It's that time of year for me! My year-end review for 2008:
books read: 60
biggest increases: children's fantasy, and non-fiction
challenges completed: 6
best reads of the year:
not in any particular order
Tamsin - Peter S. Beagle
Coraline - Neil Gaiman
Something Rotten - Jasper Fforde
The Woman in Black - Susan Hill
The Terror - Dan Simmons
The Night Country - Stewart O'Nan
Owls and Other Fantasies - Mary Oliver
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle
and my favourite book of 2008: Lonely Werewolf Girl by Martin Millar
I loved Lonely Werewolf Girl. Of all the books I read, it is the one that keeps coming into my mind, that I keep reliving parts of. The characters are vivid and funny and realistic and the family is dramatic and oh so real, the story is interesting and heart-breaking and affirming, just like life is. And it's about werewolves in the real world, a terrific urban fantasy. I will be rereading this one again soon, just so I can take my time with it this time, and savour it.
I do have to give an honourable mention to Birthday Letters by Ted Hughes. I am almost half-way through reading this collection of poems. The poems are so powerful with emotion, with love and pain, hate and joy, that it is a rollercoaster ride to read them, and I have to take it slowly. It's also an opening into how he saw Sylvia Plath, which brings her to life for the reader, too. Every poem is a revelation of his heart and soul. This is what poetry should be, though it doesn't make it light reading! I am lingering over phrases and words and images as Hughes presents his life with Sylvia, and what she was to him. As a poet myself, I recognize how these poems must have burst out of him, they had to be written, but at the same time they leave him so naked, that they must have been both painful and joyful to write. Anyone who says writing is easy, should try writing a poem or two about something that really hurts, or that the writer feels passion for, for in that passion is also life, or least that is what I'm finding. These poems are about passion, which isn't nice, but without which we could not live. At least, I wouldn't want to, and these poems are about living with that passion with another person. For just moments we get glimpses of Sylvia alive. I'm not a poetry critic, but from my humble perspective, these are poems that are about being alive, and are awesome for the energy and life that comes through them.
All in all, a successful year for me, I read as much as I have in previous years, so my next goal is to increase the numbers of books I read, as always! But to have that many favourite reads, makes it a really satisfying year for me for reading.
The challenges were fun, and certainly helped me read more widely - and add more books! - so I will be continuing with the ones I've already joined. I have to update the list on my sidebar and see what I want to join for this year. I'll write about Carl's sci fi experience later this weekend (click on the sidebar button), as well as Dewey's challenge hosted by Chris and Robin (same, sidebar is linked), and see what else is new and exciting for challenges this year. I am enjoying Becky's 42 science fiction challenge (also linked already),which I have already started on by watching the Dr Who special on New Year's Day in England!! 39 science fiction things to go!!
It's the weekend! Hurray! Happy reading everyone!!