The OF Blog: Purview of read 2008 year-end lists, Part I

Friday, January 02, 2009

Purview of read 2008 year-end lists, Part I

So the 2008 in Review articles are now complete. Covered almost 20% of my reading for the year. Some on my lists might have made others curious, while others might have desired more coverage for their particular favorite subgenres (epic fantasy in particular, I would imagine). But I wasn't the only one who wrote out a list, checked it twice, and so forth. Below are links and short commentary about some of the year-end lists that I saw, mostly from a few bloggers on my blogroll, but also others elsewhere. This is part one of either two or three installments (depending on my energy/time for the day), so hopefully there's something to discover and to enjoy within each of the ones provided below in Alphabetical Order.

A Dribble of Ink - Novels of the Year (2008) - Aidan Moher's blog is relatively new, a little over a year and a half, I think, so I can't recall if this is the first or second time he's posted a year-end best of/favorite list. Like many others to follow, he doesn't exclude based on year. He has only four books on the list (with two being 2008 releases) with separate categories for Best Overall and Best Released in 2008. His #1 choice, Carlos Ruiz Zafón's The Shadow of the Wind, apparently became the favorite of a few SF/F bloggers this year (I believe at least three - Aidan, Mihai, and Pat - read Zafón for the first time this year), so he does have some good taste in books ;)

Adventures in Reading - Nine Best Reads of 2008, Top Nine Author Discoveries of 2008, Top Nine Books Published in 2008 - Joe Sherry has three different lists, with quite a bit of variety on there. What I noticed about Joe's list that I didn't see on most other lists was his love for short fiction, particularly anthologies. The three 2008 anthologies that he listed are all outstanding (I haven't yet read the Lucius Shepard one, but what little I've read of his published fiction convinced me that I would enjoy that collection of his writings immensely). I've read 6 out of the 9 2008 releases he mentioned and thought those were good one, plus Stover's book also appeared on my own 20 Favorite Fictions for 2008 list. Joe also covers more literary ground than many other SF/F bloggers I read, so there have been times that I've been tempted to buy a book because he mentioned it favorably.

Dark Wolf's Fantasy Reviews - Top 10 of my favorite 2008 reads - Mihai is a Romanian blogger who started this blog in early 2008, so this is the first year-end reflection post for him. His list is weighted more towards pre-2008 releases than 2008 ones (I believe only two novels were released for the first time anywhere in 2008), but I have read 7 of the 10 books and have review copies for 2 others. He too loved Zafón's book and many of the others on that list I enjoyed. Eight out of the 10 listed are multi-volume works.

Eve's Alexandria - An-End-of-the-Year Review, 2008 - Eve's Alexandria is a group blog done by four close friends and one of them, Victoria, blogged about her reading. It is always refreshing to read their opinions on books, in part because genre fiction only makes up a part of a very nice range of literary styles, times, and locales. Victoria's list is dominated this year by Victorian novels (I'm sure I could make a bad pun there, but I'll resist...barely) and to my pleasant surprise, I had only read 4 out of the 10 listed there. However, each of those four (the first Lessing, Homer, Gaskell, Collins) I enjoyed reading quite a bit, although in most cases it has been 10 years or more since I last read them (the Collins in part is almost screaming for a re-read, and mystery fans who haven't read this novel really ought to do so ASAP). Might get more reading suggestions from this list than from most others.

Fantasy and Sci-Fi Lovin' Blog - My Quick and Dirty 2008 List - Like many others, SQT focuses more on pre-2008 releases than others. However, she also covers movies in at least as much detail (perhaps more) than she does books here. Read only two books on her list, the Lynch and Abercrombie, and while most were solid efforts, neither one has ever exactly wowed me with their prose (Joe might with his wit, but that's more of an outside-the-book matter with me ;)).

Pat's Fantasy Hotlist - The Hotties
- I believe this is the third (fourth?) edition of Pat's year-end awards and he is one of the few who did just 2008 releases. He provides not only a Top 10 and a Second 10, but also his commentaries on which publishers, authors, and forums merit greater attention. I have read 9 out of the 21 books on his list (for some reason, he excluded Scott Bakker's Neuropath from being counted as a spec fic work) and for the most part, I enjoyed those books. Some I wouldn't have ranked as high as he did (oddly, none of his Top 20 made my Top 20, although some were close). Seems that he has a preference for multi-volume works, as at least 12 of those books are either parts of a series or set in the same literary universe.


