To continue my personal best reads of 2008, I'll move on to the young-adult and sci-fi/fantasy categories. I do enjoy the occasional book written (or marketed) with mostly the younger reader in mind. Although I'm not as avid a fan as some grown-up readers I know. Or perhaps this year I simply wasn't as nostalgic, as I didn't read very many. The Book Thief is the only title that doesn't also double in the Sci-Fi/Fantasy category:
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman
Tanglewreck - Jeanette Winterson
The Book Thief - Mark Zusak
Lirael & Abhorsen both from the Abhorsen Trilogy - Garth Nix
And my favorite in the YA category is The Book Thief a compulsively readable and imaginative book about the humanizing power of narrative set in a little town on the road to the Dachau concentration camp during World War II.
I read some additional sci-fi/fantasy reads not specifically for younger readers:
Across the Nightingale Floor, Grass for His Pillow, and Brilliance of the Moon which together comprise the Tales of the Otori by Lian Hearn, which had been a trilogy but has lately become a quartet. I haven't gotten to the fourth book yet.
Flow my Tears, the Policeman Said - Philip K. Dick
In the sci-fi/fantasy category I call my favorite the entire Tales of the Otori trilogy. The books were satisfying on numerous levels - romance, adventure, history, fantasy, and battle. The first book dealt with the theme of the outsider, one that always appeals to me. The final one asked many questions about personal and collective responsibility - especially as it relates to violence - whether isolated or as acts of war.
Coming up short fiction, and best fiction which I am thinking about splitting into at least two categories - books published in the last year or so and fiction written before that.