Book rundown, 2007

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Weird. Even though I have been consumed this year by the chore of writing a reference book (and by killer sudoku  and hanjie), I actually read eleven more books than last year. Don’t expect the same high numbers next year; between now and my initial draft deadline in May, I will be spending every spare moment hacking away at the computer; though much of the preliminary work has been done, as American Revolutionary War hero John Paul Jones famously said during a naval battle, “I have not yet begun to write!”

How’s that for revisionist history?

Don’t worry, I’ll still take time to blog next year, to give my faithful readers their weekly updates on my reading interests, yoga poses, and bizarre library interactions. (Dear faithful readers—don’t you have anything better to do? Not that I’m not complaining. But gee.)

Without further ado, let us discuss the books I read in 2007.

Total books read (not skimmed, mind you, but read from cover to cover):

  • 141, including six re-reads (you’d think I’d have the Harry Potter series memorized by now, the number of times I’ve read those books)
  • 24 of these were nonfiction. The other 117 were fiction.

Books that were published in 2007:

  • 18, I think, though I’ll have to double-check that by looking up some pub dates. However many there are, I’ll discuss these in more detail in my next post, along with a bit of narrative about the books I enjoyed most in 2007, regardless of publication year.

Authors:

  • Most read: Terry Pratchett, with nineteen Discworld books
  • Second-most read: Harlan Coben, with his Myron Bolitar series– though, honestly, this should only count as one title. All his books are the same: 1.) Person is brutally murdered. 2.) Likeable protagonist investigates the brutal murder, in the process discovering that 3.) Person was not really murdered, but has been living under an extraordinary disguise all these years.

Levels:

  • Adult: 118
  • YA: 12
  • Children’s: 11

Nonfiction genres:

  • 2 Biography
  • 2 True Crime
  • 1 Economics
  • 3 History
  • 7 Memoir
  • 2 Religion
  • 1 Sex Manual (damn waste of my time)
  • 3 Science
  • 3 Social Science
  • 1 Popular Culture
  • 1 Textual Criticism
  • 1 Women’s Nonfiction
  • 1 Humor
  • 1 I don’t know what to call it—is it a cookbook? An entertainment book? An absurdist satire? Whatever it is, I loved it. Thanks, Amy Sedaris, for I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence

Readers who, unlike me, are capable of simple addition, will notice that these numbers aren’t adding up. That’s because some books have more than one genre.

Fiction genres:

  • 42 Fantasy – yikes!
  • 1 Canon (In my own head, I distinguish between the literary canon and Literary Fiction. I could speak at length about this, though I won’t right at the moment. In any case, the book was Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita).
  • 10 Historical Fiction
  • 16 Horror
  • 11 Mystery
  • 14 Literary Fiction, Mainstream, or generically popular
  • 2 Science Fiction
  • 2 Superhero
  • 25 Suspense
  • 1 Urban Fiction
  • 1 Noir
  • 24 Humor

Miscellaneous:

My annual Fat Russian Novel: Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov
Graphic Novels: 17
Collections of short stories: 3
Plays: 1 (Sweeney Todd)
5 vampire books, 3 zombie books, and 3 ghost stories
Wordless graphic novel: 1 (The Arrival, by Shaun Tan)

Best and Worst
Best NF: I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence, by Amy Sedaris
Worst NF: The Great Sex Secret, by Kim Marshall (why do I even bother trying to read these books?)
Best Adult Fiction: A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving, very closely followed by (tie) World War Z, by Max Brooks, and The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova
Worst Adult Fiction: Flyy Girl, by Omar Tyree
Best YA: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Worst YA: Gifted Touch, by Melinda Metz
Best NF Graphic Novel: These Things Ain’t Gonna Smoke Themselves: A Love Hate Love Hate Love Hate Love Letter to a Very Bad Habit, by Emily Flake
Best Fiction Graphic Novel: Fables: Legends in Exile, by Bill Willingham
Worst Graphic Novel: 30 Days of Night, by Steve Niles

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20 responses »

  1. I admire you so much for reading so many books! I mean, I know it’s part of being a librarian, but that’s what I strive to be someday too and I don’t read NEARLY that much. How do you keep a record of what you’ve read? Do you have a book journal or do you use a website to help store all that info?

