I hate admitting this, but I did not read that many books in 2008. One memorable year I easily made it through 100 books. This year I think I struggled to read more than twenty-five books. I have my reasons for this sudden shift in reading habits - an irritating inability to concentrate (thanks to a certain health issue) and my new-found love of knitting which took up much of my spare time. Two books left their marks on me, though. Cormac McCarthy's apocalyptic The Road was raw, bleak and.. superb. McCarthy's language usage was extraordinary: both his sentence structures and his word choices were deliberately pared down to the bare bones. Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell was exuberant, by comparison. Initially I found it difficult to get into Clarke's dry, if wordy, prose but after 200-odd pages I was thoroughly enjoying her tale of a Regency Britain which felt very recognisable and odd at the same time. A book which transcended its genre and its tools.
I saw even fewer films in 2008 than I read books(!) and the only film I would single out was released four years ago. Yes, really. However, Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou was a very good film and I was sad that I missed seeing it on the big screen.
Let's just skip music except to say that Alaska in Winter's "Dance Party in the Balkans" with its lo-fi, organic/gypsy electronica was the soundtrack to my year. Oh, and song of my year? The Phoenix Foundation's Damn the River (from 2006!).
At least I've knitted a lot in 2008, eh?