Dec 29, 2008

2008: The Year in Review

It honestly feels like it was, oh, two months ago at most that I was writing a post just like this about 2007. Where did time ago?

2008 was my best reading year since I started keeping track of what I read (which was in 2002). Though I have no records for previous years, I'm willing to bet this was my best reading year EVER. The reason? A mix of blogging (I didn't think I could be encouraged to read even more, but you all did it) and having nothing much happen in my life. 2008 was one of those waiting years, and reading kept me sane. This isn't really all that good a thing, but hey, at least it also means that nothing very bad happened to me.

So, without further ado, the stats:

Total: 203/4 books (Depending on whether I finish The Time Traveler's Wife)
+ 41 "solo" short stories/plays/long essays
Comics/Graphic Novels: 24 (which bodes well for next year's challenge)
Non-Fiction: 37 (my goal was 2 a month, so 24. I'm happy I surpassed it!)
Novels: 123
Short Story collections/anthologies: 19
Poetry: 3
Children's and YA: 59
In Translation: 7
By Women: 92
By Men: 111
New to me Authors: 88
Classics: 15
Re-reads: 2 (I really need to work on this)
Chunksters (450+ pages): 21
Favourite authors discovered this year: John Green, Lois Lowry, Alice Hoffman, Christopher Barzak, Shannon Hale, Anne Bishop.
Authors I read the most books by: Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett with 6 each, followed by Bill Willingham with 5.
Least favourite book: The Helmet of Horror by Victor Pelevin
Best reading month: April (24 books)
Worst reading month: February (7 books)

And now it's time for the tops. I thought of breaking them down in categories and doing a bunch of them, but in the end I decided to just go with a top 20 fiction and top 5 non-fiction. The order doesn't really matter, except for the first 5 fiction books, which matter for my contest. The winner will be announced at the end of the post. Also, I decided to limit myself to one book per author, which made things quite a bit easier.

My favourite fiction reads of 2008:
Honourable mentions: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Black Maria by Diana Wynne Jones, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, The Black Jewels Trilogy by Anne Bishop, Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, and plus all the ones I'd have included if it weren't for my self-imposed one book per author rule: The Bromeliad by Terry Pratchett, Powers by Ursula Le Guin, Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman, Endless Nights by Neil Gaiman, An Abundance of Katherines by John Green, The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale or Tamsin by Peter Beagle. And I can't believe I'm actually leaving these books out of my list, but it was one of those years. Moving on:

My favourite non-fiction reads of 2008:
Now for the contest: pretty much everyone got at least one or two books right. 4 out of the 5 books I had in mind were mentioned several times. There was only one person to mention Voices, though, but I guess that's not all that surprising. First because I read it in January, and secondly because it's part of a trilogy, and while I'd mentioned that the whole trilogy had joined the ranks of my favourites, I don't think I'd said anything about a favourite book. Also, many of you guessed Lonely Werewolf Girl, and as you can see it's up there with my favourites too.

The following people guessed 4 out of 5 books: Chris, Josette, Lightheaded and tanabata. I let pick the winner:


Congratulations! E-mail me your address and your book of choice and I'll send it your way asap.


  1. Wow, I enjoyed reading this post, Nymeth! So many great recommendations which I know I'll be adding most of them to my wishlist next year! :D

    And congrats to Tanabata! :) Thanks again for hosting the contest, Nymeth. It has been fun!

  2. Congrats tanabata!

    Nymeth, I have two of your favorite books on my TBR list for 2009 and I have read two of your honorable mentions. Now I'm going to have to check out the others on your list.

  3. Love the stats you did, and I'm totally stealing some of them! :p I rad 3 of your top 5 this year too, and they were definitely incredible. Now I have to read Nation!

  4. What a wondrous reading year for you. I look forward to seeing what 2009 has in store for you!

  5. Wonderful list, and an interesting breakdown of categories, too. You've inspired me to get started on my own year in review (I never did get around to that last year). I think I'm going to read Nation next, and I'm very much looking forward to it after reading your review.