    Reply
  2. the lesbrarian

    Cara,Don’t be naive. Reading books is not part of being a librarian. Reading books is part of being a GOOD librarian, but I’ve known plenty of librarians who weren’t readers.Sorry, I’m being cynical. But rest assured that there is no minimum number of books that librarians read. Let’s say you only read one book a month– you’d be doing better than a lot of people with an MLS. In fact, if I may be so brazen, why not set that as a goal for the next year? If you read more than that, woohoo, and if you read less than that, you can go about feeling guilty. Either way, you win!To keep track of the books, you may want to try something like librarything.com or goodreads.com. Me, I keep a spreadsheet, which I’ll be more than happy to show you at work sometime. I save it occasionally to my online storage space (free with a yahoo account) and… that’s it.

    Reply
  3. eleemosenary archivist

    Admirable,Madame… Nice to know someone besides my soon-to-be 14yr old expatriate daughter is a reading whiz. Rather brightens an era in which so much energy is subsumed by impersonal electronics.EA,aka tom B

    Reply
  4. eleemosenary archivist

    Which bios?Preview?stay warm.JohnP.Jones died pretty broke in Paris I believe.Finally laid to rest up at Annapolis in an impressive(artistically) Dolphin-borne sarchopho-crypt visited by few except Cadets learnin about life at sea..keep on readin’

    Reply
  5. Lesbrarian,I am in awe but totally not surprised by your rate of book-reading. Still: Fabo. And might I just say, the Emily Flake book about smoking? Superb. And my pledge to you? Sometime in 2008 I WILL read The Historian, even though it is fiction and long (me too lazy for the long ones). Then, if you are willing, we can discuss. Thanks for the inspiration!p.s. I’m not touching the Irving with a ten-foot pole, though. He reminds me of Updike, and I do not like Updike. Sorry. If I were a better person I would listen to you and pick up Owen Meany. Let’s start with the Kostova, though.

    Reply
  6. the lesbrarian

    E. Archivist: The two bios were A Woman in Charge, by Carl Bernstein (about HR Clinton) and Chicken with Plums, by Marjane Satrapi, about the author’s uncle. I suppose it’s not really a biography, since the focus is really on the last little bit of the subject’s life, but I can’t think of a better genre.Nonanon: Try a chapter or two of The Historian. You’ll be able to tell very quickly if you’re going to like it or not. If you don’t, toss it and read something nonfictiony and short. My feelings won’t be hurt.Which Irving have you read? I’ve tried three of his novels, none of which are alike. I’d say he’s a good storyteller no matter what, but other than that it’s hard to characterize him. (This is proving to be a pain in the ass, as I’m trying to write a read-alike about him.)So it’s possible that Owen Meany wouldn’t remind you one whit of Updike. It certainly didn’t for me. I don’t like Updike, either.And don’t be in awe of me. Feel pity for me, that I have nothing better to do than read, write, and solve logic problems. It’s nice at times but it’s kind of pathetic after a while. Feel grateful that you had things to do other than read.

    Reply
  7. Lesbrarian,I’m also quite in awe of your spreadsheet skills. I do the reading–I don’t have other things to do, and if I do, I ignore them–I’m just not organized enough to track it!Oh, Irving. I looked at Cider House Rules and couldn’t do it. I’m embarrassed to say that’s all I’ve tried, although a friend of mine swears by Garp. I think the general "East Coast Men" thing is a hard thing for me to get past, that’s all.

