Top Ten Best Books of 2008

I sent out an email to my 200+ coworkers that read “What were the ten best books you read in 2008?” The question is not what the best books were that came out this year, but rather, what were the best books you read during the year. Considering we have 4 offices, are an international company, and are notably an eclectic group, we got some great responses.

My favorite quotes from emails I received:
A Wolf at the Table: A Memoir of My Father by Augusten Burroughs
I bet I’m the ONLY person who read that one! :)”

Getting to Scale, Curious George, Cat in the Hat

“Here’s the list of ‘books I read in the past year, despite the fact that only one of them was either published or written in the past year’…”

“Sorry, I’m a loser and mostly only read instruction manuals.”

Without further ado…

Honorable Mention: High Fidelity by Nick Hornby, The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Cradle to Cradle
10. Cradle to Cradle

9. Pearls, Politics and Power

8. Twilight

The Road
7. The Road

Hot Flat
6. Hot, Flat and Crowded

A New Earth
5. A New Earth

Gods Behaving Badly
4. Gods Behaving Badly

3. Choke

2. Middlesex

Eat Pray Love
1. Eat Pray Love


  1. I’m disappointed…my book should have made the list. Muhammad Yunus is more deserving of this list than Stephanie Meyer…we’re a social enterprise! Who voted for the top 10?

  2. I forgot to submit my two… they are actually re-reads that I got around to this past year and are two of my favorite books of all time: Waugh’s _Brideshead Revisited_ and Rushdie’s _Haroun & the Sea of Stories_.

  3. I’m surprised Watchmen wasn’t on this list, seems like a lot of us at BWB were reading it! Maybe none of us responded to your e-mail (like me…)

    Ah, High Fidelity and Slaughterhouse Five – modern classics as far as I’m concerned. 🙂

  4. Paco I can’t release that information, sadly. I don’t want to see you attack any of your less-erudite coworkers 😛

    Rudy, did you watch the adaptation of BR? I heard mixed things but that the book was quite good.

    Nicole, two people in this office loved watchmen too, but alas, apparently all the readers were too busy to send me their Top 10’s 😛

  5. Pingback: Week in Review: January 5-9 | Better World Books Blog

  6. Twilight is by far the best of those books. yes, i know what your thinking. “She has to be a girl.” the only reason anybody would have to not like that book would be, one: they dont have a love, so they pick on the book because of how perfect Edward is. or two: they are a guy and just say its gay because they want girls to be like, “OMG SHUT UP”, and they will get attention.


  7. I read Eat, Pray, Love, and liked it, but would definitely NOT nominate it as the best book of the year. I read The Invisible Wall: A Love Story That Broke Barriers, by Harry Berstein, which was a fantastic memoir about growing up as a Jew on a religiously segregated street in England. I also loved and was inspired by Mountains Beyond Mountains: The
    Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World by Tracy Kidder. Turning to fiiction, I loved A Thread of Grace by Mary Doria Russell, a novel about occupied Italy during WWII. Another terrific book set in WWII, a YA novel, is The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. All of these books are better than Eat, Pray, Love.

  8. Someone just directed me to this and I feel very flattered. Thank you so much. But, readers: The Road is a *much* better book than Gods Behaving Badly. (Though slightly more depressing, I’ll grant you…)

  9. Marie, thank you so much for coming and checking us out! I tallied the votes and Gods Behaving Badly was certainly well loved! I also thoroughly enjoyed The Road–what a hard-hitter.

  10. I’ve got to add my recommendation for Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Definitely the most lovely use of language of any book I read last year. When I started reading it, I never thought I would use the word “lovely” to describe it, with its incredibly depressing subject matter, but there you go. That’s the power of an accomplished author, in a nutshell.

  11. I read and enjoyed Twilight, but it is definitely not on the same level as Atonement by Ian McEwan or World Without End by Ken Follett. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting by Milan Kundera is also thought-provoking and beautiful in it’s own right.

  12. The most powerful book I ever read was McCarthy’s “Blood Meridian,” and I loved “All the Pretty Horses.” I also liked “No Country for Old Men.”

    BUT! I think McCarthy, like some other great writers has gotten too dark, too gloomy about humanity, and too depressing. Why do you read a novel? A big part is for escape, and I like a satisfying ending, if not a happy ending. The ending of “No Country for Old Men” was too dark and gloomy. McCarthy should have let the good guy get away.

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