I won’t try for any top 5/10 of the year, since it’s more fun to think of books that fit “best of” in really random categories. I’m leaving a lot of really fantastic things off the list, “whether from forgetfulness or the multitude of names” (as they say in the prayer book), but these constitute a portion of my favorites. My complete 2008 list is here, and I think I have comments/reviews for damn near everything on Goodreads.
Best audio book: a tie between Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus trilogy and M.T. Anderson’s The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, both of which were brough to life by the readings in ways I didn’t anticipate.
Best eye-roller: sorry, Stephenie Meyer – even your drama-laden series can’t top Jennifer Donnelly’s The Winter Rose, which wins because not only is it an eye-roller and impossible to put down, but it actually has this thing called likeable characters.
Best gripping story: in the adult category, Mary Doria Russell takes honors for The Sparrow. For YA, Patrick Ness’ The Knife of Never Letting Go, if only for that last chapter.
Favorite fantasy landscape: Elizabeth Knox’s Dreamhunter and Dreamquake – such an incredible sense of place, both in the “real world” and in the Place.
Book most helped by TV viewing: Robert Graves’ I, Claudius, where remembering characters from “Rome” actually helped a lot in keeping all the relationships straight.
Still making me laugh: The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex – even before Kitri gave me a Koobish t-shirt for Christmas.
Series I can’t wait to reread (historical fiction): Elizabeth E. Wein’s books, starting with The Winter Prince and ending (so far) with The Lion Hunter books.
Series I can’t wait to reread (realistic fiction): Ellen Emerson White’s series about Meg Powers, starting with The President’s Daughter.
Series I can’t believe I waited so long to reread: Elizabeth Peters’ Vicky Bliss books – sure, I’ve reread them before, but the release of a new one gave me a good excuse.
Best use of a fairy tale: Margo Lanagan’s Tender Morsels.
Best use of the English language: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves. Sweet mercy in a firkin!