Friday, January 09, 2009

My 2008 Reading Wrap-Up

*Caution, my OCD-prone nature is about to rear-it's ugly, Excel loving head.

In 2008, I read/listened to fifty books. Of those fifty books, only one was a re-read; The Sunrise Lands by S. M. Stirling. Which means, needless to say, that book is in my top reads list for the year. But seeing as I wanted to do something different this year with my "top reads" list, I did a "net worth" list instead. I ranked books on how much they were worth compared to how much I paid for them. So, with that in mind, let's cover the worst of the year.

The Three Books I Couldn't Finish:
#1 - Winterbirth by Brian Ruckley (cost $1.64 / value $0 = 0%)
#2 - The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (cost $14.95 / value $0 = 0%)
#3 - Roughing It by Mark Twain (cost $0 / value $0 = 0%)

Now, before you roast me for putting Twain in there, he was free, so chill out. And I love Twain, so chill out some more. But I just couldn't stomach this one, so I had to stop reading it. The Disappeared was, well, hard to get into. And Winterbirth had some way crazy names and characters I couldn't follow.

The Lowest Net Worth:
#1 - Angels and Demons by Dan Brown (cost $49.95 / value $2.50 = 5%)
#2 - Dark Lord by Ed Greenwood (cost $14.95 / value $1.95 = 13%)
#3 - The Ancient by R. A. Salvatore (cost $44.95 / value $9.95 = 22%)

Yes, part of me feels shamed that Salvatore, my once all-time favorite author, is on this list, but I think my reading habits have developed beyond puberty now and I'm ready to expand my horizons. At least a little. Brown's book was by far the most disappointing book. I was so hyped after Da Vinci that this like was a limp noodle next to it.

The Highest Net Worth:
#1 - Dies the Fire by S. M. Stirling (cost $5.95 / value $7.95 = 134%)
#2 - Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie (cost $15.00 / value $19.99 = 133%)
#3 - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling (cost $39.99 / value $39.99 = 100%)
tie - The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (cost $39.95 / value $39.95 = 100%)
tie - The Protector's War by S. M. Stirling (cost $14.95 / value $14.95 = 100%)
tie - A Meeting at Corvallis by S. M. Stirling (cost $14.95 / value $14.95 = 100%)
tie - The Sunrise Lands by S. M. Stirling (cost $14.95 / value $14.95 = 100%)

Feel free to call me lame on this list, but hey, they were good books. And yes, Stirling is on the list with four titles. So sue me, I like his work. Chabon's Yiddish book is likely the biggest surprise. Never would have figured it would amount to much but the guy is an artist that paints with words and prose. Abercrombie is, well, the king. Rowling's book was okay, but I really needed that ending. Without it, I think I would have given it a much lower ranking.

Books That Are Worth It:
...but didn't make the list (net worth included)
Winter's Discord by John Zeleznik (95%)
Dead to Me by Anton Strout (94%)
Goblin Quest by Jim C. Hines (94%)
Last Argument of Kings and The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie (85% and 80%)
Beyond Band of Brothers by Major Dick Winters (80%)
Crusade by Taylor Anderson (80%)
The Zookeeper's Wife by Diane Ackerman (75%)
Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, illustrated by the un-related Nathan Hale (75%)


S.M. Stirling said...

Heartily approve your priorities!

TK42ONE said...

Why thank you! And I'm double dipping with The Scourge of God. I'm reading the book and listening to the audio version (isn't Todd McLaren great?). And of course Island in the Sea of Time will be after that to fill in the gaps while I wait for the next installment. So write faster!

John Zeleznik said...

I'm seriously I am...I spit my soda across my desk! I'm flattered. I'm...I'm...I'm rambling!

TK42ONE said...

Well, hope you had a paper towel handy. And, while you are unpublished and everyone has their own opinions, I think you'll fit into the genre you're aiming for just fine. I think if you tried to step up to a more adult story, you'd need some re-writes. But you know what audience you're targeting and you know how to write to them. And based on what I've read, you're good (and I think I wrote this before I read that last batch of chapters too).

And Todd McLaren? The guy I mentioned up there that reads Stirling's books? He started in radio in Syracuse. Small world!

Anton Strout said...

Does this mean we have to start being nice to you?

TK42ONE said...

I'm not sure I'd know what to do with people being nice to me. I think the big question will be who wins the cage match - Simon or Kvothe? This is the year, isn't it?

dennis said...

I didn't make it through Winterbirth either... oh well. Also, I bought Dies the Fire earlier today at the bookstore, and low and behold I stumble upon it mentioned here - gives me reassurance of a good purchase... thanks.

TK42ONE said...

Dennis - I think Winterbirth was so hard for me because it was so dense. The names were hard enough, but making me read so much for so little action was just too much of a carrot hanging in front of me.

And I've long been a fan of Stirlings, so I might be biased. But I think you'll like it.

Thanks for stopping by!