  6. Okay, now I'm looking forward to reading Persepolis and Looking for Alaska even more!

    Great post!

  7. You read some great books this year! I really should do an end of year post, but I didn't really keep track this year. I just wasn't having a reading year at all! I hope to do better next year... I really need to read more Terry Pratchett... I am thinking I might have to add Looking for Alaska to my TBR pile. :) I have never read John Green before. And, I hated Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea series (I've read two of them), but I liked other books by her. Maybe I should try out the trilogy you read! And, well, there are a few other books that I wouldn't mind trying, but my gift cards are no unlimited, so I am just going to pretend I never saw a thing!

  8. Thats a wonderful count. 15 classics is too good. Next year I am going to read as many classics as i can. As it is I have too many in my TBR pile.

  9. Good on you for reading so many books this year, I'm glad to hear they were enjoyable!

    I only recently read and enjoyed The Goose Girl and have Enna Burning in my TBR pile. If it's even better then that, I must get to it soon.

    I agree that I Capture the Castle, The Handmaid's Tale and The Road are all wonderful books. I'll have to try some of your other picks, eg John Green, Neil Gaiman and Alice Hoffman.

  10. What a great reading year Nymeth! Here's to an even better year next year!

  11. wow! That's a lot of books! It's good to see that you enjoy so many of them too!

    I hope you have a grand a time reading in 2009 !!

  12. Fabulously exciting post! I have a lot of the same books on my list, too. AND I have a DH Lawrence book I've carried around for years that I need to dust off now. THX!

  13. You've read a lot of great books this year! :) I'll be doing my "year in review" post tomorrow; it'll be interesting to see the results! (I've got the list of books I've read, but have yet to tally them or divide by categories, etc.)

  14. That is such a HUGE amount of books!! Makes me green with envy that I don't have more time to read. And you make it infinitely worse, by adding so many great recommendations to my TBR list!!

    Awesome post!

  15. Nymeth, that is so many books! I hope I can read that many books next year.I'm adding books to my TBR pile from your favorites list while looking to see what we've both read. Happy New Year!

  16. Ah, the end of year post :D Lots of fun to read, Nymeth, I'm just putting mine together now.

  17. Wow you had an amazing reading year, and so many great looking books - I've added quite a few to my 2009 reading list after seeing your favorites :)

    Wishing you all the best in 2009!

  18. I think I will have to print out your list and take it with me to the library! I now have a much larger library system to work my way through so hopefully they'll have lots more selection...

  19. Congrats to the winner. The list of your favorites has some goodies on it.

  20. I didn't expect my answers to come that close! Also, congratulations to tanabata! Good to know that 2008's your best reading year. :D May you have more good and fabulous reading years!

  21. That's almost 4 books a week! Sadly, I haven't read any of your favorites.

  22. What a motivating reading list. I get through a good number in a year but I think you've got me beat! I popped over from Joanna's blog because you mentioned that maybe, just maybe, you might be enticed by the 2009 Science Book Challenge, so I thought I'd come lay on the high-pressure sales talk.

    But with 37 nonfiction topics on your list, and our pretty broad interpretation of "science books", it should be as easy as ... reading a book! Besides, we have a fabulous button for the challenge and its colors would match your blog's color scheme very nicely indeed.

  23. Such an awesome reading year! Thanks for this "best of" post. I'll visiting your reviews; since I just started blogging this year I missed some!

  24. 200+ books read, oh my god! i thought I had a pretty good reading year but I'm not even coming close.
    On the other hand, I've been busy with work and writing (only one month though...). I wish I had all that time in my hands!!

    I've added a couple of books to my wishlist that I missed, I didn't remember you raving about A quiet and private place!
    I considered picking one of Ursula Le Guin for my guesses but I didn't know which one:P

    anyway, I hope you have a great (not just reading) year:)

  25. I love this post! I had to do something similar on my blog, haha! I stole some of your categories, but I linked back to you so it's all good, right? Wow. 200 books. That's just amazing.

