There are just a couple things to mention before I get to my list.
First, of the 40 books I read in 2008, I'm only going to mention a handful -- I rather enjoyed pretty much every book I completely read last year -- there were a few I gave up on and didn't finish reading. I won't bother to mention those, since I suppose they disappointed me, but all 40 books I finished were good books -- otherwise I wouldn't have spent my time reading them.
Second, these aren't necessarily books that came out in 2008, but rather books I read in 2008. I'm a slow reader and don't often get around to books until a few years after they've been out. Similarly, I'm often privileged enough to get my hands on ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) of books that are forthcoming. So in at least one case of a book I read in 2008, it isn't being released until a few months into 2009.
That being said, here are my top ten picks from books I read in 2008.
- The Overlook - Michael Connelly
- House on Fire - Denis Hamill
- 20th Century Ghosts - Joe Hill
- In Tongues of the Dead - Brad Kelln
- Duma Key - Stephen King
- Ghost Road Blues - Jonathan Maberry
- Dance of Death - Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child
- The Killing Circle - Andrew Pyper
- The Jigsaw Man - Gord Rollo
- Wake - Robert J. Sawyer
I also didn't include the top non-fiction reads I enjoyed from the past year which would be Grown up Digital (Don Tapscott), Deep Economy (Bill McKibben), Talk to the Hand (Lynne Truss) and Raising Your Spirited Child (Mary Kurchinca).
Of course, I have to pause to mention a book that I didn't read in 2008 by which was released that year.
Sean Costello's Here After came out in the fall of 2008 and is one of the best thrillers I have ever read. I had the distinct pleasure of reading the first draft of this novel as Sean was writing it a couple of years ago -- that's why I was delighted to see it published in 2008 by Your Scrivener Press.
In 2007 the one novel I quite enjoyed repeatedly hand-selling at the bookstore was the Terry Fallis novel The Best Laid Plans (a hilarious and wonderfully written book with an Irving-like style of humour). There's always a distinct pleasure in hand-selling a book that helps a reader discover an author they perhaps haven't heard of -- Of course, Terry went on to win the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour for this novel, so it got harder and harder to introduce his book to folks who hadn't yet heard about him or already read the book.
In a similar fashion, in 2008 my favourite book to put into customers hands would definitely have to be Sean Costello's Here After.
I was delighted to have introduced Sean's writing to several thriller lovers who went on to become compelled to read every other one of his books in print. And along those lines, I was even priviledged enough to be able to, alongside author Susie Moloney, provide a blurb for the novel which was printed on the back cover of the book.
"In Here After Sean Costello grabs his readers with both hands; one closes deftly around the heart, offering a touching and devastating glimpse of the loss of a child; the other propels you on a breathless quest, sometimes eagerly, the way a child might lead a parent through a fairground—and sometimes with a startlingly quick chokehold on the windpipe."
—Mark Leslie, contributing author, Bluffs
In all, 2008 was a great year of reading for me and I'm definitely looking forward to the books I'll be reading (and have already read) in 2009. Lord knows the current "to read" pile is already a couple of feet high and I haven't even bought all the ones I'm quite thrilled to read next . . .