an irrepressible young woman who reinvents herself.” (Who uses the word irrepressible besides book reviewers?)  It was pretty good while I was reading it, although I’m forgetting it pretty quickly now that I’m done.

59.  Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer.  That’s right – I’ve stepped into the addiction.  I read this as a book club selection, and have already bought the second in the series so it’ll be waiting when I finish this one.  Twilight is completely addicting, even if not terribly deep.

60.  New Moon, by Stephanie Meyer.  Second in the series of four down.  This one was even better I think than the first one.  It involved werewolves and a trip to Italy.  These books are impossible to put down, so I’ll try to borrow the last two in the series.

61.  Looking for Alaska, by John Green.  A YA novel set in a boarding school in Alabama.  When I began it, I thought it resembled “Catcher in the Rye.”  It quickly deviates from that course, and is a thoughtful, compelling read.  This was a gift from a young friend who is a prodigious reader.  Her taste in literature is impeccable – I loved this book!

62.  Literacy and Longing in L.A. by Jennnifer Kaufman and Karen Mack. Sort of a slow read, but pretty good.  It’s about a woman who, when feeling overwhelmed by life, shuts herself up in her (luxury) apartment and reads book after book.  Lots of literary references throughout the book.  It kind of hit home to me…note this was my 62nd book of the year.

63.  Songs Without Words by Ann Packer.  I like this author.  She keeps me reading.
I’ve begun my reading list for 2009 to my other blog.  Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll direct you there!


6 thoughts on “My Book List, 2008

  1. Bonnie says:

    Perfect timing. I am meeting with my book club next Thursday and I am borrowing your list if that’s okay?
    I have read some of your picks but many titles are new to me. Honestly, I am the worst when it comes to reading. Strange, I have always been a reader first now I’m a writer all the way and all public right here.

  2. Jo Hawke says:

    I can see by your reading list that you do not have small children running around your house. 😉 I’m always reading about four books, snatching pages here and there before they wake up, during naps, after they go to bed. And that’s in the summertime, when there’s no schoolwork to be done!

  3. lynnjake says:

    Glad to offer some books, Bonnie. My current fave is Love Walked In. I highly recommend it.
    Jo, you are so right. I don’t have little ones any more, and my granddaughter is used to me reading at night. I just need to read before I sleep, which takes me through a lot of books each year!

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