A very belated list, since we're two weeks into the new year already. But I've been running almost nonstop since January 1. We had a family wedding on the 3rd, flew back to Seattle late on the 4th, and had to plunge straight into work on the 5th. I've had two very busy weeks at work, but now I have a four-day weekend in front of me (I'm taking the 20th as a vacation day), so I finally have time to sit down to reflect on 2008 and plan for 2009.
Anyway, here are the books read in 2008 that made the strongest impression on me, in no particular order. Heavy on the nonfiction, and heavy on the Wellington:
Wellington: the Years of the Sword, by Elizabeth Longford. My favorite Wellington biography, and one of my favorite biographies, period. Longford doesn't adopt the reserved, critical distance of a more modern biographer, but her obvious affection for her subject doesn't blind her to his faults.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Epistolary novel set in the immediate aftermath of WWII--well-written, and a fun read.
Albion's Seed, by David Hackett Fisher. Gave me a new perspective on British and American history and culture.
Peter Wicked, by Broos Campbell. Another entry in my favorite Age of Sail series that no one has heard of.
No-Man's Lands, by Scott Huler. An adventurous traveler tries to follow in the footsteps of Odysseus.
Confederates in the Attic, by Tony Horwitz. Explores the living memory of the Civil War.
Rapture Ready, by Daniel Radosh. One of the best outsider views of evangelical culture I've read.
The Sharing Knife: Passage, by Lois McMaster Bujold. I love this world and this series, and I can't wait for the next installment.
A Soldier's Wife: Wellington's Marriage, by Joan Wilson. The sad story of two basically good people who were very bad together...with lots of wonderful detail on turn-of-the-nineteenth-century British aristocratic life for the researcher.
Napoleon and Wellington, by Andrew Roberts. Fascinating joint biography.