I can't quite call 2008 a slow reading year. I'm on pace to read 120 books or so, after all. (I'd consider any year I read less than a hundred books a bad year, since I'd have to be either too busy to read enough to make me happy or completely unable to find enough books worth finishing.) But so far this year has been about good books rather than great ones. Novels that pleasantly whiled away bus commutes but didn't linger in my mind afterward. Nonfiction that gave me interesting and/or useful information but didn't have that extra spark that made them excellent books as opposed to informative collections of facts. I did, however, on reviewing my blog posts find five books that stayed with me after I finished the last page.
A Soldier’s Wife: Wellington’s Marriage - Joan Wilson: This biography of a bad marriage between good people broke my heart and gave me a fascinating and intimate look at aristocratic British life 200 years ago--making it the rare book that spoke to both my heart and my head. This may say as much about my particular historical obsessions as the book itself, but it's the most moving book I've read all year.
Soldier's Heart - Elizabeth D. Samet: Memoir of a civilian English professor at West Point, and the book that convinced me I need to read War and Peace. (Which is now on my bookshelf awaiting the moment I'm ready to fit something so dauntingly LONG into my packed schedule.)
The Sharing Knife: Passage - Lois McMaster Bujold: Beautifully written romantic fantasy that balances the romance and fantasy better than anything else of its kind I’ve read.
Private Arrangements - Sherry Thomas: Not a perfect romance, but a fun, well-written one that’s renewed my willingness to give debut historical romances a chance.
Napoleon and Wellington - Andrew Roberts: Extremely readable dual biography.
We'll see how the second half of the year goes. I'm looking forward to reading the new Kushiel book soon, and there's also a new Temeraire book about to come out, though I'm going to delay reading that one for at least a few months. Even though my Napoleonic alternative history lacks dragons and has a different style and focus, I don't want to read something that close to my WIP while I'm deep in draft mode. Anyway, I still haven't read the newest Loretta Chase, and I'm probably going to try Bernard Cornwell's Arthurian and Saxon series this year, so I've got plenty to look forward to.