To finish out the week I have a look at the monster collection of Best Book Lists being updated over at largehearted boy. It's amazing and more than a bit intimidating when you first gaze upon it's completeness. Some standouts for me are the many selections from The Telegraph, The Financial Times (which selects some children's books!), Times Online (more than a dozen different list subjects) and "Must Read Books of 2008" from the Utne Reader staff. This post is a killer resource - it's something I'm sure I'll be returning to again and again.
UPDATED: The Readergirz have put together a nice round-up of book lists that includes author E. Lockhart's buying ideas!
Direct links behind the cut.........
Largehearted Boy has the most complete post on best 2008 book lists you will ever find (plus one on best 2008 music as well). There are cookbooks from Epicurious, the National Outdoor Book Awards from Idaho State University, a list of favorite books from authors like Amy Sedaris and Elizabeth Gilbert at Paste magazine, and best mysteries from the Seattle Times. There are hundreds of links here - go forth and find books!
Steve Jenkins chimes in at I.N.K. with adult science titles that should be well received by teens and older.
Via Omnivoracious Dorie Greenspan provided a list of baking books which includes a field guide to cookies, and also Willi Galloway's gardening library which has everything from plots and plans to French Dirt: The Story of a Garden in the South of France.
The Globe and Mail looks at the best Canadian nonfiction for 2008 which includes among many many others a collection of Margaret Atwood's lectures and the fascinating sounding The Girl in Saskatoon by Sharon Butala described thusly:
Sharon Butala repaints the portrait of a murdered girl - someone she barely knew - in a landscape where even the details have faded. The town is Saskatoon in the 1950s, when Butala and Alexandra Wiwcharuk were in the same high school. It is a profound awakening as she tries to resurrect that life and that time in a meditation so hauntingly intense that it will touch and connect all those who read it.
Laini Taylor has a list of fairy tale retellings for teens that sound fab (and all have gorgeous covers too) (not that covers matter, but I'm just saying...).
Charlotte at Charlotte's Library leans more to the dark side with demon lover teen titles which includes Nancy Werlin's Impossible a book I must read because everyone else sure loves it.
Stephen King has ten favorites for the past year including Old Flames by Jack Ketchum which sounds pretty darn horrifying based on his recommendation: "Remember Glenn Close as the bunny-boiler scorned in Fatal Attraction? Raise that to the 10th power..."
Ed Champion, with whom I agree and disagree about books on a daily basis, loved NIcholson Baker's Human Smoke (ugh) and Samantha Hunt's Invention of Everything Else (yea). He also honorable mentions Jenny Davidson (huzzah!). Nice descriptions and links for many books in Ed's list and as he is one of the more well read folk on the internet, be sure to check him out.
Justine Larbalestier on YA reads she enjoyed this year and recommends for the holidays which includes this one: "Robin Wasserman Skinned. My favourite YA science fiction novel of the year. Philosophical and page turner-y at the same time. What does it mean to be human when your body is not your own? And how do you cope with high school when youâ€™ve gone from being Queen Bee to the loseriest loser ever?" Justine's readers all chime in as well (including me, of course!)
The Village Voice has Susan Orlean and a bunch of other authors chime in with favorite obscure books. Most unusual entry goes to The Great Gatsby in graphic novel form - with this caveat: "The characters are not humanâ€”they are strange creatures. Nick is some kind of tadpole/lizard/frog; Daisy is an exotic bird/cottonball; Gatsby is a seahorse. The drawings are sepia-toned, and set like photographs on black paper in an album. It is a marvelous reinterpretation of the book." (It's from Hannah Tinti)
The Journal of Mythic Arts from 2006 with four excellent mythic fiction recommendations for teens. I simply must read The Saskiad which Terri Windling describes thusly: "a funny, moving, vastly entertaining tale about a myth-obsessed teen protagonist (who reminds me, almost painfully, of many bright, book-obsessed fans of fantasy literature). Set on a commune in upstate New York, and among the eco-activists of Europe, it's the story of young Saskia who lives her live as though she's a hero straight out of a Greek epic. Marvelous!"
Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect has a post up of recommendations for readers and writers which includes notebooks, bookplates and even a literary umbrella. She also has a list from last month of books for kids who love animals. (This one is pretty much made for my son.) Steve Jenkins! Sneed Collard! Nic Bishop!
