Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

December 2008 books, and 2008 roundup

I had one of the strangest days ever at work on 11 December 2008, when I had not one but two presidents of unrecognised states in my office at different times. (They did not and still do not recognise each other, so I had to juggle schedules carefully.) Sadly, neither is in office any more; Mehmet Ali Talat lost his re-election bid in 2010, and Mohamed Abdelaziz died a couple of years ago.

I put a lot of energy into following the fall of the Belgian government the following week. All forgotten now. I joined Twitter, and my first Tweet was a link to my review of Terry Pratchett's Nation.

I was in London in the first week of the month, but otherwise in Belgium. Christmas seems to have been just us, with a bit of a rabbit theme.

I read only 16 books in December, the end of an epic year where my 371 books was a record that still stands.

Non-fiction 6 (total 70)
The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition, by Anne Frank
Ancient Wine: The Search for the Origins of Viniculture, by Patrick E. McGowan
Daughters of Britannia: the Lives and Times of Diplomatic Wives, by Katie Hickman
If I Had Been...: Ten Historical Fantasies, edited by Daniel Snowman
The Cecils: Privilege and power behind the throne, by David Loades
The Genius of Shakespeare, by Jonathan Bate

Non genre total 24

Scripts 4 (total 23)
The History of Henry the Fifth, by William Shakespeare
Julius Caesar, by William Shakespeare
Much Ado About Nothing, by William Shakespeare
As You Like It, by William Shakespeare

SF 1 (total 54)
Nation, by Terry Pratchett

Doctor Who 3 (total 172)
Sometime Never, by Justin Richards
The Roundheads, by Mark Gatiss
The Dark Path, by David A. McIntee


Comics 2 (total 8)
Berlin: City of Smoke, by Jason Lutes
The Fixer: A Story from Sarajevo, by Joe Sacco

4,100 pages (total 89,400)
2/16 by women (total 49/371)
None by PoC (total 6/371)

Again, I'm going to be nice and single out four good books here:
  • The Diary of a Young Girl, by Anne Frank, which is my book of the year for 2008; you can get it here.
  • As You Like It, a Shakespeare play I had not previously encountered; you can get it here.
  • Nation, by Terry Pratchett: "the perfect world is a journey, not a place"; you can get it here.
  • The Fixer: A Story from Sarajevo, by Joe Sacco, a tremendous evocation of a tragic time and place; you can get it here.


2008 books roundup

The 371 books I read in 2008 remain my record for a single year - boosted by easily digestible Doctor Who novelisations and fairly brief Shakespeare plays. I did a roundup at the time, but am now reformatting to my current system (and reclassifying a few books as well).

Doctor Who: 172 (46% - biggest of any year)

Best of 2008: Two of the First Doctor novelisations, the very first one, Doctor Who in an Exciting Adventure with the Daleks, which you can get here, and Donald Cotton's Doctor Who - The Romans, which you can get here.
Best original fiction: All-Consuming Fire, by Andy Lane, in which the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Benny encounter Sherlock Holmes and the Great Old Ones. You can get it here.
Best non-fiction: Who Goes There, by Nick Griffiths, exploring the locations of Doctor Who filming around England and Wales; you can get it here.
The one you haven't heard of: Time and Relative, by Kim Newman, a novella set on Earth in 1963 before the Doctor and his granddaughter meet Ian and Barbara. At a cost, you can get it here.
The one to avoid: Doctor Who - The Twin Dilemma, a dreadful adaptation of a dreadful story. You can get it here.

Non-fiction: 70 (19%, a tad below average)

Best of 2008: Anne Frank's Diary of a Young Girl; as mentioned already, you can get it here.
Runner-up: The Periodic Table, by Primo Levi; you can get it here.
The one you haven't heard of: Brussels Versus the Beltway: Advocacy in the United States and the European Union, by Christine Mahoney, a great explanation of the world of my work; you can get it here.
Worst of 2007: J.R.R.Tolkien: Architect of Middle Earth, by Daniel Grotta, a poor effort. You can get it here.

SF (other than Doctor Who): 54 (15%, lowest of any year - squeezed out by Doctor Who books)

Best of 2008: Alan Garner's The Owl Service, which I hadn't read before. You can get it here.
Runners-up: Terry Practchett's Nation, as noted above, which you can get here; and Silverberg's Hall of Fame anthology, which you can get here.
The one you haven't heard of: The Fifth Interzone Anthology, which you can get here.
The one to avoid: Interview with the Vampire, by Anne Rice - the most awful tosh. You can get it here.

Non-genre fiction 24 (6%, probably a record low)

Best of 2008: Vanity Fair, Thackeray's story of life among the declining gentry of the early nineteenth century. You can get it here.
Runners-up: Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader, which you can get here; The History of Sir Richard Calmady by Lucas Malet, which you can get here; Proust vol 6, which you can get here.
The one you haven't heard of: Odd Man Out, by F.L. Green, adapted to a well known film but the novel is worth hunting down. You can get it here.
The one to avoid: The Duke and I, by Julia Quinn. You can get it here.
Scripts 23 (6%, a peak)

At the top, it's difficult to choose between Romeo and Juliet (which you can get here), A Midsummer Night's Dream (here) and As You Like It (here) as my favourite Shakespeare of the year; also enjoyed the two rather less well known scripts I read, Improbable Frequency (about Schrodinger in Ireland, here) and The Office (here).
However I really bounced off both The Taming of the Shrew (here) and Love's Labour's Lost (here).

Comics 6 (2%, a record low)

Best of 2008: The Fixer (here), as noted above, and Jessica Jones vol 4 (here).
The one you haven't heard of: Macedonia, written by Harvey Pekar, Heather Roberson, art by Ed Piskor; you can get it here.
The one to avoid: Tales of Human Waste, by Warren Ellis; you can get it here.

My book of the year 2008, as noted above, was Anne Frank's Diary, which I have also writen about here and here. If you haven't yet read it, you should. And as mentioned twice above, you can get it here.
Tags: bookblog 2008, bookblog nostalgia
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