Best Reads of 2008

BM_bestreads2008.jpgLast week, it was with more than a shred of embarrassment and regret that I realized I had not read a single book all year (I’m afraid my perusal of The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, and In Style just doesn’t count). Reminded of my love of reading by Amy Bloom’s gritty and gripping Away (gifted to me by Jon), I was inspired to canvas some mama, Twitter, and Facebook peeps to create the unofficial Boston Mamas Best Reads of 2008 List. Enjoy, and please feel free to comment in with other recommendations, and/or grab the button code at the end of the post to share the link with friends!

+ + + + +

Notes: This list is not restricted to books published in 2008; I simply asked for favorite reads of the year. For the most part, I used Amazon’s categories – alphabetized below - to group the recommendations as logically as possible. Specific comments about a particular book are included in parentheses.

+ + + + +


  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (recommended by Erica as “life changing in terms of how I think about the food production and consumption at the macro level in this country, and at the micro level of my own family,” and also by Zanne)

  • Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster (recommended by Sarah as “HYSTERICAL”)

  • But Enough About Me by Jancee Dunn (recommended by Kristin)

  • Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (recommended by Mary, Suz, Erica, Zanne, & Jill)

  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (recommended by Jules, Zanne, & Jill)

  • The Tennis Partner by Abraham Verghese (recommended by Nicola as “a story of a resident and attending who become close friends and one has a serious substance abuse issue. Really well written.”)

  • Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang (recommended by Kristin)

    + + + + +


  • Inside Inside by James Lipton (recommended by Susan)

  • It Must've Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten (recommended by Kristin)

  • The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs (recommended by Katherine)

    + + + + +


  • 1776 by David McCullough (recommended by Sarah)

  • The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman (recommended by Rooney)

    + + + + +


  • A Little Love Story by Roland Merullo (recommended by Kate)

  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (recommended by Rhoda & Susan)

  • Away by Amy Bloom (recommended by Christine)

  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (recommended by Jules)

  • March by Geraldine Brooks (recommended by Rooney & Rhoda)

  • Mating by Norman Rush (recommended by Cynthia as “an all-time favorite”)

  • Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (recommended by Jules & Sharon)

  • Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie (recommended by Rhoda)

  • Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll (recommended by Cynthia as a “hilarious racy spoof on Jane Austen”)

  • Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (recommended by Laura)

  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See (recommended by Sarah)

  • The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho (recommended by Sharon)

  • The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein (recommended by Sharon)

  • The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon (recommended by Sharon & Rooney)

  • The Blackwater Lightship by Colm Toibin (recommended by Rooney)

  • The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (recommended by Kate as “particularly wonderful!”)

  • The Chelsea Whistle by Michelle Tea (recommended by Kristin: “local author from Chelsea who's gone pretty big time. It's her first crossover novel/memoir”)

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (recommended by Melissa: “Narrator as autistic teen. Remarkable”)

  • The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood (recommended by Kristen as “my book fave of all time”)

  • The Red Pony by John Steinbeck (recommended by Sharon)

  • The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski (recommended by Katherine)

  • The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (recommended by Cynthia as a “great novel”)

  • The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon (recommended by Rooney & Rhoda)

  • Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon (recommended by Rhoda)

  • Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks (recommended by Rooney & Rhoda)

  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (recommended Zanne & Rooney)

    + + + + +


  • A Perfect Start: Or Coping with the First Months of Parenthood by Christine & Peter Hill (recommended by Braden)

  • Perfect Madness: Motherhood in the Age of Anxiety by Judith Warner (recommended by Erica, in addition to Warner’s NYT parenting blog)

  • The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp (recommended by Braden)

  • Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp (recommended by Cynthia: “the techniques seem to really work”)

  • Mother on Fire: A True Motherf%#$@ Story About Parenting! by Sandra Tsing Loh (recommended by Kristin)

  • The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Self-Reliant Children by Wendy Mogel (recommended by Marya as “excellent”)

    + + + + +


  • A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle (recommended by Sharon)

  • The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (recommended by Sharon)

  • The Places That Scare You by Pema Chodron (recommended by Sharon)

  • The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (recommended by Sharon)

  • The Secret (recommended by Suz, who commented that this and Eat, Pray, Love “both offered some great tools and insight that comes from living in the moment, focusing your energy positively, the law of attraction, etc.”)

  • Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman (recommended by Sharon)

    + + + + +


  • The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan (recommended by Kristin & Erica)

    + + + + +


  • The Twilight series (books 1, 2, 3, and 4) by Stephenie Meyer (recommended by Jill & Susan)

    + + + + +

    If you'd like to share this list with friends, please forward the link or feel free to grab the button! Just copy and paste the below code into the desired location of your HTML:

    <a href="/2008/12/best_reads_of_2008.html"><img src="/buttons/BM_bestreads2008.jpg" border="0" alt="BM_bestreads2008.jpg"/></a>

    + + + + +

    And many, many thanks to the fantastic women who helped create this list!