At The Happy Nappy Bookseller, Doret has a HUGE list of titles featuring African American characters. She has broken it down by age and also lists authors and illustrators so readers can easily keep track of their future publications. This is a really comprehensive post and quite impressive. Well done Doret!!!
And for the adults on your list who just can't let politics go after this amazing election season, Politico has asked their round table to recommend their favorite political titles. While several of them can't resist recommending their own books (and then try to be funny about it - how lame) there are a ton of books here from both the right and left. It's one of the longer, more comprehensive lists of this kind that I've seen. (With everything from Roosevelt and Lincoln to Bill McKibben and Tom Friedman, it's all here. Be sure to check out those recommended more than once - it might surprise you to see what's hot.)
Susan at Chicken Spaghetti is getting the job done so the rest of us don't have to worry about it - check out her continuously updated list of Best Books of 2008 lists for kids.
Little Wilow has a massive post of ideas for all kinds of readers and the intriguing idea of making a mix tape to accompany a literary gift (along with a link to her own playlists).
Sherry Early has updated her site with fiction and nonfiction pairs for kids; a very unique idea which includes everything from war to the circus.
NPR has a long list of recommendations from all sorts of literary folks including Bookslut's fab creator/editor, Jessa Crispin who looked at foreign fiction. Be sure to click on the links so you can read the reviews - and don't skip John McAlley's reviews of gift which are some amazing sounding titles.
While not literary, The Morning News has a list of "good gift games" that must be seen to be appreciated. I've never heard of any of these but games called "Airship" and "The Hanging Gardens" just sound too cool to pass-up. (There's a zombie game too if botany or aviation is too dull...:)
At the Scholastic blog 'Kid Lit Kit" there's some major love and a recommendation for The Hunger Games which includes a video well worth watching especially if you'd like to hear Suzanne Collins on what inspired the book.
Melissa Wyatt had a guest blogger at her lj who contributed a list of books specifically aimed at 8 - 12 year old boys. (It includes One Million Things, a book I thought was awesome!)
Over at the Semicolon blog, Sherry has a list comprised of titles for all kinds of kids including country music lovers, astronomers, and "preadolescent princesses" (that might be my new favorite category). She links to her own past reviews of the books in her list.
At the Reading Tub there's an ongoing list that starts with infant to age three and will go up from there. It's especially nice to see books for the wee ones - an age group where many folks think all books are equal and really, I can't stress enough how NOT true that is!
At lectitans, Kimberly is doing something pretty unique. She is posting lists of books that she would buy for people in her life - and through those descriptions, I'm sure she will help others find some good ideas. Here's her first post, for her friend Alana who is a "big fan of things morbid, creepy, goth, and sort of old-worldy".
Sarah at The Reading Zone is going above and beyond most bloggers and has set up an entire blog for tween gift ideas. This is a really great idea (it links right off her site) and starts with sports titles for that age group.
Abby has a 12 Days post at her blog that will be updated daily. Her first post is "From book to screen" and includes movie/book packages for the very young up to teens. (This is nice for folks shopping for wee readers; usually you only see this sort of post for adults.)
Little Willow has bumped up her "if this then this" lists which are great for folks looking for books that are similar to a title already enjoyed by their favorite teen, middle school reader or elementary school age child. (Oh - and also suggested book sets for teens which is a great option for multiple books by different authors on a similar subject.)
Over at Ink Splot 26 (Scholastic's blog) they are running a week of recommendations starting with titles for "a very specific kind of reader: someone who doesnâ€™t just enjoy reading to find out what happens next, but who also really loves words and the fun of language." Check it out and stick around for what turns up there tomorrow.
Kelly Fineman has some books for all ages including short reviews of Lincoln Shot and Laurie Halse Anderson's Chains. She has also compiled a list of books for the very young which includes Wabi Sabi - a book that just makes me happy.
At Proper Noun Mindy took Pam's book/gift idea and ran with it to an interesting place (book and sandwich - no lie!).
And speaking of Pam, at Mother Reader she has a great list of books and cool things to combine with them that makes the gift even more fun. (This list is from last year but I've ever hopeful that there will be a 2008 incarnation as well.) UPDATED: Pam heard my plea and is updating her list for 2008! Be sure to check it out.
Liz would like everyone to consider non-2008 titles (what a concept) and has an ongoing list of suggestions at A Chair, a Fireplace and a Tea Cozy.