amari_z: (addict)
Rather to my own amazement, I managed to read 101 books in 2008 (not including “trash” books—damn you, kindle!). This means that I made it more than half way through my Big List of Shame, which stands at 163 books, eighty-three of which, according to the BLoS, I bought this year.*

I read sixty-seven works of fiction and thirty-four of nonfiction. This is bad only when you consider that despite the 2:1 ratio in reading, I have a nearly 1:1 ratio on my BLoS. I did the best in summer—no surprise there, since I tend to develop insomniac tendencies in hot weather. My worst month was April, followed by December. In April, it took me a long time to read Gate of the Sun. In December, I think it was all the trash novels and general laziness.

Although I enjoyed most of the books I read, and I generally dislike picking favorites, here are ten rather randomly chosen highlights:

1. Joshua Ferris, Then We Came to the End. I’m in love with this book. It’s the only narrative I’ve ever read that successfully managed a second person plural pov. And it’s funny and spot on about office life.

2. Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide. One of my favorite authors, and I think this is my favorite book of his to date (I haven’t read his new one yet). If for no other reason, read it for the setting, the Sundarbans, the ever-changing Ganges tidal delta, inhabited by tigers, crocodiles and, perhaps, the rare river dolphin.

3. Peter Godwin, Mukiwa and When a Crocodile Eats the Sun. There are a lot of areas of the world about which I feel my knowledge is sadly lacking, and the entire continent of Africa is one of them. These two books are memoirs of a white boy growing up in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, the end of white rule and what followed. Well written, troubling, and topical if you’re following today’s news.

4. Elias Khoury, Gate of the Sun. I already discussed a bit about this one.

5. David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas. I don’t know why it took me so long to read this. Six connected stories spread across time, set up like concentric rings. Brilliant.

6. Tahir Shah, The Caliph's House. I bought this one up on a whim and have no regrets. A British writer of partial Afghani parentage makes a sudden decision to pick up and move his family to Morocco.

7. Jonathan Shay, Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character. If you like the Iliad and are interested in the psychology of war, run to read this book.

8. Raja Shehadeh, Palestinian Walks. See here.

9. M. G. Vassanji, The In-Between World of Vikram Lall. I had never heard of this Canadian author, which is one of the reasons I’m selecting this book for mention. Story of how the main character, of Indian ancestry but born to immigrant parents in Kenya, comes to be one of the most notoriously corrupt men in a country notorious for corruption.

10. Evelyn Waugh, Black Mischief. I read a lot of Waugh this year. It was hard to pick between this one and Put Out More Flags, but I think this one wins for me by a narrow margin. Read both.

Complete List of 2008 books )

* This is rather a cheat. I bought *ahem* quite a few books toward the end of this year that I haven’t added to my list (some of them haven’t arrived). Coming soon: 2009 Big List of Shame.
amari_z: (worst thing about new books)
This is probably of little interest to anyone but me and my ongoing futile attempts to keep myself from buying a gazillion books, but here's a list of books I read this year. It is both somewhat impressive to me given my schedule, and yet also depressing given my grandiose appetites.

It's what I can figure out (did I really read nothing in January and February?), including some of the less than literary stuff that I don't usually bother to include in my shame lists (and most of which I've probably forgotten anyway). Except for some at the end, I think I've mentioned most of these somewhere in my journal, but if anyone wants commentary or recs, feel free to ask.

What I read in 2007 )
amari_z: (Castus 2007)
I did this last year, and so it seems to be a tradition, or something. I'm actually a little sad to see how little I wrote, billions of pages of teh crack aside. All King Arthur fic. I really need to get back into the Greek mythology. Maybe I should reread the Iliad again . . . .

The first line of the first fic posted each month this year:

January. Words Unspoken:
Arthur was nearly asleep when he felt Lancelot lay down beside him.

February. Half Awake:
Lancelot woke with a start, unsure of where he was.

March. Untitled Resurrection ficlet:
Lancelot was watching Arthur and not bothering to hide it.

April. First Impressions (drabble):
They’d had so many commanders that Bors joked it was pointless to learn names: "Call’em sir to their faces; bastards to their backs."

May. In Twilight’s Kingdom:
Lancelot stood on a wide plain, listening to the wind moving through the swaying sea of grass.

June. None, except some Resurrection question memes. The first one of the month began:
The first time Lancelot drank coffee, everyone was very sorry (except him).

July. Prelude:
Arthur sat slumped in a dark corner of the tavern, as indifferent to the soldiers carousing around him as they were to him.

August. The Coming of Spring (drabble):
They watch for them.

September. None

October. None

November. None

December. Rumors of War (see, I was working on something!):
The trip back from Eboracum passed as a gray haze, punctured by occasional small flares of dread at the sight of each landmark signaling their progress toward Badon Hill.

Not quite as exciting as I would have liked, but it’s certainly too late to change it. May next year bring more time and inspiration for fun with words.
amari_z: (calvin2)
Because, you know, procrastination:

The first line of the first fic posted each month this year (not including 100 word drabbles).

January
Morning saw Arthur bleary-eyed but alert as he arrived at the training yard to meet his new command.
(Field Trip, King Arthur fandom, part of Rites of Passage series)

February
Inventorying supplies was no one’s favorite task, but as Gareth was wont to say, it beat slogging through the mud and being shot at by people who painted themselves blue.
(Supply and Demand, King Arthur Fandom, part of Rites of Passage series)

March
None (Vacation to Austria!)

April
Wild rage followed hard on the heels of reeling shock when the arrow punched through his chest.
( Myths Legends and Lies, King Arthur fandom, part of Resurrection (crack) series)

May
The fighting is long over by the time Achilleus returns to the Myrmidon camp.
(Scars, Achilleus/Patroklos, remember my 100 fic thing?)

June
None (work, I hate you)

July
Arthur ran his fingers through damp curls, his hand sliding downward to cup the fragile base of Lancelot's skull.
(Dangerous Games, King Arthur fandom, part of Resurrection (crack) series)

August
Tristan crouched in the dirt by the stable's outer wall, watching Lancelot.
(Totem, King Arthur fandom, Tristan and Lancelot, written for [livejournal.com profile] darklyscarlett's birthday)

September
Arthur’s fingers tangled in dark curls as he struggled not to pull while holding his partner’s head against him.
(Quest, King Arthur fandom (and if you noticed the similarity to the first line of another story--hee!))

October
The battlefield was made of smoke and fire, the hellish sounds of the dying and wounded, the stink of blood and human butchery.
(Rude Awakenings, King Arthur fandom, part of Resurrection (crack) series)

November
When Arthur finally rose from his knees, it was only the ache in his joints that alerted him to the passage of time.
(Rituals and Observations, King Arthur, A/L, written for [livejournal.com profile] lessy37's b-day)

December
None (yet?)

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