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North Atlantic Staff’s Top 3 Book Picks of 2008

March 16, 2009

book heart

I asked my co-workers at the North Atlantic office (Blue Snake Books is part of North Atlantic) to name their 3 favorite books that they read in 2008. Any book was fair game, new or old, but I did ask them to include one North Atlantic title if possible—to see what books we like despite being surrounded by them for 8 (or more) hours a day.

Feel free to let us know what you think about our selections and to post your favorite books of 2008. We would love to see what our readers are…reading.

Allegra Harris – Sales & Marketing Manager

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov – I’ve been slowly reading Lolita for the first time (bad English major!) for months, and it’s still incredibly haunting 50 years after it’s first publication.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer – I read this on a vacation, which is either the best or the worst way to read this book. I think it’s really about the thin line between insanity and freedom.

I Am Grateful by Terces Engelhart – I have used this cookbook many times, and am still shocked at how delicious the food is. There can be little more work that goes into it, but it’s always incredibly tasty.

Drew Cavanaugh – Sales & Marketing Coordinator

Women in Love by D.H. Lawrence – His insight into life and relationships is astonishing, life-affirming, and his prose is exquisite.

Dom Casmurro by Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis – A lyrical, humorous Latin American fictional memoir about adultery. Fresh and surprising. What a writer!

Art Psalms by Alex Grey – A gorgeous book, a compelling artist—I love how there are psalms (and “rants”) intermixed with and beside his artwork; a wonderful variety. I gave this book to my aunt as a Christmas gift.

Dylan Wooters – Online Marketing & Publicity Coordinator

Senslessness by Horacio Castellanos Moya – A quick read (which is good for me, since I have trouble finishing books), this novel is more like one uninterrupted paranoia-driven panic attack. It is an incredible work, both disturbing and, at times, hilarious. Not for the easily offended, though.

The Star Rover by Jack London – This is what happens when you shop at the Barnes & Noble in Jack London Square—you end up buying an obscure Jack London novel. It tells the story of a prisoner who is locked in solitary confinement and learns to astral project, reliving past lives while stuck in a straight jacket in San Quentin. And from the author of The Call of the Wild—who knew?

Art Psalms by Alex Grey – I feel that Alex Grey is a unique artist in his ability to create works with a universal, spiritual message that are not off-putting or dogmatic, which is important during a period of irony and nihilism. Reading this book is also a nice way to relax after work.

Emily Boyd – Senior Editor (Alternative Health)

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri – I’m not always a fan of short stories, but I loved these (and the ones in her first book, Interpreter of Maladies, as well). Lahiri’s stories are beautifully written, very moving, and filled with poignant details that really draw you into the lives of her characters.

The Tenth Muse: My Life in Food by Judith Jones – Amazing food-focused memoir from the Knopf editor who worked with a remarkable array of cookbook writers: Julia Child, Marcella Hazan, Madhur Jaffrey, and Claudia Roden, to name a few. Jones is a serious foodie—she will and has tried just about everything!

Blackbird, Farewell by Robert Greer – Another action-packed CJ Floyd mystery with a great story, compelling characters, and fast-paced dialogue.

Hisae Matsuda – Editor (Spirituality)

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle

Black Swan Green: A Novel by David Mitchell

Chi and Creativity: Vital Energy and Your Inner Artist by Elise Dirlam Ching and Kaleo Ching

Karen Windham – Operations Coordinator

Dreamsongs: A Retrospective by George R.R. Martin – A collection of short stories spanning his career by the master of dark, and I mean DARK fiction. Includes The Hedge Knight, a novella from the acclaimed A Song of Ice and Fire Series. Not for the faint of heart.

Tumbling After by Paul Witcover – Another dark novel, this is about growing up in a dysfunctional family with many surprising twists involving two parallel plot lines. The plotline involving the Mutes and Norms game and how sometimes games can become more real than reality is something that touches a chord for both gamers and non-gamers alike.

Kiln People by David Brin – One of my favorite authors of all time delves into a futuristic world of surveillance and espionage in some ways reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly. An interesting look at society that touches on everything from racism to terrorism to addictions that shows how sometimes too much of a good thing, especially in the case of technology, can backfire. Full of complex plot twists and surprises, it is a great read that really makes you think.

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