So far, I've been failing miserably in my personal reading this year. Several conversations with friends recently have me looking back on what I read last year. To the best of my recollection, this is an exhaustive list of what I read in 2008 (11 books) and a very short description and review of each.
Persuasion - Jane Austen (5 stars) (movie: 5 stars). Fiction. If you like Austen or good writing or British classics, or romance, you'll probably like this.
Life of Pi - Yann Martel (4 stars). Fiction. Unique. Fast read. Almost believable. Incredible.
Funny in Farsi - Firoozeh Dumas (4.5 stars). Memoir. Definitely funny. Each chapter stands alone. Easy read.
Omnivore's Dilemma - Michael Pollan (5 stars). Nonfiction. Second section (out of three) was my favorite. Everyone should read this book. Ever wonder where your food comes from? Find out.
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio - Terry Ryan (4 stars) (haven't seen the movie yet). Nonfiction. A woman's biography of her mother. If you like words, the fifties, or your mother, you might like this.
A Red State of Mind - Nancy French (3.5 stars). Nonfiction. A fun look at bi-partisan politics and American everyday life. Good writing but confusing timelining.
Twilight - Stephanie Meyer (3.5 stars) (movie: 2.5 stars). Fiction. Good page-turner. Meyer tells a good tale, but is definitely an amateur writer. If you are romantic, a teenager, or like romances or vampires, you'll probably like this one.
The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton (4.5 stars) (movie: 3.5 stars). Fiction. Classic coming-of-age story. Great writing, great characters, great storytelling. Timeless.
The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd (4 stars) (movie: 3.5 stars). Fiction. Beautiful writing and story, great characters. Complex story of love, guilt, self-worth, parents, civil rights, the 60s, sisterhood, etc. Strongly appealed to my feminist side.
The Year of Living Bibically - A.J. Jacobs (4.5 stars) Nonfiction. Okay, so I technically haven't actually finished this one. It was a fast read but about 2/3 into it I started my next bookclub book and got into too much holiday stuff and eventually just returned the book to its owner and vowed to buy my own. But I haven't yet. I'd recommend this book to anyone even remotely interested in religions. Highly entertaining and informative.
Black Like Me - John Howard Griffin (4 stars). Nonfiction. Fascinating story of a white man who dyes his skin black in 1959 and spends a couple months living as a black man in the south. Incredibly eye-opening. Well written look at a piece of U.S. history. He tells a tale no one else ever could, a tale everyone should read.