Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Sara Reyes | Search for the Best Books in 2008

December 6, 2008

Our book club assignment is to list the best book we’ve read in 2008 — so far — because one of our members is trying to put together a list to share at our annual Holiday tea next week. So everyone has put on their thinking caps. In some cases, those with tidy and ordered minds, they’ve pulled out reading journals to consult, who knew about such things? While others of us are just trying to remember what we read last week. It was almost amusing if not painful to watch reactions of members when assigned at the last book club. There was even a follow-up on-line note which is unfortunate because I missed the pained reactions of others. Ah well.

This week, I asked M how the list was going and she sighed…heavily…and told me she wasn’t very successful, not too many books were being forwarded to her. She reminded me that I hadn’t listed any either. So, I got to sigh in return. It got a little sad for a few moments. Then I confessed. I was one of those who “read so much I couldn’t remember anything except what I read in the past few weeks.” And I blamed my age as well. You know I was grasping there! It’s embarrassing to be part of a book club and not be able to name books off the top of one’s head.

Seriously, I’ve read some good books this year and some “other” books as in “not-so-good” but outstanding? Maybe my measurement is too high? A book to be outstanding has to be one I finish in one seating, no matter how long it takes, it has to be fast-paced, make me cry AND make me laugh. I have to be so enthused by it I annoy everyone for the next month about this “fabulous book I just read!” And yes, I have annoyed people in the past. I can tell from the glazed eyes. So, obviously, I know good books I just can’t remember one that got me in 2008. Sigh. I’m a failure and it’s sad to have to admit that to M. She has high expectations.

So, I thought I might cheat and ask readers to suggest books that were outstanding reads in 2008. Here are the rules (M did them so don’t blame me):

1. has to have been bought and read in 2008, so the copyright can be anywhere after September 2007. An arbitrary number, but as I said, M has rules. Mentioning that I did re-read LORD OF SCOUNDRELS by Loretta Chase one of my all-time favorite historicals since it was re-issued did not fly. Just warning you. I still think that rule is arbitrary since I can’t include my annual re-reads. Sigh. But I loved reading A SIMPLE GIFT by Karyn Witmer and MEMORY by Lois McMaster Bujold!

2. has to be available for sale by “ordinary” people. Another rule which limits me as I do get advanced copies of books and some of the ones in 2009 are going to be really terrific. And of course, when I have to make a list next December, I’ll have slept and forgotten the great books I read in 2008 which were really 2009 and, well, you see where I’m going…(Note to self, THE RED-HEADED STEP-CHILD by Jaye Wells is a keeper.)

3. has to be fiction. Sigh. So I read outside the genre and our book club is limited to just fiction books.

So if you have any books that follow the rules mentioned and you’d like to help me out, I’d be EVER SO GRATEFUL! Honest!

Sara Reyes
DFW Tea Readers

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