    Reply
  8. FABLES is cool. You should try Mike Carey’s run on LUCIFER, the only SANDMAN spin-off worth a damn (and while Carey’s best story arcs aren’t as good as Neil’s, his worst ones are better). As I said on Myspace, I’m afraid I didn’t think much of The Historian, but I share your passion for World War Z. I don’t think Thirty Days of Night is particularly good, but would suggest that your ranking of it as the worst (fiction) graphic novel is the result of selective reading in the form. Of course, as I live down the street from a comics shop, I skim what comes in every week, so I’m likely more aware of the worst crap than you are.

    Reply
  9. eleemosenary archivist

    Only to check in and lend encouragin word to yr tasks at hand. From one who has spent thousands of hours sifting and shuffling mss pages (my own and archival assignments),it is clear that readin writin and Librarianizing are crafts to which you dedicate a great deal of positive energy. Would hope that regular updates continue to be accomplished with panache and apparent,though doubtless time-consuming ease as Ought Eight marches on.Bonhoeffer,Niemoeller,Harnack/Planck/von Stauffenberg crowd were always an on-site favorite topic as duty east of the Elbe exposed this one to their former haunts. Glad to hear there are Americans still aware of Bonhoeffer et al…Get outta here EA. Haven’t you got editing to do? What’s yr textbook topic,Jess?out/tgb {stay focused}

    Reply
  10. eleemosenary archivist

    Jeez,Jess,Do you REALLY want an opinion on "Deer Hunting with Jesus"? Seems like a misogynistic,toad-torturing,openly racist, self-loathing ignoramus named Bageant is giving Carolina a bad name for no particular reason except to hear his own head rattle.Knee-jerk Republican bashing aside,the guy blames his own inadeqacies & most of the world’s current troubles on genetic instability due to dubious claims of decendence from "Scots-Irish Borderers". Everybody is either "poorly educated" or part of a global cabal attempting to dominate by pollution of the air we all breathe. There is no such thing as free will,we are all damned at birth, Sherman should have destroyed more small towns so future generations of "crackers" wouldn’t be trapped in them. Health care doesn’t exisit, but does the guy offer ANY suggestions,job creation solutions,hell no,his offshore account is in Belize..Oh,yeah his descriptions of hunting for meat lacks credibility(nobody who’s gonna eat it shoots deer on the run when the critter is pumped full of adrenalin).. firearms technicalities likewise flawed. Waiting for Owen Meany THAT sounds like a more well balanced read. Pardon the tirade,pls. I actually kept notes & re-read passages lest this northern transplant missed some underlying positive word in that 260-odd pages .. Oh,yeah,Beagent infers that he does eat Brie & is a closet Francophile…signed EA/tgb

    Reply
  11. E. Archivist:Have you ever lived in a small mountain town in the South? I have. Part of the reason I liked the book is because so much of it rings true. The author’s intention is to illuminate the lifestyle and predominant mindsets of his hometown. He never claimed to offer any solutions. Neither did Barbara Ehrenreich in the most piece of social criticism I’ve ever read, Nickle and Dimed.So again– the reason I liked the book is because, good lord, THAT’S WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE. This is the background I come from. This is what I can never communicate to people who "ain’t from around here." It’s authentic.

    Reply
  12. eleemosenary archivist

    See, some really nice Librarians come from such small southern towns.Representation by Baegert does ring true,if pointless though.tgb should not have been suprised having lived in or outside of places of the sort in NC & CA and several european nations. Guess my knee-jerk reaction was to feel the guy should have used his bully pulpit in a way that evoked some reaction other than revulsion. Might have had a Chapter on something with a whiff of hope. Anyhow, your point is well taken. obrigado. Librarians one (pun)Old farts(calmed) like tgb lose track of much of what six decades has taught us about h.sapiensis sometimes.Still think his editor should have required an uplifting word..the dognity of human existence should be inviolable,..OK I’ll shut up and read a Manga in which good triumphs over evil.EA/tgb

    Reply
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