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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