52 Books in 52 Weeks, 2008 Edition

It’s time for another “52 Books in 52 Weeks” recap.

The grand total was 49 books this year, three short of my goal. I recall around the beginning of December that I was running about 5 or 6 books off my pace, so apparently I made up a little ground at the end. Not enough, as it turns out.

I keep track of both the books I’ve read and my todo list on Backpack, as a checklist. Recently, they added the date an item was checked off to the list display, but it looks like they’ve been collecting it all along. As a result, I now have a record of when I finished each book, to within a day or two.

This lends itself to some more sophisticated statistics.

For instance, here’s a histogram of how many books I read in each month of 2008:

July was my best month, April my worst. April was when I fell behind, and I never recovered the pace, though I came close in July.

Other quantitative facts:

  • Books by sportswriters: 3
  • Books by children of former US Vice Presidents: 1
  • Books made into movies: 3

The biggest disappointment of the year was, I think, The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold. Her first book, The Lovely Bones, remains one of my all-time favorite books, and I was excited to learn earlier today that it’s been made into a movie, by Peter Jackson no less. Compared to it, The Almost Moon was a letdown. No, that’s not entirely fair; it was a letdown even when not compared to The Lovely Bones.

Picking my favorite from this list is a lot harder. In fact, I’m not going to. Maybe I could come up with a top 10, but since that’s almost 20% of the total list, that doesn’t seem terribly useful.

Here’s the entire list for 2008, in reverse chronological order:

  • Fatsis, Stefan. A Few Seconds of Panic: A 5-Foot-8, 170-Pound, 43-Year-Old Sportswriter Plays in the NFL.
  • Sheehan, Michael A. Crush the Cell: How to Defeat Terrorism Without Terrorizing Ourselves.
  • Phillips, Marie. Gods Behaving Badly.
  • de Santis, Pablo. The Paris Enigma.
  • Butcher, Jim. Fool Moon.
  • Quinion, Michael. Ballyhoo, Buckaroo, and Spuds: ingenious tales of words and their origins.
  • Shepard, Jim. Project X.
  • Gladwell, Malcolm. Outliers: Why Some People Succeed and Some Don’t.
  • Pelecanos, George P. Hell to Pay.
  • Niven, Larry and Lerner, Edward M. Juggler of Worlds.
  • Posnanski, Joe. The Good Stuff.
  • Petroski, Henry. Pushing the Limits: New Adventures in Engineering.
  • Connelly, Michael. The Black Ice.
  • Deford, Frank. I’m Just Getting Started.
  • Huff, Tanya. Smoke and Shadows.
  • Walsh, Peter. It’s All Too Much: An Easy Plan for Living a Richer Life with Less Stuff.
  • Gill, Michael Gates. How Starbucks Saved My Life: A Son of Privilege Learns to Live Like Everyone Else.
  • Sedaris, David. When You Are Engulfed in Flames.
  • Burrough, Bryan. Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34.
  • Miller, John Ramsey. Upside Down.
  • Coupland, Douglas. Girlfriend in a Coma.
  • Spencer-Fleming, Julia. I Shall Not Want.
  • Wells, Ken. Travels with Barley: A Journey Through Beer Culture in America.
  • Winchester, Simon. The Man Who Loved China: The Fantastic Story of the Eccentric Scientist Who Unlocked the Mysteries of the Middle Kingdom.
  • Butcher, Jim. Storm Front.
  • Couch, Dick. The Warrior Elite: The Forging of SEAL Class 228.
  • Johnson, Adam. Parasites Like Us.
  • Sacks, Oliver. Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain.
  • Child, Lee. Nothing to Lose.
  • Helprin, Mark. The Pacific and Other Stories.
  • Fuller, Alexandra. Scribbling the Cat.
  • Joss, Morag. Fearful Symmetry.
  • Mezrich, Ben. Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six M.I.T. Students Who Took Vegas for Millions.
  • Prachett, Terry. Carpe Jugulum.
  • Metzger, Robert A. Cusp.
  • Connelly, Michael. The Overlook.
  • Coupland, Douglas. The Gum Thief.
  • Logan, Chuck. After the Rain.
  • Mayle, Peter. A Good Year.
  • Weisman, Alan. The World Without Us.
  • Crile, George. Charlie Wilson’s War.
  • Gore, Kristin. Sammy’s House.
  • Clarke, Thurston. Searching for Crusoe: A Journey Among the Last Real Islands.
  • Frey, Stephen. The Chairman.
  • Niven, Larry and Lerner, Edward M. Fleet of Worlds.
  • Curtis, Bryan. The Explainer.
  • Sebold, Alice. The Almost Moon.
  • Buford, Bill. Heat : an amateur’s adventures as kitchen slave, line cook, pasta maker, and apprentice to a Dante-quoting butcher in Tuscany.
  • Grafton, Sue. T is for Trespass.