Books Read 2008
One of the big goals I had for 2008 was to read more books. I started out with a focused target of approximately 30 pages a day for all of January. That stuck as a regular habit, which was amplified by starting to take public transportation into work. An hour and half each way on Metro and a commuter bus (yes, I know), provides plenty of personal time. There’s always a tension between diddling with the laptop and reading, but pursuing a good story turned into a pretty consistent habit.
Anyhoo, I finished 30 books in the calendar year, which is a pretty big achievement relative to most other Americans. Small bar I know. But I’ve got a high maintenance youngster, who defaults to highest priority in time allocation. Heck, it’s highly significant relative to myself. I don’t think I’ve read more than 10 books in a year for the past decade or so. To commemorate the milestone, I’m collecting some final thoughts.
Without further adieu, here’s the roster:
1. Spook Country, William Gibson
Spin State, Chris Moriarty
Woken Furies, Richard K. Morgan
Geek Mafia, Rick Dakan
Accelerando, Charles Stross
Dead Witch Walking, Kim Harrison
Geek Mafia, Mile Zero, Rick Dakan
Endymion, Dan Simmons
Spin Control, Chris Moriarty
Idoru, William Gibson
All Tomorrow’s Parties, William Gibson
Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman
Foundation, Isaac Asimov
Everything Bad is Good For You, Steven Johnson
Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke
Brave New War, John Robb
The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross
The Rise of Endymion, Dan Simmons
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? a.k.a Bladerunner, Philip K. Dick
Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson
American Gods, Neil Gaiman
Halting State, Charles Stross
Old Man’s War, John Scalzi
Foundation and Empire, Isaac Asimov
The Ghost Brigades, John Scalzi
Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
The Star Fraction, Ken Macleod
The Last Colony, John Scalzi
Market Forces, Richard K. Morgan
Second Foundation, Isaac Asimov
The obvious theme is science fiction, with a dash of urban fantasy and a touch of non-fiction. Within the science fiction bunch, I tended towards a lot of “new guard” types such as Scalzi, Stross, Simmons, Morgan, and Macleod. There was also a healthy dose of “classic” types such as Dick and Asimov.
My nonexistent audience obviously knows I’ve been working through a series of personal mini-reviews. The currently completed ones are linked to above. As I finish more I’ll be updating this post. With any luck I’ll be done by the end of January 2009. As you can see, I didn’t have any luck in this regard.
Best of the year? Tough call that I’m not going to make a singular choice on. Here are the contenders: Old Man’s War, The Ghost Brigades, Anansi Boys, The Atrocity Archives, The Rise of Endymion. Watchmen is in a class by itself, but despite being 20+ years old, it’s still a modern classic. Side note. I’m so old as a teenager I collected, and still have, the original 12 issue Watchmen comic book series. With the Watchmen movie coming out in 2009, it might be time for an appraisal.
The only thing I can’t recommend is Dead Witch Walking. The romance and relationship driven wing of urban fantasy is just not my cup of tea.
In 2009, as I said, I plan to finish the 2008 reviews (Done!). I’m planning on keeping the reading and reviewing habit as well, with a goal of 35 books. (Way behind though at this point.) I now find myself in a position where new author choices aren’t ridiculously obvious. I’ll commit now to one new (to me) author, Iain M. Banks. There’s still some Stross to be had and since this was my first PKD dose, I’ll probably add some more. Of course, I could also adjust the mix. Once upon a time, I read a lot of fantasy, but the vibe from that community doesn’t seem to be in tune with my adult sensibilities. Other than that, I’ll play it by ear.