Beaufort County Library's
Favorite Books of 2008
Here are some of the best books we read this year:
My favorite book this year was People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks. She is a wonderful writer who uses language beautifully. I liked the book because it was not only a very interesting and readable story (one of the main characters is a librarian), but it also taught me so much about the power of religion throughout history. I also learned about the preservation of books. The perfect book for a book person like me! The Bluffton Branch Book Club will be discussing this book on January 21.
This is women’s fiction at its best; when friends work together to solve each others problems. The characters are genuine and believable. The story has Southern humor, warmth, and true to life issues.
The great Sherlock Holmes, now a peaceful country bee-keeper, finds his retirement disrupted by the discovery of his first true intellectual equal-- Mary Russell, a 14-year-old Jewish girl, whose quick wits and courage come in handy when Mr. Holmes's past decides it's not quite done with him after all. The book is narrated by Mary Russell, an appealingly flawed young woman whose detailed and distinctive voice recreates her time period without losing the modern reader. Laurie King's Holmes is flawless, and his relationship with his young apprentice sensitively drawn. This book is the first in a series, of which Sir Arthur Conan Doyle could only be proud.
Kate doesn’t believe in nonsense like fairies, elves, and goblins-- which makes for quite a rude surprise when the Goblin King kidnaps her for his bride. An even bigger surprise follows when Kate finds herself the only one who can defeat an evil sorcerer and save the husband and kingdom she has so unwillingly adopted.
Furies of Calderon
takes place in a quasi-Roman society where everyone has a “fury,” a bonded elemental spirit—everyone except a teenaged boy named Tavi, who, after years of bullying for his “freak” status, wants only to be left alone. Instead, he ends up in a position to save the entire Realm from cannibalistic invaders—or fail, and watch them slaughter everyone in his valley. It’s a story full of culture clashes, unexpected romances, and enough swordfights and battle-sorcery to keep anyone happy.
20 years after college graduation, a group of former college friends are brought together by the accidental death of one of their number. Deciding to finish his last project, the group attempts a trip to build a school on a poverty-stricken island. They never arrive, but what is this place where they have they been shipwrecked together? There is serious food for thought in this allegorical novel.
I’d seen the film many times, and it’s on my top 10 list, but just had never gotten around to the book. Fortunately, our book club read it recently. Conroy is quite a wordsmith. Some passages are so beautifully poetic they illicit tears. The book is filled with stories of hope, failure, anguish, injustice, and again hope, and tells how a family that has endured much pain and hurt (so that they inflict it upon each other) can maintain love and respect for that same family and help heal the scars of darker times. The book has so many more stories than does the film, for obvious reasons (or the film would be 8 hours long!). There is always comic relief amidst the heavy themes of life among the Wingo family. If you’ve not taken the time to read the book, it’s never too late. I reads like it was written yesterday, and will give you a feeling of pride and appreciation for life in the Lowcountry. There is a new place in my heart for Pat Conroy.
Although this book is part of a series it can read and understood independently. Four of the book's character make a make life-fulfillment wish list of twenty wishes, some of which they start work upon immediately. It is an inspiring story that encouraged me to make my own list of twenty wishes. I think that anyone would benefit making such a list for themselves as well.
This book will transport you to the island of Moloka'i in Hawaii at the turn of the 20th century. Never before has a story based on such a horrible illness been told so beautifully, in an equally beautiful setting.
My fantastic book for 2008 was A New Earth
by Eckhart Tolle. Publisher Weekly said “According to Tolle, who assumes the role of narrator as well, humans are on the verge of creating a new world by a personal transformation that shifts our attention away from our ever-expanding egos.
A nameless girl who can talk to animals is captured, falls in love, and rescues a human cursed as a popular bear
After obtaining slippers from a dragon, a want to be dressmaker befriends and saves the dragons and her kingdom with the help of a prince
Harry Bernstein was 93 when he began writing the invisible wall
, which was his first book. It was published when Harry was 96, in 2007.
Set in pre World War 1, this heart wrenching story tells of the hardships, the poverty, and predjudice in the cobbled back streets of Northern England. It is a unforgettable story of hope, and survival. Mr. Bernstein has since written another book called, the dream
What this book does is sort of put current management theory on its head. Instead of hassling employees about improving their job performance by highlighting what they do not do very well, why not use each employee’s exceptional strengths to the fullest and downplay their weaknesses? This is a how-to book with six weeks of action exercises to uncover and let loose the individual strengths of all employees in order to create a happier, more productive workplace. In the end, everyone wins.
This is a heartbreaking, true account of a man who has a border collie to whom he is very attached. Unfortunately, the dog is aggressive toward certain people and is very unpredictable. The author tries every technique - from acupunture to sessions with a "dog soul retriever" - to no avail. This book is a real tear-jerker for dog lovers.
A book with strong plot and reflects on low country's characters. This is one you can't put down if you're a local!
This is Bolton’s debut novel, and she definitely has already learned well the art of telling a suspenseful story. Inspired by an ancient and macabre Shetland Islands (Scotland) legend, this part medical thriller and part detective thriller will keep the reader intently focused on the story and characters from the first paragraph to the surprising end.
Every American should read this book to get informed and engaged in the task at hand of saving our economy and our environment. It reads like a page-turner, entertaining and enlightening the reader along the way to global sustainability.
The story of four young people entwined in love relationships in Prague on the brink of the USSR's invasion of Czechoslovakia. It proves to be much more than this mere plot summary, for The Unbearable Lightness of Being is a deep philosophical dissertation on the human condition, on pain and joy and the full spectrum of emotions. Kundera's prose is highly poetic and he summarizes the ideas and beliefs of all the European thinkers before him with a language that never loses the emotional implications of his characters' interactions.
Fans of the Gilmore Girls
will feel right at home with these two novels by Marisa de los Santos. Full of wit, a charming love story, a budding mother-daughter friendship, and classic movie references, Love Walked In
, dramatically intertwines the lives of thirtysomething Cornelia Brown and thirteen year old Clare. As the novel draws to a close you will rush to grab the sequel, Belong to Me
to discover the next phase of their journey. Highly recommended for fans of Emily Giffin, Jane Green, and Jennifer Weiner.