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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Year in Reading

1. "The Year of Living Biblically" by A.J. Jacobs
2. "Born Standing Up" by Steve Martin
3. "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving
4. "Two for the Dough" by Janet Evanovich
5. "Talking Hands" by Margalit Fox
6. "Empress of Asia" by Adam Lewis Schroeder
7. "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznik
8. "Disappearance: A Map" by Sheila Nickerson
9. "Heart-Shaped Box" by Joe Hill
10. "On Chesil Beach" by Ian McEwan

11. "The Chess Machine" by Robert Lohr
12. "The Dead Fathers Club" by Matt Haig
13. "Danny Gospel" by David Athey
14. "Take This Bread" by Sara Miles
15. "The Translator" by Daoud Hari
16. "Patrick" by Stephen Lawhead

17. "People of the Book" by Geraldine Brooks
18. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" by Jeff Kinney
19. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules" by Jeff Kinney
20. "Nine Parts of Desire" by Geraldine Brooks
21. "Wrack and Ruin" by Don Lee
22. "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory
23. "I, Elizabeth" by Rosalind Miles

24. “Lying Awake” by Mark Salzman
25. “The Enchantress of Florence” by Salman Rushdie
26. “The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse” by Robert Rankin
27. “Imagine Me and You” by Billy Mernit
28. “Time and Again” by Jack Finney
29. “Lunch Money” by Andrew Clements
30. “Dervishes” by Beth Helms
31. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie
32. “Belong to Me” by Marisa de los Santos

33. “Bridge of Birds” by Barry Hughart
34. “Duma Key” by Stephen King
35. “America America” by Ethan Canin
36. “Avalon High” by Meg Cabot
37. “Twilight” by Stephenie Meyer
38. “Jim the Boy” by Tony Earley

39. “Bonk” by Mary Roach
40. “Enchantment” by Orson Scott Card
41. “A Great and Terrible Beauty” by Libba Bray
42. “The Outcast” by Sadie Jones
43. “Are You There God? It’s Me, Kevin” by Kevin Keck
44. “New Moon” by Stephenie Meyer
45. “Rebel Angels” by Libba Bray
46. “Biblioholism” by Tom Raabe
47. “Dreamers of the Day” by Mary Doria Russell
48. “Year of Wonders” by Geraldine Brooks
49. “Sabriel” by Garth Nix
50. “Eclipse” by Stephenie Meyer

51. “Mister Sandman” by Barbara Gowdy
52. “Jim and Casper Go to Church” by Jim Henderson
53. “P.S. I Love You” by Cecelia Ahern
54. “The Sweet Far Thing” by Libba Bray
55. “Gods Behaving Badly” by Marie Phillips
56. “Rules” by Cynthia Lord
57. “Whales on Stilts” by M. T. Anderson
58. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer
59. “The Lambs of London” by Peter Ackroyd
60. “The Toyminator” by Robert Rankin
61. “The Monster of Florence” by Douglas Preston

62. “The Third Angel” by Alice Hoffman
63. “The Blue Star” by Tony Earley
64. “Beautiful Boy” by David Sheff
65. “If You Lived Here, I’d Know Your Name” by Heather Lende
66. “Cool It” by Bjorn Lomborg
67. “Books: A Memoir” by Larry McMurtry
68. “Lavinia” by Ursula K. LeGuin
69. “The Gargoyle” by Andrew Davidson
70. “The Man Who Loved China” by Simon Winchester

71. “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien
72. “The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga
73. “Breaking Dawn” by Stephenie Meyer
74. “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson
75. “Watchmen” by Alan Moore
76. “Any Given Doomsday” by Lori Handeland

77. “The Secret Scripture” by Sebastian Barry
78. “The Brief History of the Dead” by Kevin Brockmeier
79. “Motherless Brooklyn” by Jonathan Lethem
80. “The Antipope” by Robert Rankin
81. “Looking for Alaska” by John Green
82. “The Uncommon Reader” by Alan Bennett
83. “The Witches of Eastwick” by John Updike

