Actually, it’s books, but if I made it plural, I’d lose the oh-so-clever Talking Heads reference.
As I’ve mentioned before, I never make goals of things I love because then I get obsessive and start to forget to enjoy the thing as the goal becomes the point. Still, I do keep a list of all the books I read each year going back to 1993, mainly so I won’t forget what I read.
I noticed that this year’s list is longer than usual. I counted them up and came to 46, which I suspect is a record for me at least since 1993. I doubt I ever read that many books in the years prior either.
A friend of mine cleared the impressive 50 barrier as of Christmas Eve, and my Dad cleared 100. Since I came so close, I must admit a part of me (the part that likes nice round numbers) wants to join my goal-setting fellow readers and make a goal of topping 50 in 2009, but then I realize that reading this many books has come at a price: I wrote less than I have in years. I’m only about 10 pages into a novel that I’d rather be 100 into. I also barely blogged for six months, and I am a year behind on my National Geographics.
Nothing is free, I suppose.
I think, now, that I will set a reading goal. Read less and write more. Find the balance.
So, for what it’s worth, here are the books I read in 2008, listed in the order in which I finished them:
- Evil Under the Sun – Agatha Christie
- Blind Man’s Bluff: The Untold Story of American Submarine Espionage – Sherry Sontag & Christopher Drew
- The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
- Double Cross – James Patterson
- Day (formerly The Accident) – Elie Wiesel
- Harry Potter & The Deathly Hollows – JK Rowling
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian – Sherman Alexie
- Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone – JK Rowling
- Indian Killer – Sherman Alexie
- Harry Potter & The Chamber of Secrets – JK Rowling
- Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas – Elaine Pagels
- Classic Haiku: The Greatest Japanese Poetry from Basho, Buson, Issa, Shiki & Their Followers – Tom Lowenstein (ed.)
- The Invention of Morel and Other Stories from La Trama Celeste – Adolfo Bioy Casares
- Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats – TS Eliot
- The Waste Land and Other Poems – TS Eliot
- The Adventures of a Photographer in La Plata – Adolfo Bioy Casares
- Rumble Fish – SE Hinton
- Selected Stories – Adolfo Bioy Casares
- The Intellectual Devotional – David Kidder & Noah Oppenheim (started in 2007)
- 100 Days in Photographs – Nick Yapp
- The Columbia History of the World – Johan Garraty & Peter Gay (eds.)
- Austin: Then & Now – William Dylan Powell
- The Backyard Bird Feeder’s Bible – Sally Roth
- The Life of the Skies: Birding at the End of Nature – Jonathan Rosen
- The Mockingbird – Robin W Doughty
- The Cardinal – June Osborne
- Audubon’s Birds of America – John James Audubon
- The Purple Martin – Robin Doughty & Rob Fergus
- The Great Blue Heron – Hayward Allen
- The Ruby-throated Hummingbird – June Osborne
- The American Robin – Roland Wauer
- Moby Dick – Herman Melville
- Kingbird Highway: The Story of a Natural Obsession that Got a Little out of Hand – Ken Kaufman
- Hummingbirds of North America: Attracting, Feeding and Photographing – Dan True
- Crazy Loco – David Rice
- Barack – Jonah Winter (okay, I admit, it’s a children’s book, but it was cool)
- Rumble Fish – SE Hinton (yes, I read it twice)
- Dreams from My Father – Barack Obama
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance – Robert Pirsig
- The Audacity of Hope – Barack Obama
- Darkly Dreaming Dexter – Jeff Lindsay
- Dearly Devoted Dexter – Jeff Lindsay
- Dexter in the Dark – Jeff Lindsay
- The Prodigal Tongue: Dispatches from the Future of English – Mark Abley
- Goodbye 20th Century: A Biography of Sonic Youth – David Browne
- The Holy Bible – King James Version (yes, King James; yes, the whole thing)
You can see the period last summer when I grabbed all the books from the ornithology section of my branch library.
It’s an interesting list, with some really deep and thick tomes mixed with some light and quick reads. There were some real winners this year as well. My top five six:
- Kingbird Highway
- Life of the Skies
- Moby Dick
- The Invention of Morel and Other Stories from La Trama Celeste
- The Bible
- Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenence
What’s the best book you read this year?