Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Top Fiction Books (2008)

1. The Irrestistable Inheritance of Wilberforce - Paul Torday. Engaging and fun, his previous book was Salmon Fishing in the Yemen. Review at SMH

2. Perelandra / Voyage to Venus - C.S. Lewis. Middle part of his Space Trilogy - outstanding - even the opening chapters as we find 'Lewis' drawn into Ransom's house are brilliant before the rest of the story kicks in. Helpfully aided by Pete Lowman's PhD at bethinking.org.
3. On Chesil Beach - Ian McEwan. Strangely moving novel about the pressures of social norms, about expectations and the pain of a relationship without any real intimacy and honesty. I also read his Amsterdam this year. Review. 
4. Frankenstein - Mary Shelleystill reading this but it's great. Figured I should get round to reading this - the author being a relative n'all. Having been studying Genesis all term I'm fascinated by the way this explores the themes of creator/created, the need for a bride, what happens whenman tries to become God, and how his own creation turns on him...
5. The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoevsky. Classic and very hard work. I'm only halfway through and I guess I move from thinking this isn't worth the effort to moments of awe at it's brilliance.
6. Vernon God Little - DBC Pierre. An unpleasant read but a good story well told, another that'd sat on my shelf for a while. Review
7. Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote. Beautiful, unlike my copy of the book which drowned whilst camping in May.
8. The Road - Cormac McCarthy. A bleak novel that you just have to keep reading - i imagine the forthcoming film will be worth watching.
9. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas - John Boyne. A moving story.

I've still not finished reading The Brothers Karamazov and it is my excuse for not having read 10 novels this year. Though it's ten if I count: Peter Morris by Daniel Szabo. I've been proof reading this first novel by a dear friend and former housemate over the last month or so. It's brilliant.

My 2007 Top Books. Timmy Brister collates lists by others.


  1. I'm trying to not comment on the wonderful Perelandra... oops. I was remarkably surprised by Frankenstein though, when I read it - like you because I thought I should. I expected a horror, and discovered an exploration of fallen humanity, creatureliness, etc. Marvellous!

  2. I can't believe I've not read it before - had a copy for ages. Really is a fascinating exploration of those issues. Only finished it this morning but I dare say it should be even closer to the top of my list really.

  3. (Sadly?) the French and German dept at Uni dictate my fiction reading lists each year.

    One brilliant book that you may have read but if not is well worth reading is the Shadow of the wind by Carl Ruiz Zafon. its brill.

  4. now that's a fantastic reading list! Look forward to hearing your musings in January! TBK is a beast isnt it! Sounds like I'd like this Speiss guy...you've spurred me to pick up crime and punishment again. I wonder how it compares with TBK in terms of resurrection (qua judgment).

    hey, enjoy your last childless christmas! Christophe

  5. Yeh I reckon you'd like Jurgen.

    Looking back on the list I have enjoyed fiction this year. Would be great to talk in January - I doubt I'll have finished TBK by then, going to have to re-read it. I think Natasha is doing the same, so we three could talk.