The year in books

Every year, I mean to keep a list of all the books I read that year so I can look back at the end of the year and be proud of how much reading I was able to do. Every year, I forget. Will 2009 be any better? Stay tuned.

So, I have to compile this list from memory. Which makes it extremely not accurate because I’m sure I’ll forget some things and other things I can’t remember if I read them this year or last year or what.

Mostly what I read was a lot of crap. Well, not necessarily crap, but if it were food, it would be junk food. Generally speaking, I’m okay with this because I primarily read for entertainment and escape and that pretty much guarantees I’m going to read fluff of little redeeming value. It’s only when I see other people’s lists of books they read this year that I feel a little sheepish.

But, whatever, on to the list!

So, apparently, this was the year of the vampire novel for me. I had never really gotten into vampires before (I stopped reading Anne Rice after Interview with a Vampire) but for some reason, this year they spoke to me. Don’t judge me.

1-8. Sookie Stackhouse novels by Charlaine Harris. These are the vampire books I started with. I think they may be my favorites of the vampire genre.

9-24. All of the Anita Blake novels by Laurell K. Hamilton. These are much darker than the Sookie Stackhouse books. Also, much smuttier. They start out okay (that is to say, the first several books are smut-free) and I got invested in the characters and then the characters started having sex and then it got more and more graphic as a succubus got introduced, because, well, you can’t have succubi without sex, right? I don’t normally like reading about graphic sex because it embarrasses me, but, dammit, I wanted to know what happened to Anita! And, just like that I had read all 16 books. But, I just read somewhere that Anita Blake is considered “urban fantasy” which sounds way better than “vampire porn” and makes me feel slightly better about reading them. I’m still not sure I want my mother to know I read them, though.

25-28. The Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. I know. I probably just lost the respect of at least half of you. Let me explain. I got sucked into these books because a friend of mine asked me if I wanted to go to the movie which I did and, having seen the movie, I still couldn’t understand the hoopla surrounding it, so I read the first book thinking this might give me a better idea of what the fuss is about. Then, I wanted to know what happens in the 2nd book, and, well, you get the idea. I have lots to say about these books, mostly about how I cringe to think of pre-teens reading these books because I think the main characters are really, really not good role models and also, if a boy is following you around everywhere you go and crawling into your room at night to watch you sleep (especially, especially if he is crawling into your room to watch you sleep, holy shit!), that boy is a STALKER and you need to report it to the police. That is really not okay behavior. But, hello, this is fluff. Much like cotton candy. You don’t read it with the expectation that it is going to be great literature. And, just like cotton candy, the closer you get to the end, the more you wonder why you are partaking of it, but, it’s cotton candy, you gotta keep going til it’s all gone (by the way, book 4? What.the.fuck??? Was Meyer smoking crack? Srsly). Perhaps, I should write more about this in another post.

So, that’s it with the vampires. And werewolves. Because, apparently, if you have vampires, you also have to have werewolves. At least in my experience.

29-34. The Merry Gentry novels by Laurell K. Hamilton. So, I really should have known that these books would have just as much graphic sex as the Anita Blake books (what with them having the same author), but, dudes, the main character is a faerie princess and I just could not refuse. I haven’t read the most recent one yet and I haven’t decided if I’m going to.

35-46. Riftwar books by Raymond E. Feist. Shadow of a Dark Queen, Rise of a Merchant Prince, Rage of a Demon King, Shards of a Broken Crown, Krondor: The Betrayal, Krondor: The Assassin, Krondor: Tear of the Gods, Talon of the Silver Hawk, King of Foxes, Exile’s Return, Flight of the Nighthawks, Into a Dark Realm. I still need to read Wrath of a Mad God to finish the series.

47. Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card. Got this one for Christmas this year. Was a fun read. Wish I had reread Ender’s Game before I read this latest one, though.

48. Tales of Beadle the Bard by J. K. Rowling. Also a Christmas present. It’s just three fairy tales so it went by quickly.

49-51. The Wee Free Men, A Handful of Sky, and The Wintersmith all by Terry Pratchett. These are technically kids books, but I love me some well-written kids books. They take place in the Discworld universe and have an awesome female protagonist. Way better role model than Bella of Twilight.

52. The Best Science Writing of 2007 by Gina Kolata Cohen. I think there may be a few essays in this I still haven’t read. I’ll get around to it one of these days.

