Monday, January 05, 2009

Top Books of 2008

Yes! It is that self-indulgent time when we all get to post our "Best of the Year" awards. You may ask if I'm so cynical about it, then why do I participate. Well, I don't want to be left out! Actually, I am interested in promoting books I have read this year.

I kept a running list of what I read in '08, as I got tired of forgetting which books I had finished. I'm sure there are more prolific readers out there, but it was an impressive list for me (44 in all).
This is my best of for fiction. There was a non-fiction book that was my definite favorite of the year, but I'll hit that one on its own. It really can't be compared with fiction.

1. Less Than Dead by Tim Downs:
This was my first foray into Tim's "Bug Man" novels and I found a unique protagonist, a humorous yet suspenseful plot that kept me guessing until the end, and high quality writing. Tim Downs should be one of the top authors in the CBA, in my opinion. Why isn't he? Probably because he hasn't written a prairie/Amish romance yet, though if he wrote one, I'd read it!

2. Try Darkness by James Scott Bell:
Bell got me into the genre of legal fiction last year with his very good Try Dying, but the second book in the series was a shifty, funny, poignant, and thrilling ride through Los Angeles. Bell is another author that should have a higher standing in CBA. If you're missing his work, you're plain missing out.

3. Boo by Rene Gutteridge:
Boo is one of her earlier novels, and it kicks off a whole series based on the residents of Skary, Indiana, where the world's most beloved horror writer lives. The trouble is, he finds Jesus, and the man who made Skary scary no longer wants to write horror. What will the town do to survive? I've seen the novelist who can't write his usual stuff written a few different ways, but Gutteridge is such a talented humorist that her quirky characters drive along a great story and bring home some touching themes as well.

4. On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson:
This is classified as a young adult (YA) novel, but it was a delight for myself as well as my boys. Peterson is a singer/songwriter who's foray into story-telling is a natural. He crafts a slightly off-beat world with danger, humor, and toothy cows. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it twice, once by myself and again out loud to my boys (which was probably even more enjoyable). Any book that has a Nameless Evil (named Gnag the Nameless) is a winner in my eyes.

5. The Begotten by Lisa T. Bergren:
The Begotten is the opening book for her trilogy of The Gifted. It is a historical speculative fiction set in Italy of the 1300's. A long prophesied group are drawn together to use their spiritual gifts to help the people and draw the Church into renewal. Both politics in the Church and evil forces without threaten the ragtag Gifted. It paints a remarkable picture of historic Italy with a suspenseful plot and sympathetic characters. I enjoyed the whole series, but the first book was probably my favorite.

Other notables:
Adam by Ted Dekker
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Merciless by Robin Parrish

The Shadow and Night by Chris Walley
Whispers by Dean Koontz (an older Koontz-I asked for a recommended book from him, and mistook this book for Watchers- Whispers is grotesque and profane)

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