2008 by the Numbers

My fairly unscientific tally of books read for the year (not counting picture books unless reviewed here, which is rare, and not counting 50 issues each of Newsweek and Entertainment Weekly and 12 issues each of Redbook and Real Simple and the odd newsstand copy of such enlightened trash as Us Weekly and In Touch):

[drum roll]

137 books read.

Not bad. Not my best, which I think was 150 in 2005, but still, a decent showing. My posts increased to 192 this year, after 171 last year, so that's an improvement (to me, at least).

Here's to a wonderful 2009, despite the craphole that is the current economy.


The Handmaid's Tale: Review Haiku

The ladies in red
are reduced to vessels of
expansion. Chilling.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. McClelland and Stewart, 1985, 320 pages.

#49 on The LIST.


TWO: Birthday Haiku

Finally, you are
delightful. Completely insane,
but delightful.

Happy birthday, Peanut.


Lolita: Review Haiku

Somehow this is not
as palatable now that
I have a daughter.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. Olympia Press (Paris), 1955, 336 pages.

#48 on The LIST.


Merry Christmas!

A very merry Christmas to all.


The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday: Review Haiku

Overthinking Scots
busybody muses on
life, guilt, and children.

The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday (An Isabel Dalhousie Novel) by Alexander McCall Smith. Pantheon, 2008, 256 pages.


2008 in Review (Haiku)

Here's to another
year of great reading. (Plus a
few stinkers. Oh well.)

Behold, the year-end roundup. I may have more to say this year, but I figured now was as good a time as any to compile my favorites of 2008. These are in no particular order per category.

Picture Book Obsession of 2008
The oeuvre of Jan Thomas:
What Will Fat Cat Sit On?
A Birthday for Cow!
The Doghouse
Incidentally, this leads me to my Brilliant Discovery of 2008: Jacketless hardcover at 9x9 trim = Made of Awesome. (See also Not a Box and The Pigeon.)

Favorite Chapter Books of 2008

Favorite Middle-Grade Books of 2008
My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath
White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry
Knucklehead by Jon Scieszcka

Favorite YA Novels of 2008
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Paper Towns by John Green
The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkowski
The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart

Favorite Adult Books of 2008
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken
I Shall Not Want by Julia Spencer-Fleming
Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely

Favorite Books from The LIST in 2008
Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson
The Autobiography of Malcolm X with Alex Haley
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Book from The LIST I Expected to Hate but Didn't
A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Least Favorite Books from The LIST in 2008
Guns, Germs, and Steel by Jared Diamond
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

I should end with something witty, but right now I have one child spilling hot cocoa on her dress and the other screaming for me with a load in his pants. And that pretty much sums up my life in 2008.


More Information Than You Require: Review Haiku

Take it in the john
for hours of Lampoon humor,
with mole-men. Snarky.

More Information Than You Require by John Hodgman. Dutton, 2008, 359 pages.


Dear All Authors Who Have Ever Submitted or Will Ever Submit to Me

Please go read this post:


which explains, in language clearer and more eloquent than I have ever mustered in my rejection letters, what it means to write for children and not simply about children.

Sarah Miller rocks.


My One Hundred Adventures: Review Haiku

Equal parts slapstick
and tragic absurdity.
Man, I heart Horvath.

My One Hundred Adventures by Polly Horvath. Schwartz & Wade, 2008, 260 pages.


The Other Side of the Island: Review Haiku

Nothing new under
the sun -- or the projection.
Sharp but unfinished.

The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman. Razorbill/Penguin, 2008, 280 pages.


The Nativity Story, by The Munchkin

"Do you want to play Sleeping Beauty, Mommy? You have to wait till the Queen and King say you can go to Bethlehem, on the nice dragon. And when you get to Bethlehem, you have to watch out for the evil queen."

Herod, Maleficent . . . it's all the same.


Bowling Across America: Review Haiku

After fifty states
I still can't decide: hot shot,
or beer-soaked loser?

Bowling Across America: 50 States in Rented Shoes by Mike Walsh. St. Martin's, 2008, 292 pages.


This I Believe II: Review Haiku

Great bathroom reading --
and I mean that in a good
way. Thought-provoking.


It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like #$@%#!!

No time to read last night, as I was too busy with the annual Ritual Cursing of the Stupid Expletive Muzza-Fuzza Printer and Its Inability to Print Stupid Expletive Muzza-Fuzza Labels for the Christmas cards. But they're done now! Out the door!

Please enjoy this picture (part of our Christmas card) of my wee bairn tapping a keg, while I catch up.


Graceling: Review Haiku

Mercenary girl
learns trust, love, and redemption.
Badass tour-de-force.

Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Harcourt, 2008, 471 pages.


Chains: Review Haiku

Laurie takes up Tobin's
in this taut tale
of freedom fought for.

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. S&S, 2008, 316 pages.


The Autobiography of Malcolm X: Review Haiku

One man's search for God:
knocks you upside the head with
painful, searing prose.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X, with assistance from Alex Haley. Grove, 1965, 502 pages.

#47 on The LIST.


Paper Towns: Review Haiku

If Aaron Sorkin
wrote YA. Gets preachy at
the end; still, a gem.

Paper Towns by John Green. Dutton, 2008, 305 pages.

Note: I read this one and Two Parties, One Tux . . . back to back, and I'm struck by the similarities: nebbishy guy plus piece-of-work friends plus previously unattainable girl plus prom, etc. I enjoyed them both very much, but I find myself getting confused in my mind as to which event happened in which book.