Joe said...

Oh, how I love when people talk about me. :)

Actually, this is a cool idea. I've seen folks link to other "best of" lists, but the discussion of what sort of work is on the various lists is helpful to folks who might want to click over but may not know where the particular blogger is coming from.

Lsrry said...

I was wondering whose ears might be burning first ;)

I thought doing a links post this way might be more fitting, since it allows me to show that I did more than just glance over some list, right? That and perhaps I'll say something "controversial" and a big online brawl can break out that'll entertain people for minutes!

Or something... ;)

Aidan Moher said...

Thanks for the shout out, Larry. It's always heartening to hear that I have 'some good taste in books'.

Though I'm as guilty as everyone else, I was hoping that the end of the year would have some people reflecting on the blogosphere as well as the novels released. It's nice to see a bit of input from you.

A Dribble of Ink

Joe said...

You have anything controversial in mind?

Maybe some snipes at Pat? Those are always fun when you go in depth.

Lsrry said...

Well, I aim to be as comprehensive as possible, especially since it seems my reading audience is so schizo these days ;)

And Joe, developing a bit of bloodthirst there? :P Unless something utterly daft is said, I usually see no need to go for the jugular...tempting as it may be at times with various people's blogs I read :p

Part II will be up later. And while I'm thinking about it...Joe, has Fábio been in contact with you yet?

Joe said...

Oh, I've always had a bit of a bloodthirst. I look at car wrecks, though I'm not crazy about what that says about me. ;)

I did hear from Fabio. He kind of threw it in at as an "oh, by the way, me and Larry were thinking" comment at the end of a wish for Happy New Year. :)

I'll do it. I have some ideas as to what I'm thinking for the book, I'm just not sure if I want to do the obvious (for me). Not surprisingly, I'm going to take it a different direction from what you and Fabio chose (well, for you, what the poll chose)

Lsrry said...

Good! I had thought he was going to ask you a few weeks ago, but I didn't learn until the other day that he didn't ask you until then :P And yes, going in different directions is a very good thing, as it shouldn't be "let's read the same old stuff each time, just with a different person picking it," right? Besides, maybe a future selector will choose some interesting urban fantasy for us to read? ;)

Joe said...

I've been expecting it for a while, so I can't say I was horribly surprised.

Yeah, we'll see what comes out.

Lsrry said...

Cool, I'll be checking your blog for the announcement and then posting it here as well. I guess we'll have 4-6 weeks to obtain whatever book you choose (Twilight, right? :P), no?

SQT said...

I'm almost embarrassed to be included here. I'm afraid that I just can't concentrate on anything too deep since having kids. Heck, I haven't been able to watch an uninterrupted football game in almost 9 years. *Sigh* I used to be reasonably intelligent and sophisticated. Maybe I'll be able to veer out of the mass-market once my son is in school full time. For now-- I'm the go-to gal for low-brow titles.

Lsrry said...

Ha! :P Don't worry about it, SQT! If anything, I'm the one who has to worry about misrepresenting someone and getting a lot of nasty comments! Besides, some of the books on there were worth reading, no?

SQT said...


I'm someone who thinks anything that brings enjoyment is worthwhile. I'd have lost my mind these last 10 years if I didn't have the easy stuff to entertain me. Because the kids are always demanding my attention I have to be able to pick-up and put-down whatever I'm reading frequently-- something I can't do with anything too introspective. I was able to read "Neuropath" because the story was easy to follow-- even with all the psychological stuff. But it was too disturbing to a make my top 10.

I am, however, going to read "Shadow of the Wind" if I have to stay up until Midnight to do it.

Lsrry said...

Good, because maybe this summer we could schedule a multi-blog review/discussion of the book?

SQT said...

That sounds like fun.

Mihai A. said...

Larry, thanks a lot for the mention :)

As for the Blogger Book Club I eagerly wait to see the next book ;)

Mihai A. said...

Oh, and a 2009 as you wish to be :)

Lsrry said...

No problem and a happy new year to you as well, Mihai!

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