Best books I've read this year

At Julianne Douglas's blog, Writing the Renaissance, I learned about a blog meme started by blogger Lucy Pick. The idea is to list 10 books you enjoyed in 2008.

I didn't read as much this year as I usually do, so I can't come up with 10 books to recommend. (Isn't that awful?) But here are the six best books I read in 2008 (in no particular order):

1. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant. Novel that tells the Biblical story of Jacob's wives through the eyes of his daughter, Dinah. Everyone says this is a great book, and everyone is right.

2. Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors. Novel about a young French woman at the time of the Revolution. You can read my review of the book here.

3. Becoming Charlemagne by Jeff Sypeck. History that reads like fiction. You'll learn not only about Charlemagne, but other leaders of his time, including the ruthless Empress Irene of Byzantium.

4. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (also called Northern Lights). A very, very well-written children's fantasy novel that definitely doesn't talk down to kids. I think you have to be a grown-up to really appreciate this book.

5. The Brontë Myth by Lucasta Miller. Debunks legends about the literary sisters (Charlotte wasn't a domestic saint, and Emily didn't go into trances when writing!)

6. Noble Savage by Lawrence and Elisabeth Hanson. Entertaining biography of artist Paul Gauguin. I wasn't particularly interested in Gauguin before, but after reading this book I am.

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