Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sam's fave reads from 2008

These are my favorite reads from 2008 (although not all were published this year.. some I just finally got around to reading in 2008!) As you will see I'm what I call a "fluff" girl. I love a quick story with a happy ending... Enjoy my list! (and remember, it's never too late to buy a book for a holiday gift!)

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs Documents the author's quest to live one year in literal compliance with biblical rules, from being fruitful and multiplying to growing a beard and avoiding mixed-fiber clothing.

I'm not a Bible reader... never have been, never really will be, even though I'm a church goer and have done Bible studies; but this book was fascinating. It was poignant with some of the lessons the author learned about himself and his beliefs, but also had me laughing out loud at some of his "tasks"- like stoning an old man in Central Park for being an adulterer.

Eleanor vs. Ike: A Novel by Robin Gerber An alternate history tale that imagines what might have transpired had Eleanor Roosevelt run for president against Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952 traces the campaign in light of the unpopular Korean War, McCarthyism, and Roosevelt's chance encounter with five-year-old Hillary Rodham.

I love Eleanor and all she stood for. She's been a personal hero of mine for 20 years. I was moved to tears seeing her house in NY, so when I saw and ARC of this at a trade show I had to grab it. I'm so glad I did. I learned a lot about the lady, and was sucked into a great story that pulled very little punches in describing the political climate of the mid- 20th century, especially within the Democratic Party.

Norway to Hide: A Passport to Peril Mystery by Maddy Hunter Emily Andrews begins to expect the worst when her transgender ex-husband Jackie is assigned to be her roommate for her Scandinavian tour with her favorite Iowa senior citizens, Jackie's new novel raises the ire of an ardent critic who turns up dead, and Emily must track down a killer, all the while trying to salvage her upcoming nuptials from her mother's machinations.

I just love this series, and was sad to read this last one (although I'm hoping the series will continue!!!) This is the most laugh out loud cozy series I've read. The little old ladies and men are just a hoot. Having grown up in Europe and taking similar tours, I have a special fondness for Emily and her knack for getting into having trouble find her. Not a cozy series to be missed (you do have to read them in order though, to get the full effect of these whacky personalities!)

The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini I finally got around to starting this popular series... and I'm hooked. My favorites of the series are the ones that take place at the quilting camp.

Murder Is Binding by Lorna Barrett When fellow bookstore owner Doris Gleason is murdered, Tricia Miles discovers that someone wanted to get their hands on a rare cookbook in Doris's possession and that the locals believe that someone is her.
this by far was the best cozy series debut this year (at least in my humble cozy addicted opinion)... seriously what can be bad about a book that takes place in a town of indie bookstores????

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan An ecological and anthropological study of eating offers insight into food consumption in the twenty-first century, explaining how an abundance of unlimited food varieties reveals the responsibilities of everyday consumers to protect their health and the environment.
This one coupled with Kingsolver's "Animal Vegetable Miracle", which was on of my top picks in 2007, have changed our family's eating habits. We now shop at the local farmer's market for fresh produce (mostly organic), buy locally made freshly baked breads when possible, and have a grass fed pig sitting in our garage freezer... it really is a life changing book if you are up to the challenge...

Lady Flees Her Lord by Michele Ann Young Fleeing from an abusive marriage after failing to produce an heir, Lady Denbigh starts life anew posing as a poor window with a small daughter, but when Lord Hugo Wanstead goes in pursuit of her, Lady Denbigh fears losing everything that matters when their worlds collide once again
Hot guy, plump heroine, steamy love, Regency England.. sounds like perfection to me!

Some other picks I read this year that I couldn't put down:
Handbags and Homicide (A Haley Randolph Mystery) by Dorothy Howell
Used World by Haven Kimmel
The Lost Duke of Wyndham by Julia Quinn
Church of the Dog by Kaya McLaren
Murder With All The Trimmings by Elaine Viets
Eggs in Purgatory by Laura Childs

and some coming in early 2009 to keep an eye out for:
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
Addition by Toni Jordan
Barbie and Ruth by Robin Gerber


  1. Thank you so much for your kind words about Murder Is Binding! (And if you'd like bookmarks for the sequel, BOOKMARKED FOR DEATH, please let me know!)

    Lorna Barrett

  2. Thanks, Sam, for mentioning my Christmas mystery, MURDER WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS. Nothing like a cozy murder to get you through the holidays.
    Elaine Viets

  3. Thanks for this early holiday gift, sam! Eleanor vs. Ike was my first fiction, so it's sort of like my baby. (And I cry at Eleanor Roosevelt's house too!) Hope you enjoy Barbie and Ruth, the real story of another fascinating, and quite different, woman. best, Robin