53. The Duchess by Amanda Foreman. I saw the movie so I was curious to read the book. I haven’t finished the book, but I’ve read as much as I think I’m going to. Not that it’s a bad read. It just started to depress me, and, having the problems I do with depression and so forth, I can’t be reading depressing shit.

54. The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman. I think I actually started this in 2007 but whatever. I listened to this book rather than read it and the audiobook had a full cast so it was pretty fun. However, for reasons I haven’t entirely been able to figure out, I’m not in a hurry to read the 2nd book. I think this is partially because I’m upset about what Lord Asreal (sp?) did at the end of book 1 and I really don’t want to read more about him. Asshole.

55. Mason-Dixon Knitting: Knitting Outside the Lines by Kay Gardiner and Ann Meador Shayne. Knitting books do so count. Especially if they are full of essays. So there.

I think that may be it. I’ll add more if I think of them. Also, I reread a bunch of Terry Pratchett books but I don’t think I should count them toward the total.

So, wow. I read 55 books this year. Huh. I would have sworn it wasn’t that many. I think the key to the volume of books was that I read several series. Often, when I start reading a series, I obsessively read that series until I get through all of the books. And by obsessively, I mean, read while eating, read instead of sleeping and read while walking down the street (which works better in the summertime because it stays light later). Also, a large number of those books were low on substance which makes them quick reads.

Additionally, I started a few books that I then put down for one reason or another (probably to read a vampire book) and still intend to finish. So, I guess I’ll count those in 2009.

Before I started this list (back when I was thinking I hadn’t read a lot of books this year), I was considering making a goal to read X number of books in 2009. This seems less necessary, now. So, instead of making a goal for the total number of books, I will make it my goal to read at least 12 non-fiction books in 2009. That’s only 1 a month. That seems doable, right?

So, you guys have any suggestions for non-fiction books?  Nothing too heavy, mind you.  Also, what did you guys read this year?

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7 thoughts on “The year in books

  1. I always wish I’d kept a track of the books I’d read too but never do. That being said though, I know that this year I read:
    – all 17 of the Rebus series (Ian Rankin)
    – all 14 of the Harry Bosch series (Michael Connelly)
    – the first two Twilight books (… meh)
    – just finished Sea of Poppies (Amitav Ghosh)
    – currently 2 down with 16 to go in the Alan Banks series (Peter Robinson)

    This is why I don’t get any work done!

  2. Wow – that’s a lot of reading! I thought my 2008 resolution to read 1 book a month was good 😛 I made my resolution, and actually read 13! I found a great way to keep track of the books I read is with the Visual Bookshelf application on Facebook.

    I read a couple good non-fiction books this year: Eat, Pray, Love was fantastic, and for a light and cute read, Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat that Touched the World was great! Three Cups of Tea was also good, but long-winded in some parts. All are great real-life stories.

  3. Hey I landed on your site while looking for info on IP. I have to suggest that you try Sherilyn Kenyon for the best vampire books. She intertwines the Greek pantheon with vampires and the books are great fun to read. Start as far back as you can get chronologically in the Darkhunter series and go from there.

  4. Wow, 55 books!! That’s amazing. I read the Golden Compass this year too (mostly because of the movie), and I wasn’t too impressed either. I am told that that the later books are more preachy (kind of an evangelical atheism), so I’m not too excited to read them. I also lost my taste for vampire literature a few years ago when because I realized that it’s basically just a metaphor for sex, and all of the vampire novels kind of turned into goth romance novels. Have you ever read the book _Intuition_ by Allegra Goodman. It is the most accurate portrayal of life in a biosciences lab I have ever read. You should check it out.

  5. I have two more recommodations for non-fiction books for you:
    (1) “The Cloudspotter’s Guide” from Gavin Pretor-Pinney
    It’s as the name says a book about clouds. It explains why clouds are nice (sometimes that really needs an explanation ;-)), the main cloud types and tells little real stories about each one. A kind of science book but not really complicated and with a lot of humor. I really enjoyed reading it and I looked up at the sky a lot more afterwards.
    Another nice science book for everyone is “A short history of nearly everything” from Bill Bryson, but you might know that already. Also a kind of science book for everyone with a lot of nice stories of the personalities and the weirdness of famous scientists. You wonder afterwards, if you should really aim to become one…
    I hope you like these books. But if you stick to these kind of books in you non-fiction session, then your plan of 13 books in 2009 is a bit overambitious.

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