2008 Book Round-Up

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Inspired, as always, by my book-loving friend Jenny, here are my 2008 reading stats:

I read a total of 52 books this year. Since my goal was one per week, I more or less made it. Except that the 52 counts the 9 books I didn't finish or the two that have progressed into 2009. More depressingly, this is down from 75 last year! I read only 69% of the books this year that I did last year! 28 (54%) of the books were non-fiction, 24 (46%) were fiction. This is also a change from last year, in which I read only 31% fiction and 69% non fiction. 14 of this year's books (27%) were audio books, down from 39% last year.

Sad state of affairs. I definitely need to make reading a priority again in 2009.

My biggest surprise of the year was Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. It was so hyped that I expected it to be terrible, especially given the pre-conception I picked up somewhere about Didion as shallow and vapid. It's actually probably the best account of grief I've ever read.

The year's biggest letdown was Ariel Gore's How To Become a Famous Writer Before You're Dead. I like Ariel Gore's non-fiction quite a lot, in general, but I got nothing from that book.

My favorites of the year were Alison Bechadel's amazing graphic novel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic and Sharon O'Brien's, The Family Silver: A Memoir of Depression and Inheritance.

The most overrated book I read this year was Zadie's Smith's god-awful White Teeth. I didn't even finish it. Terrible. Worse, even, than the horrible book I read by her last year. I'm so done with Zadie Smith.

There were quite a few books I couldn't or just didn't finish this year, but the most memorable one is The Worst Hard Time, which I didn't finish last year either and finally gave up on for good this year.

The books I most recommend this year are definitely Fun Home and The Year of Magical Thinking.

Books that carried over from 2008 to 2009 are Diana Abu-Jaber's Crescent, which I am liking OK, but going through fairly slowly, and Mary Roach's Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, which I am listening to on audio book and enjoying quite a bit. I expect I'll finish both of those.

This year, I maintain by one book/week goal, with the caveat that I want to actually *finish* one book/week. And if I could read more fiction, that would be good, too.

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I think it was Zadie Smith's "On Beauty" that made me want to punch something.

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