This year I read 207 books, not counting re-reads. That means I read a book more frequently than every two days! I am not posting a complete list, but if you want to see all the books, just go here. I think it's more useful to post a best-of. In 2008 I only encountered ten five-star books, sad to say. A five-star book is one that I feel changed my life, or changes a genre, or could change the world, so they are rare - generally ten percent or less of the total books that I read. If I had found ten percent this year, that would have been twenty books. Alas. It may be that I am judging books to harshly, but I'm not sure. Certainly, it was easy for me to remember why I thought all of the below titles amazing, even without referring to my prior reviews.
Five star titles, alphabetical by author
Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, & Other Outlaws by Kate Bornstein This book is not just for teenagers and the suicidal. It should be required reading for anyone who is really unhappy and/or doesn't know how to change their life.
Many Roads, One Journey by Charlotte Kasl A holistic guide to recovering from addiction, for women. Places our understanding of addiction in context of our lives and society.
Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz How to naturally ferment anything in simple, easy, unintimidating steps. If you don't know what to do with your garden surplus, or have always been intimidated by the idea of canning, you must read it.
Face to Face by Audrey Kishline and Sheryl Maloy What would you say to the person who killed your child? What if you believed God wanted you to forgive them? A true story.
Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son's First Year by Anne Lamott A brutally honest look at parenting from the front lines. Written with compassion and humor for everyone involved.
Strategic Sex: Why They Won't Keep It in the Bedroom edited by D. Travers Scott Possibly one of the best sexually-themed anthologies I've ever read, and I've read many.
Four and a Half Stars
This category means that I loved the book - more than loved it - but something kept me from giving it five stars.
Companion to Wolves by Elizabeth Bear and Sarah Monette
Sword of Albion by Rosemary Edghill and Andre Norton
Victory of Eagles by Naomi Novik
Exile and Pride:Disability, Queerness, and Liberation by Eli Clare
Still not enough? Click here for my take on last year's best nonfiction.