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2007 Book Recap

  1. Pohl, Frederik — Gateway (278 pages)
  2. Clement, Hal — Mission of Gravity (193 pages)
  3. Benford, Gregory — Timescape (499 pages)
  4. O'Hare, Mick (editor) — Why Don't Penguins Feet Freeze? and 114 Other Questions (232 pages)
  5. Dos Passos, John — Number One (218 pages)
  6. Heller, Joseph — Catch-22 (457 pages)
  7. St. John of the Cross — Dark Night of the Soul (119 pages)
  8. Day, Dorothy — The Long Loneliness (286 pages)
  9. Allen, Ted, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley, and Jai Rodriguez — Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: The Fab 5's Guide to Looking Better, Cooking Better, Dressing Better, Behaving Better, and Living Better (250 pages)
  10. Whittemore, Carroll E., ed. (William Duncan, illus.) — Symbols of the Church (59 pages)
  11. Hardy, Thomas — Jude the Obscure (507 pages)
  12. Lee, Harper — To Kill a Mockingbird (278 pages)
  13. Mann, Thomas (Helen T. Lowe-Porter, transl.) — Death in Venice (73 pages)
  14. Kempis, Thomas à — The Imitation of Christ (165 pages)
  15. West, Canon Edward N. — Outward Signs: The Language of Christian Symbolism (232 pages)
  16. Alexander, Lloyd — The High King (253 pages)
  17. Bellairs, John — St. Fidgeta & Other Parodies (84 pages)
  18. Endo, Shusaku — Silence (300 pages)
  19. Moorcock, Michael — Behold the Man (137 pages)
  20. Pouncey, Peter — Rules for Old Men Waiting (208 pages)
  21. Davies, Robertson — Tempest-Tost (The Salterton Trilogy) (235 pages)
  22. Davies, Robertson — Leaven of Malice (The Salterton Trilogy) (218 pages)
  23. Davies, Robertson — A Mixture of Frailties (The Salterton Trilogy) (311 pages)
  24. Austen, Jane — Pride and Prejudice (274 pages)
  25. Murakami, Haruki — Hard-boiled Wonderland and the End of the World (400 pages)
  26. Burrows, Ruth, O.C.D. — Essence of Prayer (210 pages)
  27. McCarthy, Cormac — The Road (239 pages)
  28. Dahl, Roald — The BFG (184 pages)
  29. Eugenides, Jeffrey — The Virgin Suicides (247 pages)
  30. Geoffrey of Monmouth — The History of the Kings of Britain (280 pages)
  31. Figgess, Sandra — Christian Initiation of Older Children (87 pages)
  32. Clarke, Susanna — Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (1006 pages)
  33. Sobel, Dava — Longitude (179 pages)
  34. Bradbury, Ray — The Martian Chronicles (181 pages)
  35. Jones, Steve — Y: The Descent of Men (263 pages)
  36. Pratchett, Terry, and Neil Gaiman — Good Omens (375 pages)

Page count: 9,517 of targeted 12,500.

We're more than half a month into the new year and I've got two-going-on-four books under my belt already, so I suppose I ought to recap my reading from 2007.

I didn't set myself a number of books as a goal last year (as I did the year before, when I exceeded my goal of 50 by 1). I thought that would be a slight cop out, because I could always pad the list with slimmer books or quicker reads. I didn't want to do that, and I didn't want any excuse not to tackle some of the longer books that have been sitting on my shelf. I thought instead I'd set a number of pages as a goal, figuring 250 pages per book as a reasonable average.

I fell well short of my goal of 12,500 pages. It wasn't an unattainable goal by any means, but I spent about a month and a half watching movies in my spare time more than reading. And I didn't do as much reading as I could have during my exile from Britain. I documented 36 books and 9,517 pages. There was more reading I didn't document.

I began to read the Bible cover-to-cover last year. I've only gotten 475 pages, a little more than 10 books, into it. Hadn't documented it because, frankly, I didn't know how to count it. Does one count the Bible as one big book? Two books? A collection of books and epistles? I suppose one could make the argument that each of the first ten books (except maybe Ruth) is book-length, especially when one considers the tiny font squished into two columns on huge pages. By that reckoning, my total for 2007 is 46 books and 10,062 pages.

If I really wanted to pad my numbers, I could add about 40 or so pages of manuals and language books, about 200-300 pages in Beauty, and 20 or so in another book I'm reading, all technically part of 2007. That would be silly, though, and wouldn't get me that much closer to my goal.

Which of my 2007 books did I like the most? I'm thinking this might have to be a three-way tie between Catch-22, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. The least? Probably Symbols of the Church. Which had the deepest impact on me? Without question, Dark Night of the Soul, for, while I can't claim to understand a lot of what is in it and found so much of it tedious reading, it actually changed the way I think about and approach certain things.

Of the 36 books (not counting the Bible), there were 32 unique authors. (I'm not counting editors and I'm certainly not counting the Fab Five.) Of those, 23 were new to me. Of the new authors, my favorites were Clarke, McCarthy, Heller, Lee, Day, and Endo; my least favorite were Bellairs, Clement, and Jones. I don't think there's any danger of my reading any more works by the latter, whereas I've already read a new novel by one of the former and look forward to more.

I've decided not to set any specific reading goals for 2008. I simply have too many things on my plate, with singing, work, languages, and more, to be concerning myself with reading quotas. That said, I will always have a book in hand, as usual. I thought about setting other sorts of goals, such as making sure every third book was non-fiction or having a certain number of books recommended to me by others. I decided, though, that I don't want to predefine my 2008 reading in any way. I will continue to catalogue what I read, because I enjoy doing so (and one or two of you might even enjoy reading these posts) and it helps me keep tabs on my reading, but I do so with no quantified goals in mind.

Now, on to 2008…

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