2008 In Books

Last year, I read 35 books, totalling 9,744 pages. This is the most books I’ve read in a year since I’ve started keeping track, but not, by any means, the largest number of pages. (No Atlas Shrugged, War and Peace or anything else of the epic sort this year, apparently.)

A few personal highlights from my reading:

  • Me Talk Pretty One Day: I’ve been hearing David Sedaris on This American Life for ages, but finally read some of his work for the first time this year. He is as delightfully droll in print as on the radio, though his comic timing still makes the audio versions a special delight.
  • The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism: My first exposure to Tim Keller, this is a terrific work of Christian apologetics written for the lay person. Keller does a creditable job of laying out the intellectual objections to faith and addressing them clearly and well.
  • The 21 Balloons: I had fond memories of a book about Krakatoa and hot air balloons that a teacherĀ  read to our elementary school class. I’d never been able to remember what the book was until, lo and behold, Liam started telling me about the same book his teacher was reading to him! I immediately recognized it, and was delighted to get to go back and read this one over again. Great fun!
  • Wisdom & Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton: My good friend and brother in law Jeff Adams recommended this. I’m no particular fan of biographies, so the fact that I enjoyed this a great deal is some measure of how good it is. (Temper that with the fact that I am a big fan of Chesterton, however.)
  • Soon I Will Be Invincible: A fun and novel (!) take on the superhero genre. All the standard tropes are there, but recast in such a way as to make the characters human, three-dimensional and plausible. A most enjoyable romp.
  • Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder, So B. It, Hoot: Abigail has been reading voraciously this year, and recommended several books to me. Fortunately, she has good taste in young people’s literature, so it was a joy to get to read some of the things she had enjoyed and share those pleasures with her.
  • Longitude: A well-written account of the history of navigation and the major figures therein. The details of John Harrison’s work on various timepieces were made especially enjoyable for me by the fact that we had seen several of them at Greenwich back in 2005.
  • Little Brother: Cory Doctorow’s latest fiction, a novel for young people that revolves around a protagonist who discovers serious governmental abuse of power and goes about exposing it. A good, 1984-esque cautionary tale for our time.
  • The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical: Fascinating and moving book. Equal part reflections and anecdotes on what it means to live according to the fundamentals of the Christian faith.
  • Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians: Wonderfully entertaining start to a new series of fantasy novels for young people. Highly recommended if you’ve run out of Harry Potter books to read. I’m waiting eagerly for the next installment.

If you’ve read anything especially wonderful this year, I’d love to hear about it!