Skip to content

Books Read 2008

by C. Ross Jam on February 22, 2009

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

  1. Spin State, Chris Moriarty

  2. Woken Furies, Richard K. Morgan

  3. Geek Mafia, Rick Dakan

  4. Accelerando, Charles Stross

  5. Dead Witch Walking, Kim Harrison

  6. Geek Mafia, Mile Zero, Rick Dakan

  7. Endymion, Dan Simmons

  8. Spin Control, Chris Moriarty

  9. Idoru, William Gibson

  10. All Tomorrow’s Parties, William Gibson

  11. Anansi Boys, Neil Gaiman

  12. Foundation, Isaac Asimov

  13. Everything Bad is Good For You, Steven Johnson

  14. Rendezvous with Rama, Arthur C. Clarke

  15. Brave New War, John Robb

  16. The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross

  17. The Rise of Endymion, Dan Simmons

  18. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? a.k.a Bladerunner, Philip K. Dick

  19. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson

  20. American Gods, Neil Gaiman

  21. Halting State, Charles Stross

  22. Old Man’s War, John Scalzi

  23. Foundation and Empire, Isaac Asimov

  24. The Ghost Brigades, John Scalzi

  25. Watchmen, Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons

  26. The Star Fraction, Ken Macleod

  27. The Last Colony, John Scalzi

  28. Market Forces, Richard K. Morgan

  29. 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.

From → Uncategorized