Friday, November 28, 2008

All the books I read in 2008

Ah, the Friday after Thanksgiving... lucky for me I have the day off, and no shopping to do (all my Christmas gifts come from the bookstore), and can bask in the indolence of it all. It's a good day to catch up a little and think ahead a little, and some of the best-of lists have made me want to take a look at my own reading for the year.

The New York Times has done a clever thing: in addition to their usual "official" lists of the Top 100 and the Top 10 Books of 2008, they 've had their regular book reviewers pick their favorite books of the year. Michiko Kakutani and Janet Maslin both list their own personal top 10 here -- the only thing I wish is that they'd talk about why they loved these, rather than just including clips from their Times review.

I recently took a look at various lists of my own reading (our store staff picks, my little notebook, my Goodreads page, etc.) and compiled them, and somehow I seem to have read over 75 books so far this year. And I think this might have missed some that I forgot to write down.* (This counts trade editions of comics, though not individual issues -- so if you feel strongly that comics aren't books, for you the list is shorter.) They're not all newly published, though most are.

I've been trying to figure out how to talk about my reading, in a way that would be fun for me and useful for recommendations. Reviews of every book? Just the top 10? How could I possibly choose?

So I'm compromising. I'm listing all of the books I've read this year below. And then I'm copying a page from the Times, so to speak, and giving you my own list of favorites from this year. I couldn't manage to narrow it down to 10 -- I've got two dozen. And I couldn't even say these are the best books I read -- I can only tell you what I love about them. (I've also limited my favorites of the year to books that are currently available -- I read some galleys of books that aren't out yet, but that does you no good if you're thinking of buying them for Christmas, and I'll have time to write about them when they come out.)

But 24 makes for a nice Advent calendar sort of number -- one book per day, every day in December through Christmas Eve. So each day this coming month I'll post a short yearbook-style review of a book I loved this year. Hope it will spark your interest, give you some good gift ideas, and keep you entertained in one of the busiest bookstore seasons (because I can write them in advance and schedule them, ha!)

So to start out, here's the list of my reading for this year -- in alphabetical order, not reading order. (The Favorites are highlighted, just for a sneak peak -- if the numbers don't seem like they work out, don't worry, all will be explained.) Enjoy, and happy reading!

(Anyone else up for posting a list of every book they've read in 2008? Anybody want to share their own best-loved reads of the year?)

The 13 Clocks by James Thurber
The A.B.C. Murders by Agatha Christie
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
Aya of Yop City by Marguerite Abouet
The Best of the Spirit by Will Eisner (introduction by Neil Gaiman)
The Book of Other People edited by Zadie Smith
Brooklyn Was Mine edited by Valerie Steiker and Chris Knutsen
The Customer Is Always Wrong: The Retail Chronicles edited by Jeff Martin
The Dark Knight Returns
by Frank Miller
The E-Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber
The Escapists by Brian K. Vaughan with various artists
The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For by Allison Bechdel
Fables: The Good Prince by by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham
Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
Flight Explorer Vol. 1 edited by Kazu Kibuishi
Freddie and Me by Mike Dawson
Free-Range Chickens by Simon Rich
A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam
Goldengrove by Francine Prose
The Gone-Away World by Nick Harkaway
Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
Gus and His Gang by Chris Blain
Hellboy: Darkness Calling by Mike Mignola
Heroes Vol. 1 by Tim Sale & various artists
Heroes Vol. 2 by Tim Sale & various artists
Home by Marilynne Robinson
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
In Odd We Trust by Dean Koontz
Incognegro by Mat Johnson
The Kingdom of Ordinary Time by Marie Howe
Laika by Nick Abadzis
Life Sucks by Jessica Abel and Warren Pleece
The Lost Colony Vol. 3 by Grady Klein
Manga Hamlet by William Shakespeare, Richard Appignanesi and Emma Vieceli
Maps and Legends by Michael Chabon
Marvels by Kurt Busiek and Alex Ross
Mating in Captivity by Esther Perel
Monsieur Leotard by Eddie Campbell
Mudbound by Hilary Jordan
A Murder Is Announced by Agatha Christie
Netherland by Joseph O'Neill
The Night Of Your Life by Jesse Reklaw
No One Can Rescue Me by Elizabeth Daly
Personal Days by Ed Park
Poetry & Commitment by Adrienne Rich
Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis
The Rabbi's Cat 2 by Joann Sfar
Rock 'n' Roll by Tom Stoppard
Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead (April 2009 publication; I'll definitely write about this later)
Scott Pilgrim vol. 1: Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Scott Pilgrim vol. 2: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Scott Pilgrim vol. 3: Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Scott Pilgrim vol. 4: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together by Bryan Lee O'Malley
Sex Sleep Eat Drink Dream by Jennifer Ackerman
Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow (HarperCollins)
The Size of the World by Joan Silber
Sloth by Gilbert Hernandez
So Brave, Young and Handsome by Leif Enger
Soon I Will Be Invincible by Austin Grossman
Stagger Lee by Derek McCulloch and Shepherd Hendrix
Starman Omnibus Vol. 1 by James Robinson and Tony Harris
The Story of a Marriage by Andrew Sean Greer
The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
Take This Bread by Sara Miles
Tales from Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan
The End of the Jews by Adam Mansbach
Three Shadows by Cyril Pedrosa
Time and Again by Jack Finney
Tinkers by Paul Harding (January publication -- I'll write about this next year)
Too Cool To Be Forgotten by Alex Robinson
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
Who Can Save Us Now? edited by Owen King & John McNally
Y: The Last Man vol. 1: Unmanned by Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra
Y: The Last Man vol. 2: Cycles by Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra
Y: The Last Man vol. 3: One Small Step by Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra
Y: The Last Man vol. 4: Safeword by Brian K. Vaughan & Pia Guerra
You Don't Love Me Yet by Jonathan Lethem
Zot!: The Complete Black and White Collection by Scott McCloud

* note: I have edited this list since I originally posted it, adding some books I read but forgot to write down, so the total is now over 75.


Becky said...

I'm planning on posting a long list of books I've read in 2008--but I'm waiting until the end of the year to post it. I'll be posting a list of special favorites around then as well.

Bookavore said...

You don't have to work today? Lucky! (Of course, I am posting this at work--so why am I complaining?)

I think I will post a list of all the books I read this year, since I totally dropped the ball on blogging all of them right around May.

P. J. Grath said...

Groan! I've thought I should do this, but I didn't keep a list, so it would mean going back over all my posts for the year to get the titles from there--knowing the list would be incomplete. Maybe before the end of January I'll find the time. Certainly not in what I hope will be a busy month ahead in my bookstore. But you've goaded me, and it's a good idea.

Ted said...

Nice blog! I have my list posted on my sidebar, in case you care to visit.

S.R. Squire said...

"Fables: The Good Prince by by Bill Willingham and Mark Buckingham"
Yes! Cameron and I just bout Fables 11, "War and Pieces," and it was great. This is an exciting and inspiring list you've made, lady. :)

Anonymous said...

My list would just depress me. Too many books started and too few finished. Usually read about 50 all the way through, but probably read multiple chapters of another 2-3 each week that don't captivate to the same degree for whatever reason.