An End

January 3, 2009

This will be the final post in this 2008 Reading Log. I started this as an experiment at the start of 2008. My goal was to record every book I read during the year and write a little something about each. During the year I read 64.5 books. Mostly novels. The final book of the year (it would have been the 65th) I finished early this morning. I was really just about halfway done with it at midnight on New Year’s eve. I did a wrap-up post on Mike’s Musings on New Year’s Day. I also created a tag wordle from the tags I chose for each post.

I will continue to track my reading in 2009, but not in quite this form. It was a fun experiment, but now I will look for another approach to bookish metadata.

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

December 29, 2008

Author: Michael Chabon
Copyright: 1988
Publisher: Harper

Started: 12/29/08
Completed: 1/3/09

This is Michael Chabon’s first novel. He started writing it between college and grad school and eventually submitted it as his master’s thesis. His adviser sent it on to a literary agent and a career was born. I am glad for that. I started reading Chabon some years ago and I have never regretted starting one of his novels. This is a coming of age story about a young man leaving college and finding his place in the world. According to wikipedia, a film based on this novel is due to be released in 2009.

Holidays on Ice

December 26, 2008

Author: David Sedaris
Copyright: 1997
Publisher: Little Brown

Started: 12/25/08
Completed: 12/29/08

Karen gave me this book for Christmas. It’s a collection of short stories, anchored by the famous tales of Sedaris’ work as a santa’s elf at Macy’s in New York City. I first heard these tales when Sedaris’ was a guest commentator on NPR and I’ve been a fan ever since. The story is a new classic and Sedaris is a very funny fellow.

The Peshawar Lancers

December 16, 2008

Author: S. M. Stirling
Copyright: 2002
Publisher: ROC

Started: 12/16/08
Completed: 12/25/08

My brother Matt loaned me this book. It is an alternative-history novel based on the premise that a natural disaster in the latter half of the 19th Century interrupted history. The novel is set in a 21st century that is still using steam-based technology. It is a good adventure story and an interesting sorta-science-fiction story.

Empire of Ivory

December 11, 2008

Author: Naomi Novik
Copyright: 2007
Publisher: Ballantine Books

Started: 12/11/08
Completed: 12/16/08

This is the fourth in the Tremeraire series that I have been reading the last few months. Reading this will catch me up on the whole series; a long story about fighting dragoons in the service of the English during the Napoleanic wars. Very good book.

Good Omens

December 4, 2008

Author: Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
Copyright: 1990
Publisher: Harper

Started: 12/4/08
Completed: 12/11/08

Pratchett and Gaiman are two of my favorite authors. I have read this book before, but when I ran across a new paperback edition in the bookstore I decided to revisit. This is silly fantasy, with an English absurdism sensability. It is an “end of times” novel, but the angels and demons are not quite what you would expect.

Throne of Jade

November 28, 2008

Author: Naomi Novik
Copyright: 2006
Publisher: Harper

Started: 11/28/08
Completed: 12/4/08

My brother Matt loaned me this book. It is the second in the Tremeraire series, which he suggested to me in the first place. I’ve now read the third book, and the first (out of order) and the fourth is on my “to-read” shelf. This series assumes that there were dragons in the military arsenals of the combatant nations in the Napoleonic wars. Tremeraire is a dragon; a sentient creature who carries a captain and crew into battle. The series follows their story and examines the relationships among the crew and with the dragon.

Author: Christopher Moore
Copyright: 1997
Publisher: Harper

Started: 11/23/08
Completed: 11/28/08

I think this because it was the only book by Christopher Moore that I had not read. It is the fourth of his that I have read this year. Earlier this year I enjoyed Practical DemonkeepingCoyote Blue, and Bloodsucking Fiends. I’m a fan, no doubt.

Christopher Moore is a twisted dude. He is also a good writer. His novels are short and sharp and imaginative and I always enjoy them.

The Black Tower

November 17, 2008

Author: Louis Bayard
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Twelve

Started: 11/17/08
Completed: 11/23/08

This is a literary, historical, mystery novel set in Paris of the early 1800′s. Bayard wrote Mr. Timothy, another historical mystery and one that I thoroughly enjoyed. So this seemed worth a try.

It centers on Eugène François Vidocq, a figure from French history who had served time in prison but later become the first modern detective. According to Wikipedia, he inspired both Jean Valjean and Javert, the police inspector who pursued Valjean in Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables.

Supreme Courtship

November 13, 2008

Author: Christopher Buckley
Copyright: 2008
Publisher: Twelve

Started: 11/13/08
Completed: 11/16/08

I grabbed this book from the library shelf at least in part because Mr. Buckley appeared on The Daily Show recently to talk about it. He was charming and it sounded like a fun book. It is about an appointment to the Supreme Court of an unexpected judge, a woman that doesn’t quite fit the expected form. It was written well before Mrs. Palin was selected to run for Vice President, but appears to match that odd story line in many ways.

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