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Best Books of 2008

Editors' Picks: Top 50 Books

It took us almost a whole year of reading to find our favourite book of 2008: Philip Hensher's The Northern Clemency, a late addition to the fall publication schedule after it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. A fat and fulfilling novel of two families in Sheffield, England, during the '70s, '80s, and '90s, The Northern Clemency inhabits the lives of more than a dozen characters with the kind of brilliant observation and imagination that reminded us of recent favourites like The Corrections, The Emperor's Children, and On Beauty.

You can browse through all our top 50 editors' picks for 2008 below, and find many more editors' picks and customer favourites in our Best of 2008 Store.


Showing -27 - 0 of 50 Results
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-27. 2666
2666
by Roberto Bolano
3.4 out of 5 stars (15 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
FSG Adult
November 11, 2008
Hardcover

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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Last year's The Savage Detectives by the late Chilean-Mexican novelist Bolaño (1953–2003) garnered extraordinary sales and critical plaudits for a complex novel in translation, and quickly became the object of a literary cult. This brilliant behemoth is grander in scope, ambition and sheer page count, and translator ... Read more

-26. Alinea
Alinea
by Grant Achatz
4.5 out of 5 stars (14 customer reviews)
In Stock
Achatz
October 1, 2008
Hardcover

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List Price:CDN$ 69.00
Price:CDN$ 57.63
You Save:CDN$ 11.37 (16%)

Product Description
The debut cookbook from the restaurant Gourmet magazine named the best in the country.... Read more

-25. Collections of Nothing
Collections of Nothing
by William Davies King

Currently unavailable
University Of Chicago Press
July 25, 2008
Hardcover

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Review
“Collections of Nothing is a terrific book. Wonderful and touching, it is informed by a deep sense of emptiness at the heart of materialism that echoes behind the text. It is not an academic book or an argument, but rather a strange hybrid, oscillating between memoir and meditation on collecting. ... Read more

-24. The Boat
The Boat
by Nam Le
5.0 out of 5 stars (1 customer review)
Usually ships in 1 to 3 months
Bond Street Books
May 13, 2008
Hardcover

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Price:CDN$ 27.95

Review
“Wonderful . . . an extraordinary performance. Nam Le is a heartbreaker, not easily forgotten.” – Junot Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning author“A wild ride across cultures, continents, and experience. . . . On the evidence of his debut, there’s nothing Nam Le can’t do.” –The Gazette (Montreal)“Nam Le is extraordinary. ... Read more

-23. Dear American Airlines: A Novel
Dear American Airlines: A Novel
by Jonathan Miles
5.0 out of 5 stars (2 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
April 29, 2008
Hardcover

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From Publishers Weekly
This crisp yowl of a first novel from Miles, who covers books for ... Read more

-22. Outliers: The Story of Success
Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell
4.4 out of 5 stars (159 customer reviews)
In Stock
Little, Brown and Company
November 18, 2008
Hardcover

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List Price:CDN$ 38.00
Price:CDN$ 27.89
You Save:CDN$ 10.11 (27%)

From Amazon
Now that he's gotten us talking about the viral life of ideas and the power of gut reactions, Malcolm Gladwell poses a more provocative question in Outliers: why do some people succeed, living remarkably productive and impactful lives, while so many more never reach their potential? Challenging our cherished ... Read more

-21. The White Tiger: A Novel
The White Tiger: A Novel
by Aravind Adiga
4.4 out of 5 stars (38 customer reviews)
In Stock
Free Press
October 14, 2008
Paperback

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List Price:CDN$ 23.00
Price:CDN$ 14.13
You Save:CDN$ 8.87 (39%)

Review
"Compelling, angry, and darkly humorous, The White Tiger is an unexpected journey into a new India. Aravind Adiga is a talent to watch." -- Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist"An exhilarating, side-splitting account of India today, as well as an eloquent howl at her many injustices. Adiga enters ... Read more

-20. Dark Days
Dark Days
by Kerry Pither
4.0 out of 5 stars (1 customer review)
Currently unavailable
Viking Canada
August 26, 2008
Hardcover

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Quill & Quire
It’s a sad comment on the human condition that moral issues thought to have been settled by the grim experience of history are frequently dredged up and reopened for debate. Take, for example, the recent shift in global discourse about torture, which was for a time considered taboo in ... Read more

-19. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: A Novel
by Mary Ann Shaffer
4.6 out of 5 stars (156 customer reviews)
In Stock
The Dial Press
July 29, 2008
Hardcover

