Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2008 Reading Year in Review

If you'd like to read about past reading/blogging years, you can check them out, here:


I tend to overlook a book or two, when flipping through lists, so don't be surprised if there are red-highlighted additions, in a few days.

Number of books read in 2008: 142 (this beats my previous high of 128)

Total pages read: 36,564

Average book length: 257 pages

Longest book read in 2008 (a three-way tie, all at 530 pages):
A Fraction of the Whole - Steve Tolz
An Irish Country Doctor - Patrick Taylor
The Invention of Hugo Cabret - Brian Selznick

Shortest book read in 2008 (not counting books for children):
Facts the Historians Leave Out: A Confederate Primer - John S. Stilley at 76 pages

Fiction reads: 93

Favorite fiction: Argh! So hard! I loved the following:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie
An Abundance of Katherines & Looking for Alaska - John Green
The Bleeding Dusk & When Twilight Burns - Colleen Gleason
The Fabulous Saga of Alexandar Botts and the Earthworm Tractor - William Hazlett Upson
Human Voices - Penelope Fitzgerald
Talk of the Town - Lisa Wingate
The Darcys and the Bingleys - Marsha Altman
Baby Shark's High Plains Redemption - Robert Fate
The Invention of Hugo Cabret - David Selznick

Non-fiction reads: 49

Favorite non-fiction:
The Olive Season - Carol Drinkwater
Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior - Ori & Rom Brafman
Letters of a Woman Homesteader - Elinore Pruitt Stewart
Legerdemain - James J. Heaphey
Will Storr vs. the Supernatural - Will Storr
Album of the Damned - Paul Garson
Sailing Around the World alone - Joshua Slocum
A Hawaiian Reader, Vol. 1 - Stroven & Day

Number of authors new to me: 116

Biggest smile-inducers:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie

Letters of a Woman Homesteader - Elinore Pruitt Stewart
Getting Stoned with Savages - J. Maarten Troost
The Fabulous Saga of Alexander Botts, etc. - Wm. H. Upson
Human Voices - Penelope Lively
Anne of Green Gables - L. M. Montgomery
Remember Me? - Sophie Kinsella
Talk of the Town - Lisa Wingate
The Darcys and the Bingleys - Marsha Altman
An Abundance of Katherines - John Green
Perfect on Paper - Maria Murnane

What can I say? I needed smiles . . . I found them.

Early Widow - Mary Jane Worden
Eleanor Rigby - Douglas Coupland (but it also made me smile)
Looking for Alaska - John Green
Blue Sky July - Nia Wyn
Mrs. Lieutenant - Phyllis Zimbler Miller

Nightmare-inducing (literally):
I don't remember any books that triggered nightmares, this year, although there usually are a few. Everything gives me nightmares.

Most awesome writing:
An Abundance of Katherines & Looking for Alaska - John Green
A Hawaiian Reader, Vol. 1 (a collection of writings about the Hawaiian Islands, mostly by well-known writers and beginning with Captain Cook - Mark Twain's stories, in particular, are hilarious)
A Fraction of the Whole - Steve Toltz

Most educational:

The Words of War - Donagh Bracken, when combined with The West Point Atlas of War: The Civil War

Authors I wish would hurry up and write more:
John Green
Hugh Laurie (still waiting, Hugh - come on, hurry up)
Patricia Wood
Simon Van Booy . . . I am eagerly awaiting his spring release

That's all, for now! I skipped a few categories from my 2006-7 format because I'm tired. I need rest. Nighty-night!


  1. Looks like you've been busy! I can't guess at how many pages I read since I spend so much time doing audiobooks any more (I love my iPod and iTrip!).

    Have you ever noticed that your favorite authors are the ones that don't publish often enough? And then those hacks you couldn't be paid to read have a new book out every four months? :P

    Happy New Year!

  2. Lindsay,

    I don't count audio books, myself, but that's primarily because I almost never listen to audios. It doesn't take more than 5 minutes to get anywhere, in this town or I would.

    Yes, favorite authors can never write fast enough!! And, the fast writers do tend to be hacks, but I didn't say that. :)

    Happy New Year!

  3. Great job, Nancy! I especially loved your categories and may borrow some of them!

  4. It's official! I am going to have to give John Green a try. I am seeing him everywhere lately... Great list, though! I didn't do mine as in-depth as I normally do, mainly because I was such a slacker in keeping track of what I read this year!

    Happy Reading!

  5. Great wrap-up. I've seen so many people include number of pages - does this mean I need to start keeping track of that statistic too? My little brain is too feeble for all of this.

