Tops, Bests, Favorites or Just Things I Liked in 2008

A couple of years ago, I started keeping a journal/list/mini-review collection of every book I’d read and every movie I’d seen. It makes for thrilling reading, let me tell you. But with the existence of this blog and the inescapable proliferation of “Best of” lists at this time of the year, my spiral bound book suddenly serves a purpose.

The stats are kind of bleak on the book side. Only 21 books read in ’08 and, sadly, three months when I finished zero books. I saw 35 movies though. That sounds impressive (and expensive) until I tell you that the list isn’t just for movies I see in the theater, but anything I watch on OnDemand, through Netflix, on HBO or even on broadcast television.

The list is all-encompassing for movies and books. It doesn’t ignore books I re-read ‘cause I love them so. It isn’t limited to things released in the current year. Nope. It lets me include Jon Waters’ Hairspray as a January 2008 entry and Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood as a February read.

topsSo, in chronological order, here’s a look at Tammy’s Favorite Books and Movies of 2008 with exciting commentary from the journal entries. And here’s hoping I read more in 2009 that I don’t consider crap or just okay. 

I’m not doing a top 10 list. Mainly because that would be 50% of the books and not all of the books deserve to be on anyone’s top 100 list. And it would require me to rank my favorites, which I don’t feel like doing.

Books
A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. All four books of the ongoing series. Entertaining fantasy series classified as such because it’s not our world but unicorns and wizards don’t prance through the story so people who stay away from the genre may enjoy it.

Bikeman by Thomas F. Flynn. I did a full review of this in June. I never would have picked the poem up in a bookstore, probably wouldn’t have checked it out of the library, and I’m so glad LibraryThing sent me this to review. I loved it and can’t recommend it enough to others.

Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman. A collection of short stories and poems about things that might have happened, should happen and should never happen. Among my favorites were “October in the Chair” and “The Day the Saucers Came.”

Movies
December Boys. All the plot points I expected but they came with little twists that elevated them above plain old clichés.

History Boys. One of those movies that doesn’t necessarily have a big climax but you enjoy spending a brief time in the characters’ lives.

Blow Dry. I’ll call it charming. Sure, some of the characters were over the top, but, on the whole, it was enjoyable, well acted and well paced.

Iron Man. An excellent movie that was how I think action movies ought to be. A strong story enhanced by action pieces, instead of a sequence of explosions and fights held together by a thin piece of string.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Some of it was predictable, but the whole thing was so charming, I didn’t mind. All of the performances were solid. When the movie ended, I wanted more.

Miracle. I have no idea why a film about the 1980 Winter Olympics was made in 2004, but I’m very happy it was.

What Was I Thinking
Cloverfield (knocked Reindeer Games off its “worst movie I’ve ever sat through” pedestal)

Fall of Knight by Peter David (which answers the question: what do you do in the third book of a trilogy set in the 20th century when the middle book already had King Arthur [the mayor of New York] hang around with Jesus [a Secret Service agent]?)

The Happening (Interesting story, workable setting, sucky movie

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