In what has become an annual rite, here is my list of books read in 2008, in the order of my having read them. I know the year is not over, but I won't finish Netherland by Joseph O'Neill until sometime in 2009. You are invited to share lists of your own, publicly or privately.
1. The Lay of the Land. Richard Ford. Fiction. I place it in the top ranks of any year. A journey through the modern American landscape, especially the interior landscape of the older American white male. Yes, he has a soul.
2. The Quick of It. Eamon Grennan. Poetry.
3. Born Standing Up. Steve Martin. Autobiography.
4. Returning to Earth. Jim Harrison. Fiction.
5. A Three Dog Life. Abigail Thomas. Memoir. (Yes, Mark Murphy, I would have added a hyphen to the title.)
6. What the Gospels Meant. Garry Wills. Nonfiction. Erudite and excellent. Readable.
7. Three Days to Never. Tim Powers. Fiction. (Powers is one of son's favorites.)
8. Then We Came to the End. Joshua Ferris. Fiction. Bought in paperback at a fine bookstore in Potsdam, Germany. Catch-22 goes to the office. A book about people losing their jobs, the right book at the right time, for me.
9. God's Secretaries: The Making of the King James Bible. Adam Nicolson. Nonfiction. Scholarly and hugely entertaining.
10. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Kate Di Camillo. Fiction. It can be rewarding to share reading with your children (which is also true for numbers 7 and 3; or with one's spouse, number 5).
11. The Unknown Terrorist. Richard Flanagan. Fiction.
12. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. Roddy Doyle. Fiction. Touching, and unbearably sad.
13. The Hidden Assassins. Robert Wilson. Fiction.
14. Once Upon a Fastball. Bob Mitchell. Fiction. Rewarding.
15. After Dark. Haruki Murakami. Fiction. Murakami. What else to say? (Read first by my daughter, who has become a fan.)
16. Skin Deep. E.M. Crane. Fiction.
17. Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive. Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, and Robert B. Cialdini. Nonfiction.
18. A Step From Death. Larry Woiwode. Memoir.
19. One Good Turn. Kate Atkinson. Fiction.
20. Supreme Courtship. Christopher Buckley. Fiction. I met his dad, William F. Buckley Jr., when "Christo" was around 12, at his home. He surely does not remember.
21. What Jesus Meant. Garry Wills. Again, Wills is so great. Unconventional and intelligent.
22. Holidays on Ice. David Sedaris. Fiction (some say nonfiction, but depends on the piece). Fresh after seeing him and meeting him at the Landmark Theatre, Syracuse. My kind of humor, for the most part.