You are currently browsing the daily archive for December 30, 2008.

Again, this is films I saw in the cinema throughout 2008. It includes films that were released in 2007, and omits films which I haven’t seen even though everyone else did and gushed over them (basically Wall-E. I would still hate Australia on basic principle, even if I had gone to see it and it had turned out to be great).

10. Up The Yangtze
if i ever end up as a retired man singing frank sinatra on a rowboat, kill me
“By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is bitterest.”

A fascinating documentary following the lives of two Chinese teenagers as they begin work on a tourist vessel on the Yangtze River, placing themselves into the servitude of fat tourists from America and Europe. The boy is a well-educated, spoiled, snobby asshole; one of China’s Little Princes, an unforeseen side effect of the one-child policy. The girl hails from a poor family living in a single-room shack on the banks of the river, soon to be swallowed up by the rising waters as a result of the Three Gorges Dam. Millions of people will be displaced when the dam is complete, and the sight of one old man watching in silence as his house is gradually lost to the waters puts a human face on this tragedy. The flipside, of course, is that the hydroelectric dam will generate massive amounts of clean, green energy; a reminder that nothing is ever black and white.

9. Forgetting Sarah Marshall
the horse i the last piece i would choose for this
“It’s like going on vacation with, y’know, not Hitler, but certainly Goebbels.”

Apatow Comedy Flick #4392, and in my opinion the best of the bunch. Following a nasty breakup, protagonist Peter heads to a resort in Hawaii to relax for a few weeks, only to find that his ex and her new boyfriend are in the room next to his. Hijinks ensue.

Most Apatow films aren’t nearly as good as people claim – Superbad was especially overrated – but this one was a bright, clever little comedy with plenty of laughs. What I particularly like about it is how it subverts expectations; by traditional convention, in a film like this, Sarah Marshall’s new boyfriend should be an insufferable prick. He’s actually a very nice, friendly guy, and he and Peter become friends by the end of the movie. Likewise, Sarah Marshall herself remains on decent terms with Peter, and had a good justification for breaking up with him. Nobody in this movie is irredeemably bad – just like real life. Fancy that.

8. Frost/Nixon
apparently if the president does it it's not illegal
“We are gonna make the motherfuckers choke!”

From the writer of The Queen, and also starring Tony Blair, Frost/Nixon is based on a play which recreates (with some poetic license) the famous interviews between British talk show host David Frost and disgraced ex-president Richard Nixon.

Watergate happened fifteen years before I was born, and it was in fact only earlier this year that I realised I had absolutely no idea what it involved and set about trying to understand it. I’d still never heard of the interviews, which is interesting, because they makes a great story: Nixon wanted the money and thought that Frost, an entertainer rather than a proper journalist, would be easy to handle. Frost instead proved quite cunning and cornered Nixon into admitting guilt in the Watergate scandal – the only time he ever did so publicly.

Michael Sheen gives a performance that’s nothing particularly special, but Frank Langella as Nixon is absolutely brilliant – a man who so desperately wanted to be loved by the American people, but never was. By the end of the film, against all odds, you feel incredibly sorry for the poor bastard.

Plus Rebecca Hall is gorgeous. I never seem to find movie stars good-looking the way other people do, but holy shit.

7. The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
this is heavy, doc
“If I told you that I came from the future, would you laugh?”

Luna Leederville had a little anime-fest earlier this year, and amidst all the Japanese robot rubbish with their fancy CGI and retarded plotlines was this little gem. It’s strikingly similar to a Ghibli film, but it’s not. Essentially, high school girl Makoto is unexpectedly granted the ability of time travel, and discovers its advantages and drawbacks in the traditional manner, following in the footsteps of Bill and Ted and Marty McFly.

What I remember more about this movie was its rich atmosphere. It all takes place on lazy summer afternoons, in those precious few hours of leisure time you get after school, with the chirping of the crickets and the sun over the baseball field and whatnot, and this is beautifully rendered in colourful animation. It made me incredibly nostalgic for high school, even though it’s set in Japan and I hated high school anyway. Well worth seeing.

