As with every single man and his faithful canine companion I am going to throw out my top 5 lists this year. And I’m going to throw out the only lists that really matter to me. My top 5 Books and Songs of 2008.
These aren’t books or songs released this year per say but rather books or songs I have heard this year and fallen in love with.

Books.

5.Freakonomics (Steve Levitt) – A book everyman and his dog has read that I finally got to this year. I loved it not only is it thought provoking , it introduces complex topics to the layman. It is also written in an incredibly hilarious and accessible way.

4.Fear And Loathing On The Campaign Trail ’72 (Hunter S Thompson) – I love Hunter S Thompson and this is probably his best piece of work as a journalist. It’s not the best introduction to his work but if your interested in Gonzo, Thompson,Nixon era politics or just the American political system in general then this is a hilarious easy to read book with a definitly non academic approach 

3.Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand) – It was in her novels that Rand gave birth to one of the great philosophical schools of thought in the 20th Centuary. And while I am by no means an objectivist this novel is by far the best summary of its basic beliefs.

2.Women (Charles Bukowski)- A frank honest book about Bukowski interactions with women. It’s not pretty but then again life isn’t always pretty.

1.A tie at first place.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (Hunter S Thompson) – A phenomenal book on which Hunter places himself as the outsider rejecting in both traditional american culture and the 60′ counter culture which he found himself a member of. In my opinion one of the greatest books of the 20th Centuary.

Atonement (Ian Mc Iwan) – The movie came out and nobody would shut up about the book so I read it. I loved it from start to finish and while it does explore some deeper themes of the human condition , most notably forgiveness and atonement as the title makes rather explicit, it is for the most part simply a great story with an interesting narrative structure.

Songs.

5.Mountains (Biffy Clyro) – Great piano driven rock. Thats about it.

4.Get-Well-Cards (Conor Oberst) – I love Bright Eyes , in my opinion the greatest band of the 21st centuary. So when Conor Oberst released an album of solo material I bought it. I loved it but I understand it was otherwise a tepid album of Americana. This is just a happy song on a good not great album.

3.Untrust Us (Crystal Castles) – Electronica made a huge comeback this year and Crystal Castles are definatly at the head of the pack. Their debut album is worth checking out.

2.Walcott (Vampire Weekend)- Fun light indie/pop from a band heavily influenced by African pop music. Great live. They make a great break from the depressed distorted guitar driven indie which has dominated the charts for the last 5 years.

1. Boneyards (Parkway Drive)- Brutal hardcore with amazing breakdowns. Lyrics aren’t complex but better than the stupidly mundane lyrics of typical hardcore bands. It is the interesting guitar work that makes this track a classic of the hardcore genre.

And so there are my top 5’s for 2008.Enjoy.

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