The end of the year is drawing near so I suppose I should finish recapping my Favorite Books of 2008 before it is time to start on 2009's list. These last two were favorites for different reasons: one, because of its literary merit, and the other because of the effect it had on my feelings about the scientific, sociological and women's issues discussed after I'd read it. If you haven't noticed already, I mostly read fiction. I find it much more pleasurable to lose myself in character, time, and place than I do in facts, data, and non-fiction. Therefore, the one non-fiction book that graces this list does so for an important reason.
2. God of Animals by Aryn Kyle
*read in March of 2008*
This coming-of-age story is centered around twelve-year-old Alice who is growing up on her father's dilapidated horse farm in Colorado. The family is facing hard times so, to help make ends meet, Alice's father begins boarding horses for well-to-do clients. Alice's sister has run away to marry a rodeo star and her mother refuses to leave her bedroom. On her own, in a sense, Alice must figure out life and her approaching adolescence alone. I love reading great "first novels", especially those written by young people and this was definitely one of them. Alice is reminiscient in a way of To Kill a Mockingbird's Scout in that she has a childlike innocence but also possesses a great believable wisdom in her narration. The story is simple yet alluring. A sweet yet undoubtedly accomplished novel. Definitely try this one out if you want a great story that will echo in your mind for months to come.
1. Pretty is What Changes by Jessica Queller
*read in March 2008*
If you watch Gossip Girl you will be familiar with some of this author's work. She is a producer on the show and her former writing/producing credits include favorites of mine: Gilmore Girls and Felicity, among others. I originally picked up this book intending to flip through it and glean some inside tidbits about writing for teen dramas but I was almost immediately sucked in. The subject matter is understandably tough: as a young single woman Queller lost her mother to cancer and then tested positive for the breast cancer gene. Though there were a few fun stories about her job it is the honesty and simplicity with which Queller narrates the book makes it addicting. Once you're in it (if you're a woman, that is, and maybe even if you aren't) you discover the importance of this topic and are glad for the knowledge the book gives you. Queller addresses issues of beauty and womanhood and how it is defined and changes as well as the issue of science, DNA, and the role the gene test has in informing one of her destiny. Needless to say I pondered these topics myself long after I finished the last page. The book struck a chord with me and I've since given it to many to read.
Every woman must read this book!
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