6. Cloverfield
move, children! vamonos!
“Beth lives in midtown. Midtown is that way. You know what else is that way? Some horrific shit!”

This was a really cool one. It started out with just those trailers of a party interrupted by some cataclysmic event, with not even a name for the film, just a date. We all know the story by now, of course – New York is devastated by a horrific monster and several friends do their best to survive, but with the added gimmick of all the action being seen from a hand-held video camera.

What I loved best about this movie was that the director never once spoonfed people the story. There’s no explanation for what’s going on, no scientist explaining things to the White House, no neat solution where the monster is lured into the bay and killed by the might of the U.S. military. Nor do we see much of the monster; only glimpses as it strides between buildings in the dark, or background feeds on news channels. We know only what the characters do, which is to say, not much. Speaking of the characters, they were a cut above the average horror movie protagonists. Not once did they make a decision I disagreed with, and they were quite intelligent and resourceful throughout. An excellent popcorn movie, but one that needs to be seen in the cinema to truly appreciate.

5. The Mist
AARRRGHHHHHHHHHHHH
“What are you going to do?”
“I’ll think of something.”

Let me say straight-up that Stephen King’s novella “The Mist” is the best thing he’s ever written (at least, that I’ve read). Yes, it’s better than The Stand. It easily ranks on my top 10 list of the greatest pieces of science fiction ever written. If you want to know how influential it was, well, it was the primary inspiration for Half-Life. I read it in 2005 and absolutely fucking loved it.

When I found out that it was finally being turned into a movie, I had mixed hopes. I doubted anything could ever be as good as the book, but it was being directed by Frank Darabont, who made the brilliant films The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption (both also based on King books).

So I went to see it, and it did okay. It was a decent film; about as good as you could expect from a book adaptation. That was until the last two minutes, when it went from “pretty good” to “absolutely fucking incredible.”

It’s one of the best movie endings I’ve seen in a very long time. I have difficulty believing it was actually given wide-release to American audiences, considering how shocking and brutal it is. King himself said that if he’d thought of it when writing the novel, he would have used it.

Do yourself a favour and rent out this movie, without looking up anything about it first.

4. Gone Baby Gone
ed harris and his elite alien-hunting squad
“Well, it all depends on how you look at it. I mean, you might think you’re more ‘from here’ than me, for example. But I’ve been living here longer than you’ve been alive. So who’s right?”

Directed by Ben Affleck and starring his younger brother Casey, Gone Baby Gone follows two private investigators as they try to find a woman’s abducted child in the seedy streets of Boston. While on the surface it appears to be a standard crime movie, the story goes a lot deeper than that, creating some complex moral quandraries and leaving the characters facing an unbearable, impossible decision at the film’s climax.

Beyond that, it’s a generally well made film – well-written, well-directed, and especially well-acted. Casey Affleck, Ed Harris and Morgan Freeman are all brilliant; even the extras are cast surprisingly well.

3. Slumdog Millionaire
god bless this miserable shit of a country
“Perhaps it is written, no?”

A very different movie. Rags to riches, coming of age, romance, crime story… you could even call it a biopic of India itself. Never before – at least not to my memory – have Western audiences seen a film set in the sweeping glory of modern India, from the squalid slums to the mansions of the rich, from the crowded, sweaty trains to the futuristic set of a game show.

The movie follows Jamal Malik, an Indian Muslim, as he is interrogated by police who believe he has been cheating on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Each question sparks a flashback to an earlier point in Jamal’s life, from the murder of his mother in a religious riot, to the days he spent travelling on the roofs of India’s trains with his brother, to his time in a bustling modern call centre. What the film does so perfectly is juxtaposition. Modern India is juxtaposition, with filthy slums sitting between highways and office buildings, with insanely rich businessmen living alongside people who can barely afford food. No scene in the movie illustrates this disparity better than when Jamal returns to his home city and sees new high-rise buildings growing up where the slums used to be (pictured above).

A colourful, vibrant, wonderful film.

