My 2008 Year of Books Review

I did a very geeky thing.   I copied my list of books read for 2008 and pasted them into Excel.  Then I added interesting-to-me columns  (setting, author’s country, genre & subgenre, etc) and SORTED and sorted and sorted and counted and sorted and played and analyzed.     You can see the whole list on my Past Tense Page.

I am not sure what the results tell me but I had fun on an evening (when I could have been reading?!)

TOTAL.    I attempted 78 books and completed 73.  Three of the five I gave up on, I hope to try again.  [Goal was 33!]

GENRE.  Contemporary Literature was my biggest category with 20.   I read 1 Alternative History (and it barely rated 1 star), 1 History, 3 Historical Fiction, 1 Inspirational and 1 Self-Help, 3 Fantasy (1 Creepy?), 3 Dystopia, 3 Humor, 3 Short Story Collections, 4 Childrens, 5 in a category I called ‘Light’ (chick lit?), 4 Classics, 6 Crime, 12 Nonfiction (includes 6 Memoirs).   I had one I called Southern and I ‘m not sure it should also be Classic and/or Contemporary Lit.

AUTHORS.   Most authors, an overwhelming majority,  were New-To-Me.    I only read 7 books of a ‘repeat’ (twice) author and I read my fourth book by a favorite author, Tracy Kidder.    I read all six books by three New-To-Me authors in2008:   Kazuo Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go, When We Were Orphans), Ian McEwan (Atonement*, On Chesil Beach) and Neil Gaiman (Stardust, I finished Coraline today.)

I read 6 books on the 1001 Books To Read Before I Die list and have 2 months to read 4 more?    Probably not going to happen.   Since it doesn’t really bother me to type that.

LENGTH.   I didn’t track number of pages…  (darn; a goal for 2009)    BUT, I would/could guess that the longest books I read were The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.      I read a LOT of short books.

CHALLENGES.   I officially completed the Novella Challenge.   I was frustrated by the 1% of 1001 Books To Read Before Dying.    I don’t think I officially signed up for the In Their Shoes – but could easily have completed that.    I abandoned the How To Read Challenge but need and want to revisit that.     I have been suckered by even more challenges heading into this coming year and still want to tell you about my choices for the Dewey Challenge.      But I’m intimidated by the numbers of book titles that comprises the 09 list that is forming!

FAVORITES.   I gave 10 books a 5 star rating, 28 books a 4 star rating, 20 got 3 stars, 6 got 2 stars and 4 got 1 star.   And my count is  not adding up so I must not have rated some!   Oh well.

and my best of the best?    These are rated such in that they surprised me…

I’jaam by Sinan Antoon

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn (I’m sure that reading this while watching the Michael Phelps swim at the Olympics has something to do with my fondness for this…)

Intepreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

* Oh yea, Atonement was a re-read…)


16 thoughts on “My 2008 Year of Books Review

  1. I do this every year! In fact I have several spreadsheets for telling me various things, some of my own design, but the main one for each individual year is developed by someone else!

  2. This was great! And I tracked my book in Excel this year too — not as complete as yours but I might have to make some adjustments for 2009. You had some great ideas. If you are interested, I posted my 2008 reading list here:

    I just assigned a letter grade to each book. It was interesting to do as I often forget about books I read in the beginning of the year. And the other weird thing was that I hadn’t even heard of blogging at the beginning of the year — it was just something I had done for myself as I was curious how many books I had read in a year. Turns out it was quite helpful as I discovered blogging in November and this was a great resource for me.

    And I only read one book by Tracy Kidder (House) but I’ve always wanted to read more. Thanks for reminding me — I’ll have to get some more!

    I like your letter grades… I’m glad you joined us geeky-book-bloggers… and you must read more Tracy Kidder. He’s one of my favorites.

  3. You’ve got me thinking that I need to get more organized. I don’t do this at all. I don’t even review every book I read, let alone rate it and categorize it. I’m very impressed.

    I was thinking that one reason I started a book blog was so I could keep better track. Now I’m also into which is way easy to add books when I see a great review and now I’m putting them into a spreadsheet? I’m just getting more complicated, I think. sigh.

  4. I just went to look at your list, and we’ve read 12 of the same books this year. How ’bout that!! Methinks we have some of the same influences, i.e. we are reading some of the same blogs!

    Methinks you are correct!

  5. What a great post. I only started a reading list halfway through the year, so I can’t do this – maybe I’ll do it next year.

    oh Kathy! You are so sweet. I cherish your visits here.

  6. Pingback: Year in Review 2008 : Bart’s Bookshelf

  7. I posted mine a few days ago… it was fun doing it! It was a great accomplishment to me, haha!

    Here’s to another great reading year, Care!
    Happy New Year!

    I know – fresh slate, clean start, the race is on!

  8. Wait, it’s a geeky thing to have an excel spreadsheet of our books?! Ha,ha… I guess we are all a bit book mad right? 🙂

    Here’s wishing you a great reading year in ’09!

    Happy New Year to you! I’m adding to my spreadsheet now for 2009! yippee!!

  9. Very cute, Care! I’m glad you liked “Geek Love” so well. I have never read Tracy Kidder. Which Kidder novel do you recommend I try first?

    Well, first thing, Kidder writes nonfiction. VERY personal nonfiction that you really can’t put in the memoir category. I would recommend Mountains Beyond Mountains because the subject, Dr. Paul Farmer is mind-blowingly incredible in what he does, what he has accomplished. But, I still love HOUSE best – it’s been a long time ago, though. Maybe I should try a re-read. House is about the conflicts between a couple with grand ideas to build a home, the architect who designs this ‘dream’ and the contractor who has to TRY and build it. Frustrations and good times. He won a Pulitzer for The Soul of a New Machine – about the birth of the computer industry, sort of.

    Considering that I’m about to jump into a ‘career’ of substitute teaching, I should put Among Schoolchildren up next on my to-read pile. Can I be cloned? I’m so overwhelmed with my wishlist that I’m paralyzed. Bybee read his memoir My Detachment in 2008.

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