On completing A Suitable Boy, (by Vikram Seth), one reviewer remarked that he felt as if he had left his good friends behind. I felt the same way about the following books in 2008:
1. Tum Tum and Nutmeg by Emily Bearn - The Child and I LOVED reading this tale of triumph over adversity at bedtime.
2. 26a by Diana Evans - A rich dark chocolate read interspersed with spicy bits of Africana and London-style humour. Looking forward to her next one.
3. Middlesex by Jeffery Eugenides - A HUGE contemporary novel that will push all your buttons. This epic combines history, medicine, religion, geography...did I already say history? This book was only ruined (for me) by the title. Sorry it made me think of the place. Oh and I heard that the author took many years to write this novel. I'm with you there Mr Eugenides.
4. A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah - This is a brave yet humbling account of a Sierra Leonian child soldier. That's what most of the reviews say. Too few of them give credit to the prose that is compelling and atmospheric in the way of other great African writers so that the reader experiences the sleep deprivation and fatigue that preceeds the author's descent into the horror of that war. The writer in me wonders what was edited out of the final manuscript.
5.Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - I enjoyed her first novel Purple Hibiscus and grabbed at this one to see if it could be its equal. It was even better. Set in the midst of the Biafran War this very important novel weaves love and loss and class and racism in a contemporary page turner that will educate as well as it entertains.
Ooops! One more...
6. Ways To Live Forever by Sally Nichols - I laughed and cried and laughed and cried. This book has won a shed-load of awards and rightly so. It's author is a WWer so even better. But seriously. This is a contemporary book aimed at young people that loads of old people should read. You know how they say books can lift the soul? Right here is one that does just that.
Happy reading for '09. I already have a list for the year but my top two are:
1. A Secret Alchemy by Emma Darwin (Another WWer but damn those people are great writers!)
2. What is the What by Dave Eggers (I know it's old but I have to read that book)