2008 was a good year for reading. I committed myself to reading more classics and award-winners, which created a big jump in quality. But I also let myself off the hook for reading brain-candy and racked up some nice numbers in the ‘pure fun’ category. I also worked on the art of not reading: of recognizing that moment when a book is irredeemable, and giving myself permission to just put it down and let it go unfinished. I didn’t bother with a ‘worst of list’ for this reason – most books that were truly terrible were thrown aside before I finished them (and thus have no rating). I managed to read my number one book in fiction and in non-fiction right at the start of the year (January), but there were enough goodies packed in that the rest of the year never felt like a letdown. In fact, it was pretty darn good.
Final tally for the year: 67 books, 23,268 pages.
Here they are, the best, and worst, books I read in 2008.
Top Five Non-Fiction Reads of 2008
(Note: These are books I read in 2008, not necessarily books that were released in 2008)
5. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
4. The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad
3. A Short History of Myth by Karen Armstrong
2. 1968: The Year That Rocked the World by Mark Kurlansky
1. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Honourable Mention: I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert.
Top 10 Fiction Reads of 2008
(Note: Again, these are books I read in 2008, not necessarily books that were released in 2008)
10. Say You’re One of Them by Uwem Akpan
9. The Berlin Stories by Christopher Isherwood
8. Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith
7. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr
6. Testimony by Anita Shreve
5. The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
4. The Learners by Chip Kidd
3. The Pirate’s Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson
2. The Gathering by Anne Enright
1. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Honourable Mentions: The Blood of Flowers by Anita Amirrezvani, Daniel Deronda by George Eliot, Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy, Close by Martina Cole, The Good Soldier by Ford Madox Ford, Howard’s End by E.M. Forster, In Hovering Flight by Joyce Hinnefeld,The Host by Stephenie Meyer.
Happy reading in 2009!