Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Year In Review: 2008

It has been nearly 6 months since the inception of this blog, "A library is a hospital for the mind..." Since starting this blog I have read and reviewed over 50 books, but my actual total reads for the year is at 81 (excluding current reads that aren't finished and books of the Bible) since I was reading long before the idea to create this blog popped into my head.

Thinking back over some of the books I read and reviewed this year I realize not all readers may agree with my opinions posted in my reviews. In fact, I joked earlier this year about feeling a little like Roeper and Eper when I posted a negative review of the same book I had read another blogger's postive review. But that's the fun of blogging. A Library is a Hospital for the Mind is my blog and it is here that I can share my thoughts and opinions about the books I read. It is also here that you can leave your thoughts through comments or link to your own blog where you have posted your own reviews. It's a great networking and researching tool for readers. Thank you to each of the readers who take time out of their busy day to visit this blog and read my thoughts. I hope you have a wonderful new year that is full reading time and wonderfully good reads.

The following is a year in review, summary style.

** Note: All books that I have reviewed are hyperlinked to my review and you can view them by clicking on the title and author. **

SARAH'S BEST BOOK DISCOVERY in 2008
It's a tie... Either Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day by Winifred Watson or Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico and the surprise that it is the first of a four books series. (Come to think of it, I believe my friend found the Miss Pettigrew book and told me about it, so I didn't really discover it, she did.)

SARAH'S WORST BOOK DISCOVERY in 2008
Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott. I expected a wonderful love story written by the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie, under a nom de plume.... but I missed the fact that this book and others under the name Mary Westmacott are tragedies... I found it depressing and don't plan to read any more of her books under this name.

SARAH'S FAVORITE CLASSIC READ IN 2008
This was very hard because I read so many classics this year that I loved, but in the end it's a tie between Bleak House by Charles Dickens and Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. Both were very long novels, but I loved the story plots, the characters, and the writing.

SARAH'S BIGGEST FAILURE TO COMPLETE IN 2008:
Paradise Lost by John Milton. I was supposed to read this book as part of the October book club meeting... but I never got into it. I've returned the book to my "Books to Read" list. I WILL read it one day.

TOP 5 BOOKS IN 2008 THAT I DIDN'T THINK I'D LIKE, BUT ENDED UP ENJOYING:
1. The Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket. (Sorry, no review, this was a January 2008 read, pre blog. But I did review another of the series here.)
2. The Man Who Was Thursday by G. K. Chesterton
3. The House of Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne
4. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden (I didn't love, but I didn't hate it.)
5. Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

SARAH'S GREATEST READING ACCOMPLISHMENT IN 2008:
Bleak House by Charles Dickens at 995 pages. Took me just over 30 days to read.

TOP 5 BOOKS I WISH I HAD READ AND PLAN TO READ IN 2009:
1. A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. (This was on my LitFlicks list to read, but never made it to my nightstand.)
2. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. (I read this book years ago and wanted to re-read it for Christmas, but it doesn't look as though I'll get to it this year... next December for sure!)
3. Washington Burning by Lee Standiford
4. Nothing But the Truth by Avi
5. More Agatha Christie crime novels. (In the beginning of 2008 I set the goal to read all of her crime novels starting with the first published and working one by one through all 80 novels. In 2008 I read 8.... 72 left.... At this rate I could be reading these for the next decade!)

TOP FIVE FAVORITE READS IN 2008:
1. Bleak House by Charles Dickens
2. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell
3. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day by Winifred Watson
4. The Man in the Brown Suit by Agatha Christie
5. Ruth by Elizabeth Gaskell

TOP FIVE BOOKS I WISH I HAD NEVER LAID EYES ON in 2008:
Maybe I'm too kind, but I can't say that I hated any of these books, so they don't really fall into this category... but they certainly weren't favorites or ones I really liked... Mostly they are in my >2 category (i.e. 1 = awful and 5 = excellent).

1. Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott
2. The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum
3. Lost Layson by Margaret Mitchell
4. I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
5. Sister Carrie by Theordore Drieser

READING BLOG(S) I AM MOST GRATEFUL FOR:
Reading to Know. I started this blog on a whim, but because of Carrie's encouragement it has become something more. Carrie also helped me host the Autumn Book Swap, which was such fun. I can't wait until our Winter Book Swap in January!
Semicolon. Because of the weekly Saturday Review I have been able to reach out and meet other bloggers and readers that I might not have otherwise had the opportunity.

READING BLOGS I THINK ARE TOP-NOTCH
In addition to the two above...
* 5 Minutes for Books
* The Bluestocking Society
* My Friend Amy
* Should Be Reading

There are so many other blogs that I could mention. If I leave a comment on your blog that means I've read your posts and generally I've added you to my bloglines list. If you have a blog that you want me to check out, please leave a comment! This list is continually growing.

So those are A Few of My Favorite Things from 2008 in the world of books. Feel free to agree or disagree and leave a comment. What are some things that you loved about the books you read this year? Anything you are looking forward to next year? Please leave a comment with your thoughts, or a link to your own post.

Last, for those interested, I have posted a list of all the books I read in 2008, which link to each Check Spellingreview via the hyperlinked title.

10 comments:

dancebythelight said...

I just started Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell. Actually, I've just read the introduction, but am all ready to start chapter 1! A Little Princess was a favorite childhood book. However, The Secret Garden is my favorite from that author.

Noel De Vries said...

Phew!!!

http://noeldevries.blogspot.com/2008/12/reading-riting-and-resolutions-i-simply.html

If you like crime novels, have you tried Dorothy Sayers? Her Lord Peter mysteries are my favorite in the world (and that's saying something, because I adore Miss Marple). Start with Strong Poison.

Alyce said...

I had to laugh about Paradise Lost. It's the one book from college I was unable to finish. My husband (good friend at the time) got me a copy of the cliff notes with the inscription "Give it up, you're never going to finish this book." I guess he was tired of hearing me complain about it. It was the first gift he had gotten me and I still have it.

Amy said...

Thanks for the mention. :) What a pleasant surprise as I was reading through your post. :)

You've read some good stuff this year!

Rebecca Reid said...

I read Paradise Lost in college and absolutely loved it. I'm going to reread it this year.

Interesting you didn't like Wizard of Oz. I read it as a kid and liked it but don't recall a thing. Maybe I'll reread it.

Thanks for the links. Since I"m fairly new too, I think I've missed some of these reviews!

Carrie said...

Ooo I like your addition of books that you wished you had gotten around to this past year. So many. So many! I'm looking forward to another year of reading.

And yup - we need to get crackin' on the next book swap! =)

Angel said...

I love Bleak House. Actually, I love everything by Dickens, but Bleak House is a major favorite. If you haven't already, rent the BBC mini-series by the same name. It's very close to the book and each castmember is spot-on perfect for his or her role. I love it when you watch a movie and the actor is just how you pictured them while reading the book. :)

Lenore said...

I've been toying with the idea of reading I Capture the Castle for years, but I've just seen too much negative about it. Oh well!

I think this is my first time on your blog, but I will be back. Please check out mine:

Presentinglenore.blogspot.com

Sherry said...

I liked I Capture the Castle when I read it a couple of years ago, and I love Agatha Christie, except not the Mary Westmacott books. I second the recommendation for Dorothy Sayers.

Also, wish me luck, I'm supposed to read Paradise Lost in April for Poetry MOnth.

Laura said...

I love Bleak House and I Capture the Castle. My hat's off to you for desiring to read Milton. My husband loves him, but I have never been able to finish anything by him.