December 24th, 2008 at 8:00 am
Of the fifty-six books I read in 2008, most were really good.
Unlike the Establishment of book reviewers snuggly embedded in their ivory towers with snacks and stacks of free Advanced Reader Copies from the finest of New York’s publishers, the rest of us must seek entertainment, knowledge, and enlightenment in the half-off bins and bargain sales and paperback shops.
I cannot provide a list of the best, “must-read” books of 2008, because most of the books I read in 2008 were not published in 2008. But for all of you with The Cause, recklessly plundering half-off bins, bargain sales, and paperback shops, may this list provide a humble glimpse into all the good reading Out There.
Good writing is timeless, never bound to an arbitrary year. Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer, Franz Kafka’s The Castle, and Hunter S. Thompson’s Fear and Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 provided some of my most enjoyable reading experiences of 2008.
The non-fiction books consumed in 2008 provided stirring perspectives for making sense of our world and the people who tend to inhabit it:
Ultimately, 2008 was a year of superb novel reading. However incisive and relevant non-fiction books may be, it is always the novel that manages to grasp and expose those nebulous, ill-defined aspects of life that make it so horrifying and magnificent:
“Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking.”
- Albert Einstein