2. There Will Be Blood
I DRINK YOUR.... MILKSHAKE!
“Is H.W. okay?”
“No.”

An amazingly well-crafted film. Deeply disturbing, very dark and ultimately depressing, the film itself is largely carried along by Daniel Day Lewis’ powerful performance as the greedy, hateful oilman Daniel Plainview. The thing about this movie is that it is, in fact, quite tedious – drab, monochrome, and focusing on a very dull subject. But that’s the beauty of it. It’s so perfectly crafted, so unbelievably intense and real, that you’re carried along nonetheless. You cannot turn away. It is cold, terrifying, and relentless – one of the best movies of the last ten years.

1. The Dark Knight
man the air feels good on my neck!
“The bandit, in Burma. Did you catch him?”
“Yes.”
“How?”
“We burned the forest down.”

Could it be anything else? Cristopher Nolan has single-handedly reshaped the genre of the comic-book movie. Building on what he started with Batman Begins, he continues to strip away the cheesiness, the immaturity, the general silliness of the superhero mythos, and replaces it with something very dark indeed. The Dark Knight plays more along the lines of a psychological horror film like Seven, or a fast-paced action-thriller like Heat, than any of the superhero movies that preceded it. This is a movie for adults, not children, leaving behind the familiar worlds inspired by childhood fantasies and venturing into the rugged territory of artistic merit.

Heath Ledger’s performance, somehow, lived up to all the hype: he is haunting as the Joker, a twisted and crippled soul with disturbing, fungus-like makeup, wreaking havoc across Gotham City of the sheer joy of it. Michael Caine is perfect as the impeccable butler Alfred, faithful servant and companion. Gary Oldman is reliably believable as the nerdy police commissioner with a terrible moustache. Aaron Eckhart is great as district-attorney Harvey Dent, for whom a horrible destiny awaits. And while Christian Bale makes a merely adequate Batman, he is an excellent Bruce Wayne – a swaggering, spoilt playboy millionaire whom nobody would ever suspect of being Gotham’s defender. Gotham City, thanks to superb cinematography, is a character in itself: a dark urban wilderness of skyscrapers and shipping containers, warehouses and highways, harbouring dark citizens and dark secrets.

If only they’d kept the original theme music.

50. The King Is Dead – The Herd
49. Bullet – End of Fashion
48. Desire Be Desire Go – Tame Impala
47. Silouettic – Birds of Tokyo
46. Social Currency – Children Collide
45. I’m Not Gonna Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You – The Black Kids
44. Machine Gun – Portishead
43. Talons – Bloc Party
42. You Don’t Know Me – Ben Folds/Regina Spektor
41. Jealousy – Sparkadia
40. Spaz – N.E.R.D.
39. Ready For The Floor – Hot Chip
38. Fools – The Dodos
37. Mercury – Bloc Party
36. Strange Times – The Black Keys
35. Brainwascht – Ben Folds
34. Yes – Coldplay
33. Halfway Home – TV On The Radio
32. White Winter Hymnal – Fleet Foxes
31. Death and All of His Friends – Coldplay
30. Bitch Went Nuts – Ben Folds
29. Trojan Horse – Bloc Party
28. So Haunted – Cut Copy
27. Sex On Fire – Kings of Leon
26. Get It – Dukes of Windsor
25. The Other Side – Pendulum
24. Paris – Friendly Fires
23. Family Tree – TV On The Radio
22. Les Artistes – Santogold
21. Ares – Bloc Party
20. Far Away – Cut Copy
19. The Lighthouse Song – Josh Pyke
18. Gamma Ray – Beck
17. Happiness – Goldfrapp
16. Something Is Not Right With Me – Cold War Kids
15. Pork And Beans – Weezer
14. Better Than Heaven – Bloc Party
13. Pull Me Out Alive – Kaki King
12. Ion Square – Bloc Party
11. Shake A Fist – Hot Chip
10. The Eraser (remix) – XXXchange
9. Golden Age – TV On The Radio
8. Midnight Madness – Chemical Brothers
7. Viva la Vida – Coldplay
6. Dancing Queen (cover) – Whitley
5. Signs – Bloc Party
4. The Rip – Portishead
3. Jump In The Pool – Friendly Fires
2. Walking on a Dream – Empire of the Sun
1. No Sex For Ben – The Rapture

Which is to say, those I read in 2008, not those published in 2008.

