Books to Read in 2008

I’m such a compulsive reader that I need to keep lists of all the books I want to read. This is something I’ve been doing for at least 15 years. At first, I wrote down the book titles on scraps of paper which I inevitably lost. Then a friend told me she kept her book list in her journal so I tried that, but it became messy with scratch-outs and additions. Sometimes I bought the books I wanted to read but I’ve learned that I never read books unless I have the deadline imposed by a library due date, so now I don’t buy books unless I can’t get them any other way. The past few years I’ve kept my list in an Excel spreadsheet.

Now that list has grown out of control. I’m going to post that list online as a page in my blog, but I need some help paring it down. So I’m asking you my readers to take a look at the list as it is now and tell me which of these books I should try reading in 2008 and which books I should scratch. Additionally, if you have suggestions for other books you think I should read, feel free to add them, but not too many.

I’ve highlighted the names of authors I’ve read and enjoyed previously. Sometimes I think I should read only books by authors I’ve never read before. Sometimes I think that idea is pretty dumb.

54 by Wu Ming
52 Weeks by Dave Hollander
Age of Homespun by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
The Alienist by Caleb Carr
All the Right Places by Brad Newsham
All the Shah’s Men by Stephen Kinzer
American Hero by Larry Beinhart
American Road by Pete Davies
American Vertigo by Bernard-Henri Levy
Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw
Armed Madhouse by Greg Palast
Art of Urban Cycling by Robert Hurst
Astonishing Hypothesis: The Scientific Search for the Soul by Francis Crick
Bad News by Tom Fenton
Beer: Tap Into the Art and Science of Brewing by Charles Bamforth
The Blind Side by Michael Lewis
The Bloodless Revolution by Tristram Stuart
Brookland by Emily Barton
Call Me the Breeze by Patrick McCabe
Cape Wind: Money, Celebrity, Class… by Wendy Williams
Coast To Coast: A Journey Across 1950s America by Jan Morris
The Comedians by Graham Greene
The Confessions of Nat Turner by William Styron
The Confusion by Neal Stephenson
A Crack in the Edge of the World by Simon Winchester
Crooked River Burning by Mark Winegardner
Darwin’s Cathedral by David Sloan Wilson
The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs
Death at an Early Age by Jonathan Kozol
The Death of Che Guevera by Jay Cantolt
The Declaration of Independence: A Global History by David Armitage
Deep Community by Scott Alarik
Dishwasher by Pete Jordan
The Dissident by Nell Freudenberger
Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes
Downcanyon:A Naturalist Explores the Colorado River Through Grand Canyon by Ann Zwinger
Empire Rising by Thomas Kelly
Fabric of America: How our borders and boundaries by Andro Linklater
Family That Couldn’t Sleep: A Medical Mystery by D.T. Max
Fantasyland by Sam Walker
Feeling Good by David Burns
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
Fire on the Prairie by Gary Rivlin
The Frontier in American History by Frederick Jackson Turner
A Game of Brawl by Bill Edward Kennedy Felber
Ghost Writer by John Harwood
Good Wives, Nasty Wenches, and Anxious Patriarchs by Kathleen Brown
The Great Bridge by David McCullough
The Great Cat Massacre by Robert Darnton
Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center by Daniel Okrent
A Home on the Field by Paul Cuadros
Hunting Mr. Heartbreak by Jonathan Raban
I, Claudius by Robert Graves
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino
The Impossible Will Take a Little While by Paul Rogat Loeb
The Incendiary by Jessica Warner
In My Blood by John Sedgwick
In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien
Jack Ruby’s Kitchen Sink by Tom Miller
Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man by Dale Peterson
The Journals of Lewis and Clark by Bernard DeVoto
Last Harvest: How a cornfield became New Daleville… by Witold Rybczynksi
Last Man on the Moon by Eugene Cernan
Lee Miller’s War by Anthony Penrose
Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibagiza
A Light in August by William Faulkner
Literacy and Longing in L.A. by Jennifer Kaufman
Liverpool Fantasy by Larry Kirwan
Love and War in the Appenines by Eric Newby
Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution by Sean Carroll
Making People’s Music: Moe Asch and Folkways Records by Peter Goldsmith
Man Gone Down by MichaeL Thomas
Manhattan ‘45 by Jan Morris
March of Folly by Barbara Tuchman
Middle Ages by Morris Bishop
Middlesex by Jefferey Eugenides
Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
No Mercy: A Journey Into the Heart of the Congo by Redmond O’Hanlon
Nothing but an Unfinished Song by Dennis O’Hearn
Old Glory: An American Voyage by Jonathan Raban
The Old Iron Road by David Howard Bain
The Old Patagonian Express by Paul Theroux
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground, 1981-1991 by Michael Azzerad
Outposts by Simon Winchester
Oxford by Jan Morris
Pagan Holiday by Tony Perrottet
Paradise by Toni Morrison
Paula Spencer by Roddy Doyle
A Peoples’ History of the United States by Howard Zinn
The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists, A Novel by Gideon Defoe
Please Kill Me by Leggs McNeil
The Plot Against America by Phillip Roth
Poor People by William T. Vollmann
Pride of Baghdad by Brian K Vaughan
The Power Broker, Robert Moses and the Fall of New York by Robert A. Carol
The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren
The Radical and the Republican by James Oakes
The Rascal King by Jack Beatty
Road Trip USA by Jamie Jensen
Rough Crossing by Simon Schama
Round Ireland in Low Gear by Eric Newby
Sacre Blues by Taras Grescoe
The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch
Seeing Like a State by James C. Scott
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
The Size of the World by Jeff Greenwald
Snow in America by Bernard Mergen
Spokesongs: Bicycle Adventures on Three Continents by Willie Weir
Sword at Sunset by Rosemary Sutcliff
The System of the World by Neal Stephenson
Terra Incongnita: Travels in Antartica by Sara Wheeler
Time Traveler: A Scientist’s Personal Mission to Make Time Travel a Reality by Ronald Mallet
Trading With the Enemy by Tom Miller
Trawler by Redmond O’Hanlon
True Notebooks by Mark Salzman
Truman by David McCullough
unSpun by Brooks Jackson
Where’s My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future that Never Arrived by Daniel Wilson
The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies and Nations by James Surowiecki
Wolf Whistle by Lewis Nordan
The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Wonderful Life by Stephen Jay Gould
The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan
The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs

5 thoughts on “Books to Read in 2008

  1. This is what I’d recommend. The only one of the bunch that I’ve read is the first book, “The Alienist”. The other books just sound really interesting!

    The Alienist by Caleb Carr
    Art of Urban Cycling by Robert Hurst
    Beer: Tap Into the Art and Science of Brewing by Charles Bamforth
    Middlesex by Jefferey Eugenides
    The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
    The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists, A Novel by Gideon Defoe
    Where’s My Jetpack?: A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future that Never Arrived by Daniel Wilson


  2. A couple of cool things I found for book reading online:

    Book a Month Challenge – sign up and at the beginning of each month a theme is presented. Participants read a book of their choice based on that theme and then write a review on their own blog.

    DailyLit – Read books by email. Sign up for a book and a part equivalent to about 6 minutes of reading arrives in your email each day. Could be a unique way to read some of those classic tomes.


  3. Well, I would say definitely read this one: Beer: Tap Into the Art and Science of Brewing by Charles Bamforth. The rest are immaterial.

    Keep up the beer reviews. And if you can find a way to ship them out here to the west, I’d appreciate it. My little community is a bit scarce in the beer arena.


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