December 30, 2008

A year of books

I did this last year and it seemed like an interesting and maybe even useful thing to continue this year.

Trends in my reading this year? Lots and lots on science and technology, especially on the impacts of those on intellectual culture. A great year, in that respect, with Shirky's Here Comes Everybody leading the way. Not so much fiction, and especially sf, this year. This'll be corrected by the Sunburst reading I do this year and next (not recorded here, see below), but I think I just needed a break.

Overall, the total number of books I'm reading this year is the highest it's been in quite a long time. Why? Well, honestly, I think it's because of the variety. I used to read mostly fiction, mostly fantastic fiction, and I think I was just getting bogged down by the sameness of it all. Lately, since my sabbatical especially, I'm just reading much wider. And that's made my reading wider and more interesting to me. And this results in me reading more.

So, without further ado, here's a list of all the books I've read this year with links to my reviews:

  1. Ambient Findability by Peter Morville
  2. Year's Best Fantasy 6 edited by David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer
  3. Slide by Ken Bruen & Jason Starr
  4. Farthing by Jo Walton
  5. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2007 edited by Richard Preston & Tim Folger (Series Editor)
  6. The Keeper by Sarah Langan
  7. A Century of Noir edited by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins
  8. Einstein: A Life by Walter Isaacson
  9. Hardboiled America: Lurid Paperbacks And The Masters Of Noir by Geoffrey O'Brien
  10. Supercrunchers: Why Thinking-By-Numbers is the New Way To Be Smart by Ian Ayres
  11. Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke
  12. 40 Days and 40 Nights: Darwin, Intelligent Design, God, Oxycontin, and Other Oddities on Trial in Pennsylvania by Matthew Chapman
  13. Year's Best SF 11 edited by David G. Hartwell & Kathryn Cramer
  14. Infected by Scott Sigler
  15. Pyramids by Terry Pratchett
  16. Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations by Clay Shirky
  17. Free as in Speech and Beer: Open Source, Peer-to-Peer and the Economics of the Online Revolution by Darren Wershler-Henry
  18. The Big Switch: Rewiring the World, from Edison to Google by Nicholas Carr
  19. The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages
  20. Big City, Bad Blood by Sean Chercover
  21. Complications: A Surgeon's Note on an Imperfect Science by Atul Gawande
  22. Best New Horror 17 edited by Stephen Jones
  23. Forty Signs of Rain by Kim Stanley Robinson
  24. The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet by Daniel J. Solove
  25. The Best of Technology Writing 2007 by Steven Levy
  26. The Sum of All Fears by Tom Clancy
  27. Wrinkles in Time: Witness to the Birth of the Universe by George Smoot and Keay Davidson
  28. The End of the Beginning by Harry Turtledove
  29. Clapton: The Autobiography by Eric Clapton
  30. The Ruins by Scott Smith
  31. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
  32. Comrades of War by Sven Hassel
  33. Solomon's Vineyard by
  34. Pursuit of Genius: Flexner, Einstein, and the Early Faculty at the Institute for Advanced Study by Steve Batterson
  35. Archimedes to Hawking: Laws of Science and the Great Minds Behind Them by Clifford Pickover
  36. Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design by Michael Shermer
  37. Triptych by Karen Slaughter
  38. Dark Crusade by Karl Edward Wagner
  39. Little Girl Lost by Richard Aleas
  40. The Wraparound Universe by Jean-Pierre Luminet
  41. Once You're Lucky, Twice You're Good: The Rebirth of Silicon Valley and the Rise of Web 2.0 by Sarah Lacy
  42. Bad Moon Rising by Jonathan Maberry
  43. The Canon: A Whirligig Tour of the Beautiful Basics of Science by Natalie Angier
  44. The Best American Science Writing 2008 edited by Sylvia Nasar & Jesse Cohen (series editor)
  45. Heat: An Amateur's Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker, and Apprentice to a Dante-Quoting Butcher in Tuscany by Bill Buford
  46. The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2008 edited by Jerome Groopman and Tim Folger (series editor)
  47. The Quantum Ten: A Story of Passion, Tragedy, Ambition, and Science by Sheilla Jones
  48. The Dime Detectives: a Comprehensive History of the Detective Fiction Pulps by Ron Goulart
  49. Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff
  50. Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright, and the Future of the Future by Cory Doctorow
  51. God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything by Christopher Hitchens
  52. Mafiaboy: How I Cracked the Internet and Why It's Still Broken by Michael Calce and Craig Silverman


I should mention that there are a significant number of books I've read that aren't on the list. I'm not recording the books I read for the Sunburst Awards as I don't think the list of books actually submitted for consideration are made public anywhere.

One book that I did read that's not on the list is The Open Laboratory: The Best Science Writing on Blogs 2007, edited by Reed Cartwright and Bora Zivkovic. Since I was on the advance screening panel of judges for the book, I did read all the posts that are reprinted in it during the judging period at the end of 2007; I also ordered and received the book in 2008. But I never actually cracked the cover and re-read all the posts during 2008. I did re-read a few, but not all.

Notable non-fiction, in no particular order:
  • Here Comes Everybody by Clay Shirky
  • The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2008 edited by Jerome Groopman and Tim Folger (series editor)
  • Content by Cory Doctorow
  • The Canon by Natalie Angier
  • Einstein: A Life by Walter Isaacson


Notable fiction, in no particular order (Note that this doesn't include Sunburst books, which would make the list quite different):
  • The Keeper by Sarah Langan
  • Tin Roof Blowdown by James Lee Burke
  • Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages
  • The Ruins by Scott Smith
  • Triptych by Karen Slaughter


As a side note, I really do love reading other people's lists of books they've read. So, those of you who are so inclined (and who are odd enough to actually record each and every book they read during the year), consider this a meme and consider yourselves tagged.

Review-wise, I still have to figure out what to do with the growing backlog of annual essay collections that I haven't reviewed yet. I may end up doing a mass review with one-liner comments at some point. Of books that deserve full-length treatment, I still have Groundswell, Doctorow's Content and Mafiaboy, but it might be a while before I get to any of those. FWIW, I probably won't be reading too many non-Sunburst books for at least a few more months.

(I've been recording every book I read since 1983 and on my other blog I've been occasionally transcribing the list on a year by year basis. I've stalled of late, but I'll probably do a few more during the holidays this year. This list will also be re-posted there eventually.)

3 comments:

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nice post

CW said...

John, I've done a list every year since 2005, although not quite in the same format as your list. Just finished my list for 2008.

Here Comes Everybody and The Canon are in my To Read pile - am looking forward to them!

CogSci Librarian said...

I read mostly fiction, but I'm not much of a list maker. That said, this year I *loved* the 19th Wife, Kabul Beauty School, and Persepolis, among others. Also, if you have several weeks, A Suitable Boy was a great book -- and other than length (1350 pages), not too taxing. I try hard to keep a record of what I've read on LibraryThing