December 26, 2008

The FIVE: Karen’s Top Books of 2008

Posted by at 6:30 am in Reads | Permalink

THE FIVEExcuse me, is my calendar lying or is it actually almost 2009? I just can't accept that the year is pretty much over! There's so much I wanted to accomplish: be healthier, do more personal writing, meet Zac Efron. Oh, well. At least I got a chance to read a bunch of fantastic new books!

For our final FIVE Listing of the year, we at The Splot are offering up our top books of 2008. Here's my list:

DISCLAIMER: These are my favorite new books from this year (as in, they came out in 2008), but I can't claim they're "the best." Unfortunately, I lack the superhuman power to read all the books that are published in any given year. So regard these as my personal picks — the five new books I enjoyed most in 2008:

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5. The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J. K. Rowling

You may remember that in a previous blog entry, I revealed I love Harry Potter so much that I sometimes hug a life-size cardboard cut-out of the boy wizard that stands in our offices. So you can imagine how glad I was to return to Harry's magical world through this book of fables. Like any good fan, I would have preferred to read a continuation of Harry's story, but hey — I'll take what I can get! Plus, I found Dumbledore's notes particularly delightful.

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4.
Swindle by Gordon Korman

Probably best known for his many series (On the Run, Dive, Everest, etc.), Korman also wrote this novel about Griffin, a kid who gets cheated out of a rare and extremely valuable baseball card by a pawn shop owner. Known as "the man with a plan," Griffin crafts the perfect scheme to steal back his card, and he recruits a team of kids based on the skills required to pull it off. I love a good heist movie, and reading this book was like watching the guys in Ocean's Eleven do their thing. I hear there's a sequel in the works — and I can't wait!

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3.
The 39 Clues Book 1: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

If you're a loyal reader of this blog or if you're, you know, not a total recluse, then I'm sure you've heard of The 39 Clues, Scholastic's multimedia adventure series. Even though the whole thing was very hush-hush before the release, I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of Book 1, and let me tell you, I did not want to put it down — and not just because I was afraid one of my co-workers might steal it!

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2. Inkdeath by Cornelia Funke

I worked on our STACKS site for Inkheart, and as a result, I spent so much time with Meggie, Mo, and Dustfinger that I got totally sick of them! So I have to admit that I avoided Inkspell when it first came out. But knowing that the trilogy was drawing to a close this year, I returned to the series and quickly remembered why I had loved it so much in the first place. At one point while I was reading Inkdeath, I got stuck alone in an elevator that stopped between floors. Normally I would have been impatient to escape, but not that day — I just pulled Inkdeath out of my bag and didn't even notice that I was in there for half an hour!

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1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Ages 12 and up)

This gripping story had me hooked from page 1, and when I reached the end, I couldn't help myself — I turned the book over and started again from the beginning. And I'm not the only one who loved it! The Hunger Games got a rave review from acclaimed author Stephen King. But the real indication of this book's power to please is the overwhelming excitement that I've heard from every single person I know who has read it. At one point I was in a perfectly civil meeting with Carly H., Carly M., Brandi, and Nancy and someone brought up The Hunger Games; all of sudden, we all just started yelling over each other in our fervor to talk about the book. Not to mention all the heated discussion I've seen on the Hunger Games message boards. But I guess we can all agree on one point: the only bad thing about The Hunger Games is having to wait for the sequel!

What about you? What are YOUR fave books from 2008?

— Karen, STACKS Staffer