  26. I still can't believe I won! I'm so thrilled! (Did you get my email, btw?)
    Great list of books, and congratulations on your fantastic year of reading!
    My year in review post won't be up until sometime in January after we get back but I've started thinking about it.
    Thanks again! :)

  27. Melody, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I had lots of fun with the contest too.

    Alyce: I hope you enjoy them them both :)

    Eva: Feel free to use them! I think I stole some of yours from last year too :P I'm really looking forward to seeing your top. And I definitely think you'd enjoy Nation.

    Charley: I would be totally fine with reading a bit less in 2009 :P but whatever happens, I hope it's a good year for us all.

    Darla, I look forward to your top. You always read such great books. And I'm happy that you're reading Nation next!

    softdrink: They're both SO good!

    Kailana: I'm kind of obsessive about keeping track of stuff :P Yes, you absolutely have to read some John Green! The thought of anyone hating Earthsea makes me want to cry a little :P But if you want to give her another chance, Gifts is definitely the one to go with. It's the first in this trilogy, which is only a trilogy in a loose sense... each book tells a whole story, so if you don't care much for the first you won't have to read any others to find out how it ends. Also, Chris loved it too!

    Violetcrush: I'm including children's classics like Winnie-the-Pooh, which are quick reads, but I think they count too!

    Sarah: Some people prefer The Goose Girl, but Enna Burning spoke to me more. And yes, definitely try John Green, Neil Gaiman and Hoffman!

    Marg: I'll be more than happy if it's 2/3rds as good :P

    Deslily: Thank you, and you too!

    Care: Which book is it? Lady Chatterley was only my third by him, but already I'm a convert.

    Marineko: I had an insane amount of fun calculating all my totals and coming up with categories :D

  28. Stephanie: Sorry for making it worse :P

    Vasilly: Happy New Year for you too! I hope you enjoy the books you're adding to your pile.

    Bart: Can't wait to see it!

    Joanne: Thank you :) wishing you all the best too!

    Daphne: I hope you find lots of books you want to read at the library!

    Serena: I think it does too :P

    Josette: You did great! And I was so happy when you guesses Voices, lol. I was all "hooray, at least one person!" :P May you have a great reading year too!

    bermudaonion: it sounds kinda crazy, but that's the average indeed! wow...maybe I need to diversify my hobbies :P

    Jeff Shaumeyer: You know, you'd make a great salesperson. I'm convinced! Just let me wrap up one my pending challenges (all I have to do is read Watchmen, really), and then I'll sign up officially. And you're totally right about the button :P

    Rebecca: Thanks for reading them!

    Valentina: Sometimes it's good to be busy. Seriously :P I read a lot less in November and December, actually, which was when I started work. And although I love reading a lot, it really is good to do other things too. I hope you have a great year too, in every possible sense!

    Amanda: It's totally fine to use them. I borrowed some from other bloggers too.

    Tanabata: I've just replied. Congrats again! I look forward to your year's best post.

  29. You read a ton this year! My best year was 2006 but I did better this year than last. Oh I'm so going to steal your little meme thing :o)

  30. Wow! That's a lot of books! I'm glad to see some of my faves on your list too.

  31. wow, thats alot of great books read.
    24 books in April!
    I really enjoyed The Ice Queen too.
    Happy New Year :)
    and congrats to tanabata.

  32. I remember thinking about half way through the year that it was the longest year I'd had in awhile, but this second half sure has flown by.

    You read an amazing amount of books, Nymeth. I am glad you had such a good reading year! :-)

  33. You have read a ton this year! I love your tops list because you are so enthusiastic about them all that I am wondering what I'm missing now that I haven't read the same ones!
    And I've just discovered John Green myself; he is fantastic. Good thing I still have 2 of his books to read in 09.

  34. 203 Books?! :O Wow! lol...You're truly an inspiration're also the number 1 reason for the ridiculously large number of books on my TBR shelf and on my wishlist right now :p I stole your statistics section...I hope you don't mind, lol. I read a really disproportionate number of books by male authors to female authors. That was the biggest surprise! I really need to fix that next year. I feel sexist now! This was a much better year for books than I had thought it was. Looking back on the year, I couldn't even limit it down to 10. I've loved The Graveyard Book, Nation, and Looking for Alaska right along with you! And I'm falling in love with A Fine and Private Place as we speak. You have so many more on your list that I'm sure will be favorites of mine next year. Thanks for a wonderful year of friendship and blog posts Nymeth! Can't wait for 2009!