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List Price:CDN$ 35.00
Price:CDN$ 26.96
You Save:CDN$ 8.04 (23%)

From Publishers Weekly
The letters comprising this small charming novel begin in 1946, when single, 30-something author Juliet Ashton (nom de plume Izzy Bickerstaff) writes to her publisher to say she is tired of covering the sunny side of war and its aftermath. When Guernsey fa... Read more

-18. The Enchantress of Florence
The Enchantress of Florence
by Salman Rushdie
3.0 out of 5 stars (16 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Knopf Canada
April 8, 2008
Hardcover

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From Amazon
Trying to describe a Salman Rushdie novel is like trying to describe music to someone who has never heard it--you can fumble with a plot summary but you won't be able to convey the wonder of his dazzling prose or the imaginative complexity of his vision. A... Read more

-17. Bottomfeeder
Bottomfeeder
by Taras Grescoe
4.4 out of 5 stars (2 customer reviews)
In Stock
HarperCollins Publishers
October 20, 2008
Paperback

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List Price:CDN$ 19.95
Price:CDN$ 18.35
You Save:CDN$ 1.60 (8%)

Review
In this whirlwind, worldwide tour of fisheries, Grescoe (The Devil's Picnic) whiplashes readers from ecological devastation to edible ecstasy and back again. In disturbing detail, he depicts the turbid and murky Chesapeake Bay, where, with overharvested oy... Read more

-16. The Monster of Florence
The Monster of Florence
by Douglas Preston
4.2 out of 5 stars (8 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Grand Central Publishing
June 10, 2008
Hardcover

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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. United in their obsession with a grisly Italian serial murder case almost three decades old, thriller writer Preston (coauthor, ... Read more

-15. The Killing Circle
The Killing Circle
by Andrew Pyper
3.6 out of 5 stars (9 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Doubleday Canada
August 5, 2008
Hardcover

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Review
"The villain leaps off the page...Pyper does an impressive job building suspense, offering enough narrative twists and turns to keep the reader nicely off balance.  Basing the experience of the novel in Rush's first-person perspective, he is able to capture not only the depths of the haunting and gradually ... Read more

-14. An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-first Century
An Imperfect Offering: Humanitarian Action in the Twenty-first Century
by James Orbinski
4.4 out of 5 stars (13 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Doubleday Canada
April 4, 2008
Hardcover

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Review
“Thoughtful and passionate.” — The Globe and Mail“With vivid personal anecdote, Orbinski chronicles the struggle around humanitarian intervention in one hotspot after another across the planet. In a narrative of grace and power, he displays the intense components of his remarkable life: integrity, compassion and principle. He is undaunted ... Read more

-13. Night of the Gun A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of His Life. His Own.
Night of the Gun A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of His Life. His Own.
by David Carr
5.0 out of 5 stars (1 customer review)
Currently unavailable
Simon & Schuster
January 1, 2008
Hardcover

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Review
"[A] fierce, self-lacerating tale....writing full of that special journalistic energy that is driven by a combination of reporting and intelligence." --Pete Hamill, The New York Times"[A] remarkable narrative of redemption...He writes with grace and precision...With grit and a recovering user's candor, Mr. Carr has written an arresting tale..." -- ... Read more

-12. What It Is
What It Is
by Lynda Barry
4.9 out of 5 stars (11 customer reviews)
In Stock
Drawn & Quarterly
April 23, 2008
Hardcover

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List Price:CDN$ 27.95
Price:CDN$ 25.16
You Save:CDN$ 2.79 (10%)

Review
Praise for Lynda Barry: "Barry is, underneath the wonky handwriting and the quirky, naive drawings, a great memoirist . . . Like [Tobias] Wolff and [Dave] Eggers, she finds a tone that accommodates self-criticism and self-irony without tipping over into self-loathing . . . but what she is particularly ... Read more

-11. Telex from Cuba: A Novel
Telex from Cuba: A Novel
by Rachel Kushner
3.8 out of 5 stars (4 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Scribner
July 1, 2008
Hardcover

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From Publishers Weekly
Kushner's colorful, character-driven debut succinctly captures the essence of life for a gilded circle of American expats in pre-Castro Cuba, chronicling a m... Read more

-10. The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer
The Ball Is Round: A Global History of Soccer
by David Goldblatt
4.0 out of 5 stars (3 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Riverhead Books
January 1, 2006
Paperback

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Product Description
In this extraordinary tour de force of a book, David Goldblatt describes the rise of football, from a chaotic folk ritual to a sector of the global-entertainment industry. It's the story of players and managers, fans and owners, clubs and national teams; a... Read more