  6. Jenclair,

    Thank you! Feel free to snatch up anything you'd like. :)


    I personally believe John Green is a must-read. An Abundance of Katherines is my favorite of the two I've read, but they're both amazing.

    It's hard to think of you as a slacker in any way! I just became weary of the number of things I was having to look up and decided, "Okay, I put down the most important. Time to stop." LOL


    I don't know why or when I started keeping track of the number of pages in the books I read, but now I'm a little obsessive about it. It's probably best just to write the title, author and date. Sometimes I have to hunt down my books to gather all the info I want. Kind of silly, I suppose!

  7. It looks like you had a good reading year overall, Nancy.

    You're the reason I picked up Robert Fate's first book--I was impressed so much by your review of Baby Shark's High Plains Redemption. :-)

    I enjoyed reading through your stats and lists. You've got some great categories. I'll have to keep them in mind for next year perhaps.

  8. 142!!! Oh my, I am soooo envious! And frankly, the green tinge my skin has taken on is quite unbecoming.

  9. Love your categories! And everything gives me nightmares too. :(

  10. Wendy,

    I think I had a terrific reading year, especially given the fact that this was a rough year for my family. Thanks! :)

    I'm so glad you bought and read Baby Shark! I've got my copy sitting right beside my desk. It may have to be a squeeze-in, sometime soon.

    Feel free to use anything you want from my format! I dropped a few categories, this year. My review post was becoming far too long, so I decided I'd reached a stopping point!


    You look excellent in green. ;)

  11. Super wrap up. 142 books-wowser! That is awesome. I haven't added up all the books I read in 2008. I have to go back to my file box for the ones before I started my blog and add those in too. I hope 2009 will be another great year of reading for you.

  12. Thank you, Eva!

    I wonder why everything gives us nightmares. That seems like such an odd problem. Last night, I dreamed my cat freaked out and attacked my hand (although -- you'll love this -- the cat had turned olive green . . . which is undoubtedly somehow related to the fact that my youngest son just got a really nice, fleecy olive green shirt for Christmas) and then I dreamed I had a baby who was hydrocephalic and if you held his big old head wrong, he couldn't breathe. Argh! Horrible night!

  13. Dar,

    Thanks! I always know how many books I've read because I keep track on a monthly calendar and I have a spreadsheet, as well. Both are really convenient and handy. I'm pretty sure I started doing that because I kept buying duplicates of Dick Francis' books. His titles never really seemed to say anything about the content.

    Thank you! I hope 2009 is a great reading year for you, too!

  14. I loved reading through your lists! I'm really excited to see The Absolutely True Diary on a couple of your top lists--I hope to read it pretty soon!

    Hope 2009 is just as great!

  15. Trish,

    Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed reading all that!! The Absolutely True Diary is fantastic. My son didn't like it as much as I did, primarily because of the language, but he whipped through it so it must have been okay. :)

    Hope you have a great reading year in 2009, too, thanks!!

  16. Almost all of your favorite fiction are either books that I've loved as well or books that I really want to read! You really did fantastic this year! I'm right with you on wanting Green to pump out the books faster...though I'll take quality over quantity.

  17. Chris,

    Really? Cool. I've been thinking I need to branch out a little, this year, and give in to the tidal wave of graphic novels. You can guide me a little. We do like a lot of the same books, don't we?

    Yep, quality over quantity is better. But, gee, still . . . wouldn't it be nice if he could write as fast as he talks? :)

  18. That's A LOT of reading! :) If I haven't said this, let me do it now. Happy New Year to you and your family. :)

  19. Oooh, I hope you do read some Graphic Novels! May I suggest American Born Chinese to start with. Dewey recommended that one to me and I read it finally right after she passed away. It's fantastic...and it won the Printz!

  20. 142?!?! Wowzers! I haven't done my final tally, but I think you read about 100 books more than me. Sigh.

    I love the categories you used in your review. I need to sit down and put my list together -- maybe tomorrow if I can ignore the dust bunnies just one more weekend.

    I'll let my hubby know about Sailing Alone Around the World. :)

  21. J. Kaye,

    You know I'm a stubby shadow of a reader when compared to you, but thank you darlin'. Happy New Year! :)


    Yes, you certainly may suggest American Born Chinese. I shall write it down and look it up. Thank you!! :)


    I don't have a job. 'Nuff said. :)

    Thank you. I put those categories together in 2006 and have just stuck with the same format, although I ditched a few categories because the post was getting too long, this time around. Dust bunnies are kind of hard to ignore, but I've perfected the art of pretending they're not there. It took effort. :)

    Is Sailing, etc., one of Rod's favorites for the year? I thought it was a pure joy to read.

