2008: Wordcandy's Year in Review

2008 was, in many ways, a serious bummer for the book world. A lot of industry jobs were lost, some great authors died, and the projections for 2009 are not encouraging. But some good stuff happened, too—stuff we've compiled in our annual list of our favorite book releases and literature-related events of 2008:

Great cookbooks:
2008 gave us some top-notch cookbooks, including The Splendid Table's How To Eat Supper and The America's Test Kitchen's Family Baking Book.

Excellent anime adaptations:
We loved the anime versions of Nodame Cantabile: Paris Hen, Majin Tantei Nogami Neuro, and the still-running Skip Beat!.

The ending of Tramps Like Us:
The final volume of this outstanding josei manga gave readers exactly what they were hoping for: a dreamy, quirky, utterly romantic happily-ever-after.

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog:
Joss Whedon has a bad habit of ending his series with a knife in his audience's back. (I've always wondered if he's a fan of tragic operas, which also rely heavily on the obvious-but-effective drama created by killing off their most vulnerable characters.) Still, about, oh, 35 minutes of the 43-minute-long Internet musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog was awesome, and there's no denying that’s a pretty solid ratio.

Several awesome sequels:
...including Ysabeau S. Wilce's Flora's Dare and Catherine Jinks's Genius Squad, both of which managed to feel like complete stories, even as they built on earlier books and hinted at future installments.

The joys of 100% legal manhwa:
Yen Press kicked into gear in 2008, making all of the Korean manhwa titles dropped by the now-defunct group ICE Kunion available again. It took the better part of three whole years, but I finally got my hands on the second volume of Park So-Hee's Goong!

Puffin Classics:
In a year where very few things were both awesome and budget-friendly, the 2008 re-issues of the Puffin Classics paperback editions featured lovely cover art, introductions by big-name authors, and a dirt-cheap $4.99 cover price.

Sense and Sensibility:
I was convinced this adaptation would suck (in my defense, ITV's 2007 adaptations of Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, and Mansfield Park were very disheartening), but the BBC did an excellent job of adapting Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.

Exciting new series:
...including David Anthony Durham's Acacia, Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games, and Kelley Armstrong's The Summoning. I have no idea how I'll feel about later installments in these series (I'm particularly worried about Collins's next installment—it's going to take me a very long time to forgive or forget that last Underland Chronicles book), but at least they kicked off with a bang.

A surfeit of Wordcandy-worthy nonfiction:
We usually review novels, but 2008 saw the Wordcandy staff receiving more than our fair share of entertaining, thought-provoking nonfiction. Standouts included Scott Bittle and Jean Johnson's Where Does the Money Go? and Komomo and Naoyuki Ogino's A Geisha’s Journey: My Life as a Kyoto Apprentice. We doubt we would have encountered these titles in the normal course of bookstore-browsing, so we were grateful to the publishers and PR agents who sent them to us, and happy to have a chance to share them with our readers!
Posted by: Julianka


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