-9. More Information Than You Require
More Information Than You Require
by John Hodgman

Currently unavailable
Riverhead (HC)
October 21, 2008
Hardcover

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Product Description
The best-selling author of The Areas of My Expertise presents a tongue-in-cheek compendium of made-up facts that fall under such headings as "The Method by Which We Elect Our Presidents," "How to Be a Famous Minor Television Personality," and "Gambling: The Sport of the Asthmatic Man." 150,000 first printing.... Read more

-8. Atmospheric Disturbances and Other Sad Meteorological Phenomena
Atmospheric Disturbances and Other Sad Meteorological Phenomena
by Rivka Galchen
5.0 out of 5 stars (1 customer review)
Currently unavailable
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd
May 20, 2008
Hardcover

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From Amazon
Imagine what it might be like to realize that the person you love is, in fact, not the person you love but a doppelgänger: or, what Leo Liebenstein coolly terms a "simulacrum" of his wife Rema at the outset of ... Read more

-7. Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood
Pictures at a Revolution: Five Movies and the Birth of the New Hollywood
by Mark Harris
5.0 out of 5 stars (2 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Tantor Audio
March 3, 2008
Audio CD

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Review
"Pictures at a Revolution is a superb achievement, and one can only hope that some aspiring, wild-eyed auteur reads it and storms the studio gates." ---The Boston Globe... Read more

-6. My Revolutions
My Revolutions
by Hari Kunzru
3.0 out of 5 stars (1 customer review)
Currently unavailable
Dutton
January 24, 2008
Hardcover

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Product Description
Having briefly worked as a terrorist to protest the Vietnam War, Chris Carver hides his past from his suburban family and friends before a ghost from his past forces him to flee, a circumstance during which he remembers his isolated youth and violent relat... Read more

-5. The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead
The Thing About Life Is That One Day You'll Be Dead
by David Shields

Currently unavailable
Alfred A. Knopf
February 5, 2008
Hardcover

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From Publishers Weekly
Inspired by the immense vitality of his 90-something father, author Shields (Body Politic: The Great American Sports Machine) looks at the arc of a human life in order to come to terms with mortality. Organized into four stages of life-infancy and childhoo... Read more

-4. How Jesus Became Christian: St. Paul, the Early Church and the Jesus Cover-up
How Jesus Became Christian: St. Paul, the Early Church and the Jesus Cover-up
by Barrie Wilson
4.0 out of 5 stars (12 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Random House Canada
March 18, 2008
Hardcover

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Review
"A seminal work…. His style is engaging and meant for a popular audience. This theological detective story deserves wide readership and discussion."—The Hamilton Spectator"Forget about Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code and fictional conspiratorial machinations about whether Jesus and Mary Magdalene had children, Barrie Wilson has produced a significant ... Read more

-3. The Monsters of Templeton
The Monsters of Templeton
by Lauren Groff
4.7 out of 5 stars (5 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Hachette Books
November 4, 2008
Paperback

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Review
"Richly imagined. . . . What Groff illustrates so deeply, and uniquely, is the difficulty of shaking off one's family ties, one's roots."―... Read more

-2. Sweetheart
Sweetheart
by Chelsea Cain
4.1 out of 5 stars (8 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Minotaur Books
September 2, 2008
Hardcover

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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. In Cain's superb follow-up to Heartsick, damaged detective Archie Sheridan is back home in Portland, Ore., trying to resume a normal life. Archie's ties to serial killer Gretchen Lowell still run deep, even if he's stopped their weekly visits in prison. Meanwhile, reporter Susan Ward is finishing ... Read more

-1. Perfumes: The Guide
Perfumes: The Guide
by Luca Turin
3.6 out of 5 stars (11 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Viking
April 10, 2008
Hardcover

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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Less a guide in the sense of helping people choose the perfect fragrance than a wide-ranging, critical review of some 1,200 perfumes, both famous and obscure, this comprehensive book is unfailingly entertaining. A collaboration between Turi... Read more

0. The Gargoyle
The Gargoyle
by Andrew Davidson
4.3 out of 5 stars (64 customer reviews)
Currently unavailable
Random House Canada
August 5, 2008
Hardcover

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Review
“An epic page-turner. Davidson’s writing is so vivid and graphic, it will give you the chills.” — People“There is an admirable clarity to his prose, a careful avoidance of the kind of turgid or melodramatic sentences one finds in lesser writers….The Gargoyle does not disappoint….Sweeping, intergenerational, wholly implausible, unapologetically ... Read more

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