10. The Yiddish Policeman’s Union

“Good night, Dr. Buchbinder. Put in a good word for me with Messiah.”
“Oh,” he says, “there’s no need of that.”
“No need or no point?”
Abruptly, the merry eyes turn as steely as the disc of a dentist’s mirror. They assay Landsman’s condition with the insight of twenty-five years spent searching tirelessly for points of weakness and rot. Just for a moment Landsman doubts the man’s insanity.
“That’s up to you,” Buchbinder says. “Isn’t it?”

Heavy, convoluted and difficult to penetrate – even for Chabon – this book is worth the effort. It’s a dark and depressing investigation into an alternate universe where the Jewish homeland is on a barren Alaskan island, told from the perspective of a weary Yiddish homicide detective as he tries to solve a murder in the two months before the island reverts to U.S. territory. A major theme (aside from the ever-present Judaism) is the feeling of helplessness, of being manipulated by higher powers into an unshakeable destiny. Typical Jewish Chabon, that wacky fellow.

9. Slaughterhouse Five

Five German soldiers and a police dog on a leash were looking down into the bed of the creek. The soldiers’ blue eyes were filled with a bleary civilian curiosity as to why one American would try to murder another one so far from home, and as to why the victim should laugh.

Told with a simplistic, unemotional weariness, this book is a voyage through time and space, from the snowy battlefields of World War II to the distant alien planet of Tralfamadore. I’ve never been able to connect with Vonnegut’s writing the way other people seem to; it feels like everyone notices some deeper meaning to this book that I simply don’t. Nonetheless, it’s very readable, very compelling and very good.

8. Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas

They roared off, and so did we. Bouncing across the rocks and scrub oak cactus like iron tumbleweeds. The beer in my hand flew up and hit the top, then fell in my lap and soaked my crotch with warm foam.
“You’re fired,” I told the driver. “Take me back to the pits.”

Raoul Duke and his Samoan attorney spend an insane, drug-fuelled week in Vegas, living dangerously and recklessly with that complete disregard for consequences that only fictional characters can achieve. This book is a lot more interesting than that makes it sound; it manages to stay fresh and funny throughout. Paranoid, depraved, surreal, colourful, and deliciously different, Fear And Loathing rightfully earned its place as a classic American novel.

7. Snow Crash

Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world. If I moved to a martial-arts monastery in China and studied real hard for ten years. If my family was wiped out by Colombian drug dealers and I swore myself to revenge. If I got a fatal disease, had one year to live, and devoted it to wiping out street crime. If I just dropped out and devoted my life to being bad.

Walking a fine line between being utterly serious and nonsensically cartoonish, Snow Crash is best read as a simple adventure novel. Set in a balkanised future America where the corporations have carved the land up into self-sufficient, hyper-capitalist enclaves, the novel follows Hiro Protagonist (pizza delivery driver, world’s greatest sword fighter and hacker extraordinaire) and Y.T. (teenage skateboard courier) as they attempt to unravel a conspiracy involving a complex concept of universal language, rooted in the mythology of the Tower of Babel. I lost interest in that little subplot before long, but the major storyline ranks among the very best adventure tales, as Hiro travels from dystopic Los Angeles to an offshore raft city to the entirely virtual world of the online Metaverse in his quest to save the world.

6. The Road

On the far shore a creature that raised its dripping mouth from the rimstone pool and stared into the light with eyes dead white and sightless as the eggs of spiders. It swung its head low over the water as if to take the scent of what it could not see. Crouching there pale and naked and translucent, its alabaster bones cast up in shadows on the rocks behind it. Its bowels, its beating heart. The brain that pulsed in a dull glass bell. It swung its head from side to side and then gave out a low moan and turned and lurched away and loped soundlessly into the dark.

Though they may be nameless, the man and the boy at the centre of this novel are some of the most profoundly human characters I have ever read about. Trekking through a post-apocalyptic, ash-choked America, hiding from violent gangs of rapists and murderers, expecting to die any day, the relationship between the two is the single flame of hope that exists in their bleak, grey world. A simple story of love and protection, set in a world that is frighteningly believable.

