Visions of Paradise

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Favorites of 2008

Generally my reading and listening are a year or two behind, so these lists are my favorites that I read / listened to in 2008 rather than items which were released this year.

My favorite book of the year was Steven Saylor’s Last Seen in Massilia, another excellent look at life during the waning years of the Roman Republic when Julius Caesar was growing in power. While it was basically a mystery, it was also rich historical fiction as well.

Runner-up historical fiction was Lisa See’s touching Snow Flower and the Secret Fan.

My favorite f&sf book was Jeffrey Ford’s The Shadow Year, a semi-autobiographical novel which was also a creepy fantasy. This is the third story of Ford’s which I have really liked in recent years (including his novelette “The Empire of Ice Cream” and the novella “The Cosmology of the Wider World”).

Three recent cds and three older cds were my favorites this year.

Of the recent ones, my favorite was the Foo Fighters’ Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace. I have liked all their albums, but this one was even better than the previous ones.

I am a big fan of Tom Petty, but his recent albums were less consistent than those released during his peak decades. So I was very pleased at how good his album Mudcrutch was. It featured his first band prior to forming the Heartbreakers (although it did contain two of his closest collaborators from the latter band).

I am also a fan of David Cousins and his band The Strawbs, and Broken-Hearted Bride was their best album in two decades. The song “Call to Action” was my favorite song of the year.

The older albums I really enjoyed were two jazz fusion bands (Return to Forever’s Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy and the Mahavishnu Orchestra’s Birds of Fire) and one progressive rock band (King Crimson’s live Cirkus). A lot of good music.


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