Wednesday, January 07, 2009

2008 in review: the books i read

We got back last night from a few days visiting family and friends in Toronto. I am happy but wiped out. I always feel this way after the holidays, a couple of weeks of over-indulgence, lots of socializing and the kids home all the time (although Grandma did take 5 year old D. home with her after Christmas. He got to spend a few days alone with his grandmother and T. and I got to SLEEP IN FOUR MORNINGS IN A ROW).

I also wrote and submitted the major assignment for the fiction writing course I've been taking - a 3,300 word outline of a novel (I am feeling very proud of myself but also a little daunted).

It was all great fun (at least most of the time) but didn't leave much time for review and introspection. So I hope you'll all bear with me as I engage in a little of both over the next few days.

I am starting with the easiest thing to review and the task that requires the fewest brain cells - a list of the books I read this year.

I set out to read 56 books, as part of the 888 Challenge. I ended up reading 65 books, which strikes me as unbelievable (and some of them were really big books). Then again, I didn't watch very much TV or knit that much this year. And I do have those days in bed after every chemo treatment.

My eight categories were: mysteries, non-fiction, memoir, Canadian, women authors, early review books and series. I won't bother to sort them by category here, as so many books could fit into more than one category.

The books here are all ones that I read from cover to cover. In general, if I finished a book it means that I liked it. The only time I forced myself to finish a book was when I had committed to review it. I already wrote about my favourite books as part of this book meme.

It is also worth noting that the majority (41) of these books came, at least initially from the public library, although I went on to buy some for myself and others to give as gifts.

I love to talk about books, so please feel free to ask me for more info about any of these. You can also find all the books I have been reading since the beginning of 2007 over at Library Thing. Let me know if I can find you there, too.

Here is the list, in no particular order:

White Corridor: A Peculiar Crimes Unit Mystery by Christopher Fowler

Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama

The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan (reviewed here)

Cloud of Bone by Bernice Morgan

Atonement by Ian McEwan

The Girls by Lori Lansens

The Retreat by David Bergen (reviewed here)

Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson

Tenderness Of Wolves by Stef Penney

Before and After Getting Your Puppy: The Positive Approach to Raising a Happy, Healthy, and Well-Behaved Dog by Dr. Ian Dunbar

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

Forty Words for Sorrow by Giles Blunt

White Teeth by Zadie Smith

Escape from Amsterdam by Barrie Sherwood (reviewed here)

Body Surfing: A Novel by Anita Shreve

Death Message by Mark Billingham

SOUS LES VENTS DE NEPTUNE (Wash This Blood Clean from My Hand) by Fred Vargas

Artists Way 10th Anniversary Edition by Julia Cameron

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers

The Book Of Negroes by Lawrence Hill (published as Someone Knows My Name outside Canada)

Belly of the Whale by Linda Merlino (Reviewed here)

The Whiskey Rebels: A Novel by David Liss (Reviewed here)

Beneath the Bleeding by Val McDermid

Malice Aforethought by Francis Isles

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee Casts Off: The Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee

My Mother's Daughter: A Memoir by Rona Maynard

Radiance by Shaena Lambert

Persepolis 2: The Story of a Return by Marjane Satrapi

The Chameleon's Shadow by Minette Walters

Looking Down by Frances Fyfield

The Lemur by Benjamin Black (reviewed here)

Too Hot To Handle by Mary Jane Maffini

Things I Learned From Knitting (Whether I Wanted To or Not) by Stephanie Pearl McPhee

Home Girl: Building a Dream House on a Lawless Block by Judith Matloff (reviewed here)

Life Mask by Emma Donoghue

Inheritance Of Loss by Kiran Desai

Unravelled by Robyn Harding

The Deceived by Brett Battles (reviewed here)

Lethal Intent by Quintin Jardine

T Is For Trespass by Sue Grafton

The South Beach Diet by Arthur Agatston (reviewed here)

The House at Sugar Beach: In Search of a Lost African Childhood by Helene Cooper

Bones to Ashes: A Novel by Kathy Reichs

Law of Dreams by Peter Behrens

The Queen of Sleepy Eye by Patti Hill (reviewed here)

The Ghost by Robert Harris

Run by Ann Patchett

Dying to Sin by Stephen Booth

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

Mason-Dixon Knitting Outside the Lines: Patterns, Stories, Pictures, True Confessions, Tricky Bits, Whole New Worlds, and Familiar Ones, Too by Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne

Dream Chasers by Barbara Fradkin

The Outlander by Gil Adamson

Raven Black by Ann Cleeves

Hell Bent: A Brady Coyne Novel by William G. Tapply (reviewed here)

The Cleaner by Brett Battles

The Ethical Assassin: A Novel by David Liss

No Such Creature by Giles Blunt (reviewed here)

The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

Affinity by Sarah Waters

Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland (reviewed here)

Cold In Hand by John Harvey

Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez

This took up way too much time. It's now Wednesday, two days later than when I started and I have had chemo in between.

I hope somebody finds this to be of at least a little interest.

Maybe I'll go read a book now.


angela said...

wow! and you'd think that i have tons of time to read (well, i do, and i have no excuse for why my list is too pitiful to post).

well, seeing your list is the catalyst for me to get back to actually DOING my favorite hobby


Anonymous said...

Some of the content is very worthy of my drawing, I like your information!
costume jewelry