Review of 2008

Happy New Year to everyone!

I am also celebrating my first year of writing this blog. It started off very much as an experiment and I was far from convinced that I would be able to find the time to maintain it, but it very quickly established itself as part of the reading process and I have thoroughly enjoyed writing a few thoughts about the books I’ve been reading. I’ve also been keping a close eye on the stats and I have had 2,220 hits during this first year. I have no idea whether this is good or bad (I suspect it’s a relatively modest number), but I have been astounded that anybody (beyond immediate family and friends) should be in the least bit interested in my comments, let alone people from all corners of the globe. I was especially amazed when Tan Twan Eng posted a comment after I reviewed his excellent book The Gift of Rain. I am hoping, in the next couple of weeks, to add a new feature to this blog, but I just need to work out the best way to do it first! Watch this space…

At the beginning of the year I had intended to revisit some of the great novels of European literature that I read many years ago, as well as some of the classics that I’ve never got around to reading. Well, I completely failed in that and once again the list is dominated by contemporary fiction, including a good smattering of detective fiction. Nothing wrong with that at all, but perhaps this coming year I might find time for those classics. I don’t want to get into the business of comparing books that are incomparable, but the highlight of this year’s reading for me was the rather belated discovery of Cormac McCarthy.

Anyway, here is the list of the sixty books (not including work-related reading!) that I read this year.

Flann O’ Brien At Swim-Two-Birds

C. J. Sansom Winter in Madrid

Travis Holland The Archivist’s Story

Karin Alvtegen Betrayal

Karin Alvtegen Shame

Bill Bryson Shakespeare

Banana Yoshimoto Amrita

Peter Carey His Illegal Self

Bernhard Schlink Homecoming

Henry Porter A Spy’s Life

Markus Zusak The Book Thief

Andrea Camilleri The Patience of the Spider

Glen David Gold Carter Beats the Devil

Taichi Yamada I Haven’t Dreamed of Flying for a While

Yasmina Khadra The Swallows of Kabul

Henry Porter Empire State

Philip Pullman Once Upon a Time in the North

Natsuo Kirino Grotesque

Sebastian Faulks Engleby

Tony Hillerman The Blessing Way

Philip Roth Portnoy’s Complaint

Lloyd Jones Mister Pip

Andrew Melrose Palace Pier Blues

Declan Hughes The Colour of Blood

Jed Rubenfeld The Interpretation of Murder

Tony Hillerman Listening Woman

Stef Penney The Tenderness of Wolves

Guillermo Martinez The Book of Murder

Colin Cotterill The Coroner’s Lunch

David Lale Last Stop Salina Cruz

Karin Fossum Black Seconds

Mari Jungstedt Unseen

Ryu Murakami In the Miso Soup

Andrea Camilleri The Paper Moon

Philip Roth Sabbath’s Theater

Hitomi Kanehara Auto Fiction

Ryu Murakami Piercing

Miyuki Miyabe Shadow Family

Colin Cotterill Thirty-Three Teeth

Mohsin Hamid The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Dinaw Mengestu Children of the Revolution

Hakan Nesser The Return

Ake Edwardson Frozen Tracks

Simon Lewis Bad Traffic

Qiu Xialong Red Mandarin Dress

Haruki Murakami Sputnik Sweetheart

Tan Twan Eng The Gift of Rain

Arnaldur Indridason The Draining Lake

Qiu Xialong Death of a Red Heroine

Cormac McCarthy No Country for Old Men

Natsuo Kirino Real World

Colin Cotterill Disco for the Departed

Cormac McCarthy The Road

Jo Nesbo Nemesis

Colin Cotterill Anarchy and Old Dogs

Cormac McCarthy Blood Meridian

Philip O’ Ceallaigh Notes from a Turkish Whorehouse

Peter Ackroyd Chaucer

Pat Barker Life Class

Italo Calvino The Castle of Crossed Destinies




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3 responses to “Review of 2008

  1. Tan Twan Eng

    That’s the power of the internet, Prof Mike! 🙂
    Congratulations on a successful first year with your blog.

    Tan Twan Eng

  2. profmike

    Of course, you’re absolutely right. I got my first internet access in 1996, but I still find myself amazed, not so much by what is out there (although that is amazing in itself), but how people use it to connect to each other!
    Have a good year and be sure to let us know when you’re next novel is due out.


  3. Jayne

    I still dont know how you find time to read! Obviously not got enough to do with your time! Anyway, congratulations Mike. Thanks for be an inspiration in so many ways!

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