Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Year End Book List

Most of these were published in the last year or so. A couple are older but were new to me. These are not in any order nor did I limit it to a certain number of books. I went over my list of books I read in 2008 and these were the ones that stood out. If I finish it before 2009 I would also add my current read: "American Lion" by Jon Meacham. It's the story of Andrew Jackson's years in the White House.

The Dragons of Babel by Michael Swanwick: the second novel by Swanwick set in his world of Faery. A modern version of the faery world where characters speak like modern Americans and fairy tale characters at the same time. I don't know how he does it but it's amazing to read it.

The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeffrey Toobin: A fantastically written account of how the current Supreme Court lineup came to come together with some nice history of the court thrown in. I'm probably naive for being surprised by how much politics is involved in this institution.

Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker: One of the more eye-opening books about World War II I have have ever read. It's what we need occasionally, a reminder that history is not preordained.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow: A young adult SF novel in the vein of the classic YA stuff by Heinlein and Asimov. Good science, good story and instructions on how to be an individual.

City of Thieves by David Benioff: An adventure novel set during the siege of Leningrad during World War II. The writing is so good that I was awed by his talent several times.

Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe: An older piece of SF that I learned about from Michal Swanwick's blog. It's set in the far future where super-science and a medieval society combine to make a fascinating world that is a pleasure to get lost in.

One Minute to Midnight by Michael Dobbs: The story of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It's scary and fascinating. It's a miracle we are all here right now. What impressed me the most was that the professionalism of the Soviet officers is a big reason this did not explode into World War III.

Driftless by David Rhodes: Another shockingly well written piece of fiction. It's about a small farming community in the midwest. That is all. It's enough. It's funny, deep and will break your heart. I can't recommend it enough.

Ghost Soldiers by Hampton Sides: Another older book. The story of a POW rescue operation in the Philipines during World War II. If you are looking for a great WWII adventure story and you haven't read this yet you are in for a treat.

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