It's always hard for me to name my favorite books - rather like identifying the favored child -. while you may think of them that way, it just feels disloyal or wrong to say it out loud. Still, I did have some standouts in this last year and at this time of year I always find myself reflecting on what I did (and didn't) read over the course of the year. At a time when I didn't think I'd be able to read much at all (what with having a newborn and all) I still managed to read close to 50 books this year, fewer than my usual (especially when you consider quite a few of them were children's picture books leaving even fewer adult novels). Here are the standouts:
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
Non-fiction that inspired me to think more about our food and food sources. It even inspired me to try making my own cheese which wasn't nearly as hard as I thought!
Scientist in the Crib: What Early Learning Tells us About the Mind by Alison Gopnik, Andrew Meltzoff and Patricia Kuhl
I just found the research from these scientists to be fascinating. I'd never given much thought to language acquisition, but now that we're raising Peanut in a bilingual household, some of the relevant information was especially interesting to me. But beyond that, there's a lot of interesting stuff about how babies learn EVERYTHING.
Young Adult (As a YA librarian, I spent a lot of my time reading YA fiction. Hence the disproportionate number of YA titles!)
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
A coming of age story that reads a lot like "adult" fiction. How would your life be different if you had a special "grace" - the ability to kill?
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary Pearson
This novel addresses what it means to be human and tackles medical ethics as well - powerful ideas!
Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
Filled with references to music I never listened to much, the story manages to be heart-pounding and driven by the beat of the music and thrum of hormones and attraction.
Good as Lily by Derek Kirk Kim
Original graphic novel in which the protagonist learns from herself - her younger and older "selves" that is.
Children's Picture Books
Ellington Was Not a Street by Ntozake Shange
A great book for kids in elementary school (not just the wee ones), based on the author's experiences of the African-American community when she was child, filled with amazing illustrations by Kadir Nelson and poetry the likes of this:
"politics as necessary as collards
music even in our dreams"
Currently on the pile to kick off 2009:
The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz
The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher
An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
The Spellman Files by Lisa Lutz
And your favorite books from 2008?