84. “The Color of Magic” by Terry Pratchett
85. “March” by Geraldine Brooks
86. “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
87. “An Abundance of Katherines” by John Green
88. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry
89. “The Last Sin Eater” by Francine Rivers
90. “The Reader” by Bernhard Schlink
91. “Here’s the Story” by Maureen McCormick
92. “The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing” by M. T. Anderson
93. “A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian” by Marina Lewycka
94. “A Severe Mercy” by Sheldon Vanauken
95. “The Boy Who Fell Out of the Sky” by Ken Dornstein
96. “The Case of the Linoleum Lederhosen” by M. T. Anderson
97. “Feed” by M. T. Anderson
98. “Paper Towns” by John Green

99. “The Jewel of Median” by Sherry Jones
100. “The Suburban Christian” by Albert Y. Hsu
101. “Thirsty” by M. T. Anderson
102. “The Small Woman” by Alan Burgess
103. “Uglies” by Scott Westerfeld
104. “I Once Was Lost” by Don Everts
105. “The Brentford Triangle” by Robert Rankin
106. “The Weirdstone of Brisingamen” by Alan Garner
107. “Doubting” by Alister McGrath
108. “Garden Spells” by Sarah Addison Allen
109. “The Sugar Queen” by Sarah Addison Allen
110. “The Buried Book” by David Damrosch

It was a good year for reading. Inspired by the discussion thread I joined early in the year on LibraryThing.com (The 2008 75-Book Challenge), I pushed myself to meet goal. “Cheating” a bit, I read a great many more books for youth (shorter than most adult novels) than I ever had before (since I was last a youth myself, that is). Happily, I discovered some great youth lit authors. In particular I am impressed with M. T. Anderson and John Green, and also greatly enjoyed Libba Bray’s trilogy.

Ten of the books I read were advanced readers’ copies, sent free from publishers in exchange for internet-posted reviews. One of those books ended up being my favorite book of the year: “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” which actually became a best-seller and was even well-enough received to be sold at Costco (a literary accolade that not even Pulitzer and Man Booker winners can necessarily boast).

I started two humorous series by British authors: the well-known Disc World series by Terry Pratchett, and the lesser known (in the US, anyway) Brentford series by Robert Rankin.

There was only one re-read for the year: John Irving’s “A Prayer for Owen Meany” which I enjoyed even more the second time around, and remains my favorite book of all time.

I read my first ever graphic novel this year: the acclaimed “Watchmen” by Alan Moore, which also rates in the year’s top five.

My least-favorite book of the year was (surprising even to myself for the irony of the thing): “Books: A Memoir” by Larry McMurtry.

There were very brief email exchanges between myself and five of the authors I read this year, all of whom were very generous with their time and comments, especially when responding to critiques from me. Sherry Jones, Marisa de los Santos, and David Athey wrote books that were sent to me as part of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program. They were kind enough to respond to my reviews. Al Hsu was kind enough to respond to an inquiry from me regarding his nonfiction book, and sent some much-appreciated supplementary material. Kevin Keck read my disappointed review of his book on this blog, and graciously responded. After our brief exchange, I found myself liking his book a whole lot more.

According my calculations, I added 1,860 books to my personal library in 2008. This doesn’t include children’s picture books, but does include everything else from Junie B. Jones to “Mein Kampf”. This is the equivalent to purchasing 156 books per month, or 36 per week, or 5 per day. I purchased 17 times the number of books read. I've no idea how much money I spent accomplishing this, but its fair to say the vast majority were purchased second-hand.

My faves of the year in order of preference (not including my one re-read)(they almost couldn’t be more different):

1. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” by Mary Ann Shaffer
2. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie
3. “Looking for Alaska” by John Green
4. “Watchmen” by Alan Moore
5. (A three-way tie) “The Year of Living Biblically” by A. J. Jacobs, “Nine Parts of Desire” by Geraldine Brooks, and “Time and Again” by Jack Finney

Happy reading in 2009!


At 1:42 PM, Blogger Terri B. said...

Great list of reads Linda! I like your wrap-up information. So have you joined book owners anonymous yet?? ;o)

At 4:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Wow, that was a lot of books to read! It reminded me of when I would do the summer reading program at our local library when I was a child. I am also on blogspot, just started in January. I lived in North Pole, AK for 5 years. Have friends in Anchorage.


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