I remember 2008 as being a year that I found myself putting more books aside than I've ever done in the past, to the point that I avoided starting a few works I expected to love just in case it was me, and not the books. Yet when I look back over my reading list, I can only spot one short spell where every book I read seemed "eh," and I really think it was the books, not me. All in all, there was a lot to love this year.
My top ten favorite reads of 2008:
The Birds Fall Down. Rebecca West
Brideshead Revisited. Evelyn Waugh
A High Wind in Jamaica. Richard Hughes
Oscar and Lucinda. Peter Carey
The Suicide Index. Joan Wickersham
Olive Kitteridge. Elizabeth Strout
Our Horses in Egypt. Rosalind Belben
The Northern Clemency. Phillip Hensher
Half of a Yellow Sun. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
(not pictured)The Hour I First Believed. Wally Lamb
I also greatly enjoyed Tana French's In the Woods and The Likeness; Barack Obama's Dreams From My Father; Julie Hecht's Happy Trails to You; Roxana Robinson's Cost; Gerard Donovan's Julius Winsome; Jessica Mitford's Hons and Rebels and Lauren Liebenberg's The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam.
I completed 78 books this year. The stats break down thusly:
Books of short stories: 3
Library books read: 27
Newly acquired books read: 32
Newly acquired books stockpiled for later reading: 88 (much better than last year's 141+, but still way too many)
Free e-texts read: 7
Books "just published" in the last year or so: 41
Works I consider classics: 8 (must do better in this category next year)
Works written prior to the 20th century: 4
Re-reads: 1 (Animal Farm)
Books written by women: 42
Authors I read multiple books by: Elizabeth Gaskell (3), Tana French (2), Beth Gutcheon (2).
Books still in progress: Ten? Twelve? Something like that.
We're traveling to my sister's tomorrow to replace a faucet and --with some luck-- unclog a drain, so I'll wish everyone a Happy New Year now in case I'm not online tomorrow.
First book I intend to read in 2009: Sebastian Barry's The Secret Scripture, a library book with a fast-approaching due date.