Annual Book Roundup 2008

I read a whopping 59 books this year, and that doesn’t even count all of my travel books.  That’s a whopping 15 more than last year!  I have started to include books I consult for travel, though I am still inconsistent on that because I try not to add it unless I really have gone through the whole thing.  I also added a “gave up” category.  I think giving up on books really allowed me to get to books I wanted to read!

47 non-fiction/80% (27 last year/41%>last year)

12 fiction/20% (17 last year/41%<last year)

I was consistent for the last two years, so this is amazingly different.  Screw you, fiction!

16 were audio, a few less than last year.  My love for the NYPL digital library has gone a little south.  The search and hold systems are painful to use.

This year I tried a lot of new authors, and have been reading a lot of self-help-type books.  I am very interested in life coaching after reading things last year like “The Four Hour Workweek,” “Stumbling Upon Happiness,” and things of the GTD ilk.  All of these seem like real common sense to me, and convince me I should be a life coach.  Food books, as always, were prominent, with more gardening books.

I have only met two of this year’s authors (Kinky Friedman and Simon Winchester), but I have sustained some personal correspondence with one (Ben Woods), and seen two in person (David Sedaris and Chuck Palanhiuk).

Biggest surprise:

  • Matt Ruff–that man is awesome
  • The Developers by Ben Woods–He self published it and sent it to me for free. I thought it would be crap. But it was really good!
  • Biggest letdown: Now You See Him-compared to Donna Tartt, moody, tense with no payoff. It was billed as mysterious and shocking and was neither.

    Favorites: All Michael Largo and Matt Ruff books, Micronations, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, Finding George Orwell in Burma

    Most Overrated: Now You See Him,

    Books I could not finish this year included: Slackonomics; Dear American Airlines; The Wicker Man; Girls Who Like Boys Who Like Boys; Tweak

    I most recommend: Anything Matt Ruff; George Orwell in Burma

    Best book tech this year:Magnetic bookmarks! Goodreads–helps me keep track of what I am reading, and I love seeing what other people are reading.   And I converted to Bookmooch this year; Also, Powells.com lets you sell books on the Innernets! I guess magazines in Google Books, though I find it annoying to search

    Worst book tech: Espresso Book Machines in libraries. Um, all libraries already have a better quality copy of Tom Sawyer, NYPL.  I get how hot the machines are.  I love them.  They make me all excited.  They are just not library relevant right now.  Try a better ebook system if you are so bug nutty for tech.

    Book tech I am still not into:  Though I like it in concept, and I love the people that work there, I still have no idea why anyone would want to catalog their personal library.  I catalog things when people pay me to do so and I jettison books as soon as possible.  Sorry, Librarything.  Kudos re: early reviewer copies and Santathing though.

    Book Wish(es) for 2k9: An e-book reader I can somehow check books out from the library with; Less crazy DRMs on ebooks I check out from Overdrive (hey, why can’t I check a book back in?!); A more universal book wishlist export standard (so every time a new book website comes out, I don’t have to put all 658 books on the new list manually.  Seriously people, Amazon is the standard.  Find a way to import it.

    11 comments

    1. Mark says:

      Thanks for the sharing! :-)

      Mine will be up soon and I think you’ll see a few surprises. ;-)

      I also read a *lot* more books this year; pretty much a doubling.

    2. jenny says:

      yay I am glad someone else is doing it too!

      • Angel says:

        I love linkoog at the box day pictures and seeing all those good books we read so long ago. “My Father’s Dragon” (in the second picture) was a favorite here!

    3. Grace says:

      Mine is up today. I can’t believe how little I read this year. I’m embarrassed, honestly.

    4. jenny says:

      it’s funny you say that because i was just looking at my friend mark’s list and he read way more than me, and I was feeling the same way. I think non-public transit people are disadvantaged! :)

      Also, it depends on the books you are reading. A couple of years ago I read the Fountainhead, and that should be worth five books!

    5. Mark says:

      Very true about the public transit, although my bus ride is pretty short. I also read my “bus book” at lunch so perhaps an hour a day, usually a bit less. So “transit” time helps me.

      As for kind of books, several of mine were poetry books so fairly short and fast reads. Still, some fairly hefty reads on my list.

      I don’t think one should be embarrassed by comparison with others, though. One should only be embarrassed (if that) by their own efforts, or lack thereof. If you gave it your best shot then chalk it up as a slack year and move forward. If you actually slacked and want to read more then chide yourself and do better.

    6. jenny says:

      I agree Mark. I think the number’s not extremely important. This year I conquer the things I haven’t read on my own bookshelf. If I can do that, I’ll be amazed.

    7. Mark says:

      Whoa, Nelly! If I could accomplish that that’d be a serious accomplishment (and amount of reading)!

      But, yes, I know you keep far fewer books on hand than me; not that that’s a bad thing. Still trying to get rid of some and should do even more weeding. :-(

    8. I saw this listed on weblogs dot com

    9. Ben says:

      Thanks for the shout out! Wow, 59 books read in a year is impressive. Also, it’s coincidental that the two most famous authors I’ve met in person are David Sedaris and Chuck Palanhiuk as well. Chuck was in Baltimore recently, but I didn’t have a chance to see him then.

    10. Ben says:

      No problem Ben. I think Malcolm Gladwell and Simon Winchester are my most famous authors I have met. And both I have met more than once, oddly.

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