Favourite book of the year…?

Tonight was the opening night of the Chiselborough Christmas Cracker, our village show, and the Thomas family were in full force performing a version of the Four Yorkshiremen sketch, cleverly reworked by Our Vicar into the Four Clergyperson sketch. Much fun had all round. It’s our third turn in Somerset – last year we played ourselves preparing for the sketch, in a postmodern turn which baffled most, and the year before we did a chat show, hosted by Our Vicar; my character was a Sound of Music obsessive who sang all his lines, Our Vicar’s Wife was celebrity chef Smelia Dith, and The Carbon Copy had a phobia of rhyme. I do love villages.

The other challenge of the day has been compiling my favourite books of the year. I always look forward to this, and then find it incredibly difficult… my list might well be slightly different if I’d made it last week or last month, but I’ve settled on my Top 15. I tried to make a Top 10, but couldn’t bring myself to leave some out. Anyway, I’ll keep that for a few days, because I’ve asked The Clan to each write something about their favourite book of the year. None of them keep a list of the books they read, like I do, but hopefully each will be able to drag into the depths of their minds for a special one this year… keep your eyes out for those.

So, for now, I open the floor to you – what’s the best book you’ve read in 2008? Doesn’t have to have been published this year, but preferably one you read for the first time this year. My end of year lists never include rereads or more than one book by any author… I look forward to hearing your choices, and reasons – and if you can link to a review on your own blog, if you have one, that would be great too! I might compile your lists in a future email.

16 thoughts on “Favourite book of the year…?

  • December 20, 2008 at 9:08 am

    ‘My Antonia’ by Willa Cather, not only my favourite book of the year but one of my favourite books of all time. It was just beautiful; the writing, the language, the landscape just everything.

  • December 20, 2008 at 10:12 am

    This is a frightfully difficult question — I am about to start my own 2008 list so I’ll probably change my mind soon but right now I’d have to vote for Sebastian Barry’s A Long Long Way — published in 2005, when it for some extraordinary reason failed to win the Booker, this is a truly remarkable book.

  • December 20, 2008 at 11:27 am

    I think I read Rebecca this year. That’s my winner.
    And then ‘Abba’s Child’ by Brennan Manning, in the non-fiction category. Brilliant.

  • December 20, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry. Like poetry disguised as prose.

  • December 20, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    I’m not sure the Four Yorkshire men sketch can be bettered, but I hope you enjoyed trying Simon.

    I find it difficult to make even a best of ’08 list, so one book is almost impossible! I think the novel would be A Pair of Blue Eyes by Thomas Hardy, short stories Dance of the happy shades by Alice Munro and non fiction My reading life by Bob Carr. But ask me another time and I’d have different answers.

  • December 20, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    For me it has to be Ferney by James Long – so good I read it twice!


  • December 20, 2008 at 6:16 pm

    “Second Harvest” by Jean Giono (pub 1930); fabulous, bleak, hopeful, poignant.

    Dark Puss

  • December 21, 2008 at 4:10 am

    Undoubtly my choice is Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth. She is my find for 2008

  • December 21, 2008 at 9:43 am

    My two outstanding contempory reads this year are Engleby by Sebastian Faulks (1) and The Road Home by Rose Tremain (2). Wonderful re-reads from the past include Barbara Pym’s Quartet In Autumn and Mariana by Monica Dickens.

  • December 22, 2008 at 12:01 am

    A toss-up for me between “Cultural Amnesia” by Clive James and “The Great War for Civilisation” by Robert Fisk. By the way, I’m another one of the “250 a year” mob, so I have a lot to choose from!

  • December 22, 2008 at 9:53 pm

    ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseini. Odd, because I didn’t like ‘The Kite Runner’

  • December 24, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    I don’t know if I could actually narrow it down to one. My favourite non-fiction was Old Books, Rare Friends, by Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine B. Stern, but the fewest I can narrow it down to for fiction is three–Grendel by John Gardner, Storming Heaven by Denise Giardina, and The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice. My full favourite books list is here

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