  22. Yep, Rod really enjoyed Slocum's book. He enjoyed it so well, he wound up annotating it for a small publisher. I'll let ya know when it gets published.

  23. Fantastic lists and I like the way you broke things down. I tried to resist but I am adding another book to my TBR list. Not bad, since you mentioned several enticing titles.

  24. I don't think our Hugh is going to be able to devote his energies to another novel as long as House is a hit. So: sad/happy happy/sad

  25. Les,

    I knew Rod was working on annotations because I commented on some, remember? But, I didn't realize he'd sold them. Wahoo! Tell him congratulations, for me!


    The trouble with these end-of-year lists is that you can't help but end up scratching down a few titles. I've had the same problem. I'd love to know which book interested you! One is good. Wahoo for self-control. :)


    The man needs to squeeze 48 hours into a day, but I think you're right. He just isn't going to find the time till the House thing ends. And, I don't want House to go away. So torn. I see you share my feelings.

  26. Wow! You had a great year of reading! Have a happy new year :)

  27. Eleanor Rigby made me cry and smile too. Alaska too, now that I think about it. And I so want to read the Sherman Alexie book!

  28. Samantha,

    Thank you! I was happy with my reading year. I hope you had a great one, too!


    Douglas Coupland and John Green thrill my little heart. You definitely need to read the Sherman Alexie book. It's funny and sad and poignant. I think you'll love it.

  29. Great wrapup! That's a lot of books! I have got to get to Gleason, I have both those and have not read either one.

    I have Will Storr on your rec. but have not gotten around to it either.

    Looking for Alaska made me cry too. I haven't gotten Abundance of Katherines yet, or Paper Towns.

  30. Thank you, Lisa!

    Colleen's books are great. You should definitely dig into the first one. Same for Will Storr, but just don't read it at night!!

    I actually liked the fact that Green made me cry -- I guess because it showed that he'd engaged me enough in Alaska's story that I still was moved, even though I knew a bit about what was going to happen (Amazon spoilers, sigh).

    Abundance of Katherines is my favorite, so far, because it made me laugh.

  31. Looks like you had a fantastic year of reading! And I do love your categories. I still need to put my year in review numbers together, but it should be up this week. Between you and Nymeth raving about John Green I think I need to try something by him this year. When I'm allowed to buy more books that is! I went a bit overboard in Canada. :P

  32. Nat,

    I was very happy with my year, overall. There were a few too many books I probably should have given up on, but I'm working on that! :)

    I can't wait to see your list. John Green is simply amazing. You must definitely read him, when the budget allows you to indulge, again!

  33. Congratulations, that's some list! I took down some of your 'biggest smile' titles, I have more trouble finding uplifting books than I do sad and disturbing ones!

  34. Joanna,

    Thank you! It can be really difficult finding a good, uplifting read that isn't completely meaningless. Have you ever read anything by Jill Mansell? She's one of my favorite British Chick Lit writers. They're not just light, they're solid storytelling.

  35. Hmm, I think I may have something of hers, I'll have a look! Thanks for the recommendation! I like Sophie Kinsella too for a feel-good read.

  36. I had a fun time reading through your stats! 142 is fabulous! WTG! I still need to get to the Patricia Wood book. It sits - just staring at me from my shelves. I'm hoping that this year I will find it in my hands.

  37. Joanna,

    Sophie Kinsella is great -- she's another one of my favorites. Mansell's books aren't quite as light, but they're still uplifting and I love her writing style.


    Thanks, I was really happy with this year's reading. I don't know if you'll like the Wood book as much as I did because I've yet to figure out what you'll love and hate (you're so unpredictable!!) but I thought it was just wonderful.

  38. LOL I literally laughed out loud. You are not alone - I have heard it many times and not just in the realm of books. I don't understand it, but it's what I'm told. :)

    BTW - I still love the kitty picture at the bottom of your blog. ADORABLE.

  39. Joy,

    I'm glad it's not just me. Usually, I'm quite good at pegging people's likes and dislikes and making recommendations, but you're one of those rare folks who baffle me! LOL

    I can't part with that bottom photo, although I've thought about updating. That's Vampire Kitty (real name: Slim), a neighborhood cat who once bit me and drew blood, but really didn't mean to. He's just very enthusiastic. I think he has a cute, very photogenic face, don't you? :)

  40. Wow! You had a busy year! Can't wait to see how many books you read this year.

    Diary of an Eccentric

  41. Anna,

    I hope I can cram in more, but I'm planning to get some decent exercise and that tends to cut into my reading a tiny bit. We'll see. :)


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