On the occasion of having completed a record 33 books this year, including these 10 new releases.

10. “The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded Americans is Tearing Us Apart.” Ever wonder how the red and blue states got that way? This book shows you how, with the numbers to prove it.

9. “The Clothes On Their Backs.” This British novel, short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, was the only new fiction I read in 2008. I read the entire thing in a single day on the flight home from London.

8. “White House Ghosts: Presidents and Their Speechwriters.” This history of presidential speechwriting is entertaining, even if much of the material has been covered elsewhere.

7. “The Way We’ll Be: The Zogby Report on the Transformation of America.” Feeling pessimistic about our nation’s future? Read the fourth chapter of this book, which focuses on the globally networked, inclusive millennial generation. You’ll feel better about America’s prospects in the new century.

6. “Only in America: Inside the Mind and Under the Skin of the Nation Everyone Loves to Hate.” Matt Frei, a BBC reporter stationed in America, looks at life in the United States on the even of the 2008 election. Poorly edited and often repetitive, but never dull. To understand America, it helps to see the country through an outsider’s eyes.

5. “The Anglo Files: A Field Guide to the British.”  The flip side of “Only in America.” Sarah Lyall, the New York Times’ correspondent in London, offers an endearing look at the British people and their many quirks. I read this before Andrew and I visited London in October. I’m glad I did.

4. “All I Could Bare: My Life in the Strip Clubs of Gay Washington, D.C.”  Fascinating. Author Craig Seymour recalls his life as a stripper in D.C. in the early ’90s. It’s about stripping, yes, but it’s also about a unique moment in the history of my hometown.

3. “The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Changed America.” Author Thurston Clarke is quickly becoming my favorite historian. I began the year reading “Ask Not,” his excellent accounting of JFK’s inauguration. “The Last Campaign,” which I read in the spring, helped me understand what made RFK a politician like no other.

the-place-to-be2. “The Place to Be: Washington, CBS, and the Glory Days of Television News.” Roger Mudd’s memoir focuses on his career at CBS News’s storied Washington bureau. A spectacular read and a wonderful reminder of why Mudd remains a broadcast journalism.

1. “Counselor: A Life at the Edge of History.” Ted Sorensen’s beautifully written, elegant accounting of his career, including, most notably, his work as one of President Kennedy’s top advisors. This book, more than any other, demonstrates why Kennedy is worthy of the iconic place he holds in the American pantheon. 

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