January 19, 2009

2008: 21 and 1/2 Books

So, I barely squeaked by my pseudo-goal of 20 books this year. I reviewed some after I read them, so if you are interested, check out books.

Like last year, I think this list is a good summary of where I spent the majority of my spare thought cycles in 2008: 6 books related to Japan, 1 book related to Savannah, 2 books focused on zen or letting go, 4 stories set in far away places I'd love to visit, 4 on food and cooking, 1 on gardening (I didn't list the Master Gardner Handbook because it's more of a reference manual), 3 telling stories of overcoming severe adversity, 2 on humor, 2 of pure fun fluff, and 1/2 a book on economics.

  1. Gweilo: Memories of a Hong Kong Childhood (Martin Booth)

  2. I choose to live (Sabine Dardenne)

  3. The curious incident of the dog in the nighttime (Mark Haddon)

  4. Pictures from the water trade (John David Morley)

  5. Norwegian Wood (Haruki Murakami)

  6. Kitchen (Banana Yoshimoto)

  7. The Teahouse Fire (Ellis Avery)

  8. Japanland: A year in search of Wa (Karin Muller)

  9. Dave Barry Does Japan (Dave Barry)

  10. The man who ate everything (Jeffrey Steingarten)

  11. My grandfather's blessings (Rachel Noami Remen)

  12. Ladies with Options (Cynthia Hartwick)

  13. Skinny Dip (Carl Hiaasen)

  14. If you lived here I'd know your name (Heather Lende)

  15. Square Foot Gardening (Mel Bartholomew)

  16. Nothing Special; Living Zen (Charlotte Joko Beck)

  17. When You Are Engulfed In flames (David Sedaris)

  18. Salt: A World History (Mark Kurlansky)

  19. Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet: A culinary journey through Southeast Asia (Jeffrey Alford & Naomi Duguid)

  20. The White Tiger (Aravind Adiga)

  21. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (John Berendt)

  22. The Black Swan (p. 215/366) (Nassim Nicholas Taleb) (I just could not get past Mr. Taleb's arrogance and finally stopped reading. Unfortunately, much of the analysis he published in 2007 was spot on in many areas of our current economy. Given that very few people predicted much of the current mess, I'm guessing I'm not going to like his next book for the same reason. Oh well.)

I like 20. It's hard for me to fit 'em in my current life, but not so hard that it's untenable. So I think I'll shoot for 20 for this year, too.

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