5. The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-Time

I like dogs. You always know what a dog is thinking. It has four moods. Happy, sad, cross and concentrating. Also, dogs are faithful and they do not tell lies because they cannot talk.

Written from the point of view of Cristopher Boone, an autistic teenager, who lays his world out to the reader in the matter-of-fact language that is the only method he knows. Yet the novel is regularly peppered by emotional dialogue that juxtaposes the main narrative, revealing the emotional problems Cristopher’s very existence causes for those around him. A tale of human suffering and compassion, which is ultimately quite touching.

4. Neuromancer

The phone nearest him rang. Automatically, he picked it up.
“Yeah?”
Faint harmonics, tiny inaudible voices rattling across some orbital link, and then a sound like the wind.
“Hello, Case.”
A fifty-lirasi coin fell from his hand, bounced, and rolled out of sight across Hilton carpeting.
“Wintermute, Case. It’s time we talk.”
It was a chip voice.
“Don’t you want to talk, Case?”
He hung up.
On his way back to the lobby, his cigarettes forgotten, he had to walk the length of the ranked phones. Each rang in turn, but only once, as he passed.

(incidentally, here’s my other choice for a Neuromancer extract)

“That’s real good, motherfucker,” Case said, and shot him in the mouth with the .357.

A watershed moment in science fiction, Neuromancer created an entirely new vision of the future: dark, grim, and pessimistic, overturning the traditional view that the rise of technology would somehow make the human race better. Instead, Gibson casts the reader into lurid neon cityscapes of crime, body modification and drug addiction, where humans of the 22nd century are facing essentially the same problems as today. It’s one of the few novels that can truly be called revolutionary.

Even below this postmodern literary value, the commentary on society and all that academic jazz, Neuromancer is simply an excellent story. It has a very cool anithero, the grungy, unshaven, methamphetamine-addicted hacker Case, who is recruited by an upscale genetleman named Armitage, who is assembling a team to work on the ultimate heist: the theft of the world’s most powerful AI from its orbital mainframe. Case is plucked from the Japanese underworld and travels to Istanbul, Paris, New York and eventually to the orbital cities of the rich and powerful, all the while trying to figure out who Armitage’s mysterious employer is and why they want to free the AI. Thriller, adventure, noirish crime caper… Neuromancer exists in many capacities, and is fully-realised in every one of them. An all-round brilliant book, which is only a hair’s breadth below Life of Pi because there were certain parts of it I didn’t quite understand, which will hopefully be solved with a few re-reads.

3. Life of Pi

“Tigers exist, lifeboats exist, oceans exist. Because the three have never come together in your narrow, limited experience, you refuse to believe that they might. Yet the plain fact is that the Tsimtsum brought them together and then sank.”

Martel takes an apparently impossible situation and weaves it together with such deft writing ability that it becomes entirely plausible. A sixteen-year old Indian boy, travelling by ship to Canada with his zookeeper family and a number of animals they intend to sell in the New World following the closure of their zoo, finds himself sharing a lifeboat with a number of exotic creatures following the ship’s demise. The animals make quick work of each other and soon only he and a Bengal tiger remain, left to drift on the blue Pacific for 227 days.

Martel is one of those writers with a gift for creating beautifully evocative visual descriptions, and Pi’s life on the waves – the smell of salt, the fishing line burning his hands, the shape and contours of the tiger’s body – are all beautifully, realistically rendered in words. A wonderful book.

2. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU

The fog-shrouded streets of Prague. A golem dressed in man’s clothing. A steamer under the Golden Gate Bridge. The New Jersey ferry docks on a sunny morning. Salvador Dali in a diving bell. Bones on the Atlantic seabed. Brooklyn steam-grates. An airship terminal on the highest floor of the Empire State Building. The abandoned grounds of the World’s Fair. A pyramid of skulls in a deserted military base. A Senate hearing. The loser at Lupe Velez. The stout cord of the ampersand. The crowning literary masterpiece of this decade.

