It’s hard to believe, 2008 is just a blur now and it seems like it was only yesterday the Eleventh Stack team was working on creating our blog. This being the last post of the year, we found it most appropriate to list our favorite library materials encountered in 2008.
A Sort of Best of Stuff List (in no particular order):
Leigh Anne…Snake Hips: Belly Dancing and How I Found True Love, Anne Thomas Soffee– After a horrible breakup that sends her into a tailspin, Soffee tries to cheer herself up by taking a belly dancing class. Much to her surprise, she loves it, and her subsequent adventures on the amateur bellydance scene are both hysterically funny and inspirational in a snarky, hipster-grrrl kind of way. Recommended for alterna-queens and misfit wimmin who need a little reminder of just how fabulous they really are.
Amy…The Book Thief, Markus Zusak – Death tells us the story of a young German girl growing up during WWII. Be sure to look under the dust jacket and enjoy the colors of the book, too.
Renée…Jessica Farm. Volume 1 (January 2000 – December 2007), Josh Simmons – Both Jung and Freud acknowledged the symbolism of houses in dreams and ascribed rooms and floors to coincide with different aspects of the psyche, and both of them would have a field day with Josh Simmons’ graphic novel Jessica Farm, which navigates a plot with dream logic that darts between dread and joy as Jessica wanders from room to room, meeting different “house friends” at every turn. Simmons, who creates new self-imposed constraints for each of his projects, created a page every month for Jessica farm, meaning that he expects to finish volume 2 sometime around 2016.
Tim…Best Live Album for Drummers Who Don’t Need Guitarists: Superroots 9, Boredoms – With 3 drummers, turntables/DJs, and a 24 piece choir, this live recording from 2004 but released in 2008, fills any drummers’ deep desire to hear ethereal voices and sound effects with pummeling drums underneath.
Wes…The most life changing reading experience of 2008 for me was George R.R. Martin’s amazing high fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire. I started reading the first book in the series, A Game of Thrones, almost exactly a year ago. It kept me up late a number of nights, and so did the next three books, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows. If we’re lucky, the fifth book in the series, A Dance With Dragons, will be released sometime in 2009. If we’re even luckier, HBO will officially announce that A Song of Ice and Fire is being made into a regular television series.
Julie…Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Haruki Murakami – This compelling novel is really two parallel stories. Hard-Boiled Wonderland is set in near-future Tokyo. The End of the World is an allegorical walled city, whose nameless inhabitants live with dim memories of life outside the walls. Read this novel for a wild ride of mirroring realities.
Irene…In 2008 I was lucky enough to read some fantastic new authors (Miranda July, Deb Olin Unferth). But I think I’d have to say that my favorite thing I read would have to be the Love and Rockets series, by Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez (aka Los Bros Hernandez). I discovered that the comics had been anthologized by story line, and revisited all of the Palomar stories (in Heartbreak Soup and Beyond Palomar), and the “Loca” stories (in Locas: The Maggie And Hopey Stories and Perla La Loca). Re-reading these reminded me why I had loved them so much in the first place.
Bonnie…My favorite book of 2008 was God’s Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre, Richard Grant. The first line sold me: “So this is what it feels like to be hunted.” It was the ultimate travel and adventure book, with a charming author and interesting facts and stories on the people groups of the Sierra Madre Mountains. The locale’s bizarre history is mixed in with Richard Grant’s perilous and foolhardy adventures. I highly recommend this title to anyone wishing for an adventure.
Lisa…My favorite book of 2008 was The Dangerous Joy of Dr. Sex and Other True Stories, Pagan Kennedy – so great that I checked it out twice this year. Kennedy mostly writes about eccentric innovators and thinkers of the twentieth century. There’s also a brief essay on Alex Comfort and a few insightful personal essays. What do the subjects in Kennedy’s essays have in common? They are all trying to reinvent the world into a better, funnier, smarter and more responsive place. Can’t argue with that.
– Lisa (special thanks to everyone who contributed)