  35. Very, very impressive, Nymeth! You're an inspiration! I only started making a proper list of the books I read this year.

    Congrats to Tanabata! :D

  36. Oh Nymeth, what a fun, fun, fun post!!! I always loved when Dewey did her monthly round-ups, too. I always wanted to do them myself, but could never get myself organized enough. Did you sort of keep track of things like genre and stuff throughout the year, or did you go back and figure all this out here at the end of the year?

    Okay, you want to hear something funny? Rich gave me an Amazon gift certificate for Christmas...and I already ordered three of those books from your non-fiction favorites with it! (Last Chance to See, The Polysyllabic Spree, and Persepolis) I literally just laughed out loud when I read your list!

  37. You must tell me your secret - how did you read so many books?! :)

    Wow, I'm very impressed and of course now I want to read a bunch of the ones you mention as your favorites. I have to take some notes for sure!

    Here's wishing you another fabulous reading year in '09!

  38. I too am very impressed Nymeth, wow! :-) I'll be adding some of your discoveries to my TBR list... :-)

  39. You are a reading goddess! That is pretty impressive. Hope you have a great 2009!

  40. Ladytink: Feel free to steal it!

    Chris: It was a great reading year. If 2009 is half as good I'll be happy.

    Naida: I have no idea what the deal was in April either :P

    Literary Feline: I hope both halves of 2009 are great for you!

    Melanie: He's absolutely great, isn't he? Definitely my favourite discovery of the year.

    Chris: We're all terrible influences, but it's part of the fun :P And I don't think that makes you's not like you were like "I need to not read books written by women...they can't write to save their lives" :P I was actually surprised my list was more or less balanced. And thank you for the same, Chris!

    Alice: It's never too late to start! I'm kind of obsessive about keeping track of stuff :P

    Debi: I'm so happy you ordered those three books! I'm sure you'll love them. I went back and calculated all the stats now, and while I had fun doing it I think I'll keep track every month this year.

    Iliana: Here's the secret: I have no life :P Wishing you a great year too!

    Joanna, hope you enjoy them too!

    Lisa: Thanks and likewise!

  41. I'm amazed and impressed by your numbers...especially 37 non-fiction books! You had a fantastic year and I hope that 2009 leaves you again having to make tough decisions on which are your favorites. :) It's never a bad thing when there are so many!!

  42. oh--and re-reads is something that I really need to make time for as well. My list is continually growing and there are some I'd definitely love to read again.

  43. The Saturday Review at Semicolon this Saturday is dedicated to book lists. You’re invited to share a link to yours on Saturday.

  44. What a wonderful year of reading! I've just started Looking For Alaska and loving it already! I hope that 2009 is just as good.

    Happy New Year!

  45. Wow you kicked my ass at reading in 2008! LIke you I think 2008 was my best year for reading and blogging and completing challenges has really ehlped. Glad to see you rated so many books I love highly and I am really looking forward to Looking for Alaska.

  46. Trish: I was actually very surprised with the non-fiction total. I hope the same! And you know, someone should come up with a re-reads challenge :P

    Sherry, thanks! I will.

    Mariel: So glad to hear you're loving it. Can't wait to read your final thoughts. Happy New Year!

    Rhinoa: You did great in 2008 too! Blogging definitely helps, doesn't it?

  47. Haha! I've thought about a re-reads challenge. Probably the only way I could get motivated to actually read them again!

  48. I'd tell you to do it, but then I'd have to join :P Maybe for when the other two you're hosting start?

  49. Wow, I am so impressed. I look forward to reading your review of The Time Travelers Wife. I'm reading a Terry Pratchett book right now and laughing myself silly. What a great list of books you read this year. I'm leaving now before I add any more to my TBR list.


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.