It seems like only a few months ago that this meme began its third year, but of course it’s been a full 52 weeks.
I fell a little short of my goal. Starting a full-time job, among other things, has sucked away my time, as evidenced by the lack of decent posting in the last six months or so.
But I have been keeping up with my meme. Though I passed the stated “52 Books in 52 Weeks” goal by a decent margin, I fell short of my own personal goal, which was to read more pages than last year. This year, the grand total was 20173 pages in 58 books. In fact, this was the lowest-yield year so far, falling short of the previous two years in both total aggregate pages and discrete book count. I chalk that up to starting a full-time programming position, which has hampered my free time somewhat. In addition, I moved into my own apartment this fall, and both the transition and the upkeep further limit my free time for reading.
This year, like previous years, I was all over the board in terms of book style. I finally managed to read the Lord of the Rings trilogy [1, 2, 3] as well as the drier but no less influential The Silmarillion. Reading Tolkien can be a visceral joy for language geeks and history buffs; more casual fantasy fans might want to stick to the movies.
2007 also saw the long-awaited conclusion of the Harry Potter series with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which would have been a bad book if we hadn’t all been waiting 10 years to read it. No wonder Rowling’s a billionaire.
My surprise hit of the year was Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics, a jarringly intellectual bildungsroman–cum-murder mystery that may either prove the brilliant first work of an equally brilliant young author, or a singular sensation.
The other surprise hit was another quirkily intellectual piece called The Raw Shark Texts, an oddly postmodern work that bent the narrative around the construction of memory and the physical transmittance of abstract information. I still don’t entirely understand it, but I liked it. It, too, is a debut novel, and I’m curious to see what the future holds in store for the author.
This year also proved some some internet phenomena should just stay on the internet. As soon as you take an exaggerated constructed personality, which is funny in its spontaneity, and have it jump through the hoops of writing, publishing, and marketing those same jokes in book form, you’ve ceased being internet-funny and starting being real-world-pathetic. cf. The Alphabet of Manliness; also Love and Other Near-Death Experiences.
Finally, Stephen Colbert further demonstrates his inability to get out of Jon Stewart’s shadow. His not-as-funny-as-The-Daily-Show show gives birth to his not-as-funny-as-America-the-Book book, called I Am America (And So Can You!)
For a full listing of all the books read this year, check out the 52 Books in 52 Weeks, 2007 page. And stay tuned for next year.