1. Watchmen

“It’s September, 1961. John Kennedy is shaking my hand, asking what it’s like to be a superhero. I tell him he should know and he nods, laughing. Two years later, in Dallas, his head snaps forward and then back…”

It’s impossible to articulate how brilliant this book is. It is the Moby Dick of the graphic novel medium. It can be read as a comic book, a character drama, a moral fable, a cautionary tale, a mystery novel… and it succeeds as all of them. It has so much weight to it, so much heaviness. Moore and Gibbons waste not a single panel or sentence; everything has a purpose. It is a perfect book.

It’s also being adapted into a film by Zack Snyder (of 300 infamy) so make sure you READ IT before it gets retroactively ruined by another superhero movie that has a bunch of sexy actors in sexy clothing running at bad guys and having the scene cut to slow motion as they begin to strike them, then having it cut back to regular motion as the blow lands fuck you snyder you are going to fucking ruin this.

I ACED THIS SHIT

I read fifty books and just over sixteen thousand pages. I read books that were three millenia old, and books that had not been written when I started the challenge. I read Pulitzer Prize winners, Booker prize winners, Hugo Award winners, Nebula Award winners, a Vogel Award winner, a Whitbread Book of the Year, a Philip K. Dick Award winner, and eight books from TIME Magazine’s 100 List.

I read two comic books and four non-fiction books. I read three books that were originally published in different languages (Portugese, Spanish, and Ancient Greek). I read twenty books that I would classify as science fiction.

I read two books by Mark Twain, two books by Michael Chabon, two books by Ernest Hemingway, two books by John Varley, two books by Terry Pratchett, two books by Robert Heinlein, and (to my detriment) three books by Philip Jose Farmer.

I read some amazing books, some good books, some average books, and some mind-blowingly awful books. I read The Road, Gentlemen of the Road, Road Story, and On The Road. I started with an odyssey and finished with an odyssey.

I have to say I enjoyed it. I used to devour books when I was in primary school and early high school, but in recent years I have strayed from that path, lured by the siren song of flashy video games and Hollywood blockbusters and the simple joy of the ball in the cup (you can never tell which way that crazy thing’s gonna go!). I’ve rediscovered how much I enjoy reading, even if it is with the irritating knowledge that I have to wade through five books of junk before I reach one that’s any good.

I don’t think I’ll do the challenge again next year – I was always mindful of my goal, and it dissuaded me from reading particularly long books – but I don’t think I need to either. I’ve started expanding my library a lot, and I have plenty of books waiting to be read. I no longer require the motivation this challenge once provided.

For posterity, here’s the list of all 50 books I read this year, with links to my original reviews.

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
2. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
3. The Memory of Whiteness by Kim Stanley Robinson
4. Time Enough For Love by Robert Heinlein
5. Making Money by Terry Pratchett
6. Steel Beach by John Varley
7. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
8. Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon
9. The Fabulous Riverboat by Philip Jose Farmer
10. Temeraire by Naomi Novik
11. Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert Heinlein
12. The Dark Design by Philip Jose Farmer
13. Road Story by Julienne van Loon
14. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
15. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
16. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
17. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
18. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
19. Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons
20. Watership Down by Richard Adams
21. The Man In The High Castle by Philip K. Dick
22. Once Upon a Time in the North by Philip Pullman
23. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
24. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk
25. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
26. The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman
27. The Sheltering Sky by Paul Bowles
28. Neuromancer by William Gibson
29. The Magic Labyrinth by Philip Jose Farmer
30. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
31. Down Under by Bill Bryson
32. The Torrents of Spring by Ernest Hemingway
33. City of Saints and Madmen by Jeff VanderMeer
34. The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
35. The Barbie Murders by John Varley
36. Flight: Volume I by Kazu Kibuishi
37. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
38. The General In His Labyrinth by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
39. On The Road by Jack Kerouac
40. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
41. World War Z by Max Brooks
42. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
43. Alive by Piers Paul Read
44. The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon
45. The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
46. Nation by Terry Pratchett
47. Following The Equator: Volume I by Mark Twain
48. Following The Equator: Volume II by Mark Twain
49. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
50. The Odyssey by Homer

Stay tuned for my list of the ten best books I read in 2008.

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