A highly eclectic, hardly systematic accounting of what I liked best in 2008:
1.) THE ELECTION. What a tremendous drama. The characters were strong and well-drawn–too-good-to-be-true Barack Obama, the redoubtable Hillary Clinton, the indomitable and gracious John McCain, and the brilliantly imagined Sarah Palin, among others–plus the well-plotted series of upsets and comebacks, culminating in Obama’s eventual, resounding victory. Could have done without the big financial crash at the end, though.
2.) THE SUPER BOWL. Try this: a wandering, underperforming team gets its act together, makes the playoffs, goes on the road to upset traditional rival Dallas, goes on the road to frigid Green Bay to upset the Packers, goes to the Super Bowl, and with a staunch defense and what is, by acclamation, the greatest play in Super Bowl history, upsets the undefeated Patriots. What could be better? How about: it’s the team you rooted for all year!
3.) THE SPIES OF WARSAW. Alan Furst is a master of the pre-WW II espionage novel, in large measure because his characters are so precisely and insightfully drawn. The hero of this latest novel, a French officer stationed in Poland, is a fully satisfying combination of nobility, class, duty, and simple courage. Continue reading “THE TOP 10 OF 2008”