Library Journal’s Best Books of 2008

hakawatiThis is one of my favorite lists uncovered so far — Library Journal’s Best Books of 2008! It’s not separated into fiction or non-fiction categories, and there are several different titles chosen here than on any other academic-like lists I’ve seen lately! I don’t know who likes all of the obvious, pretentious selections. That being said, I’ve still not read any of these books . . . but I have a new starting point when figuring out what will be on my challenge list for 2009!


Library Journal’s Best Books of 2008

Say You’re One of Them. –Akpan, Uwem.

The Hakawati. –Alameddine, Rabih.

The Wasted Vigil. –Aslam, Nadeem.

The Last Flight of the Scarlet Macaw: One Woman’s Fight To Save the World’s Most Beautiful Bird. –Barcott, Bruce.

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything. –Brown, Janelle.

The Night of the Gun: A Reporter Investigates the Darkest Story of His Life. His Own. –Carr, David.

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Tuesday Thingers: Popularity

This week’s Tuesday Thingers question from the Boston Bibliophile:

What’s the most popular book in your library? Have you read it? What did you think? How many users have it?

harry_potterLike many folks, this honor goes to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone — the first book in the Harry Potter seven-part series. It’s in the library of 37,387 other Thingers, has been reviewed 363 times and has an average rating of 4.23/5. Personally, I gave it 4.5 stars! I have indeed read it — I read the entire series last spring/summer after steadfastly refusing to touch it for years — and loved it. As with many readers, Harry will always have a special place in my heart!

Musing Mondays: OMG Twilight!

musing_mondays This week’s Musing Mondays question from its new home at Just One More Page:

How do you feel about wide-spread reading phenomenons — Harry Potter, for instance, or the more current Twilight Saga? Are these books so widely read for a reason, or merely fads or crazes? Do you feel compelled to read — or NOT to read — these books because everyone else is?

Well, how incredibly topical is this?! Especially since I’m still riding ridiculously high from my Twilight-filled weekend (much more to come on that later, either to your joy or dismay).

I’ll be the first one to tell you I don’t usually jump in with the hype. Even when practically everyone I knew was reading the Harry Potter series — including my dad and sister — I stubbornly refused to read them, even though I never stopped hearing good things about them. My only rationale was that I didn’t “like” that type of book, and I thought, stupidly, they were just for children. I actually read the entire series last summer — books one through seven, all in a row — beginning around April and ending last September, after Deathly Hallows came out. I initially started reading them as we were gearing up for the midnight release party of book seven last July at my bookstore job; I wanted to be excited like everyone else was. And once I started reading them, pushing straight through, I loved it. I felt silly that I’d put it off for so long.


The same is (mostly) true of Twilight — I’d heard customers buzzing about the series randomly over the past few years, but never paid much attention. I don’t typically read anything with a science fiction / fantasy / mystery slant, and all anyone had to do was say the word “vampire” and I was out. But as we got ready for the midnight release of Breaking Dawn in August — and I found myself as mistress of ceremonies once again — I wanted to be excited about the release and be able to discuss the books with customers. So I bought Twilight around June, hunkered down with all three books and read and read and read. Then, of course, I got to wait around for the fourth and final book with everyone else — although I waited considerably less time. And I loooooved them (OMG EDWARD CULLEN! lol lol), despite the fact that I wasn’t necessarily in the targeted “age bracket” anymore. (And for the record, I have several good friends in their forties and fifties who have read and adored the series, too!)

To some extent, I guess these books are “fads” — just in the way that popular things can only stay popular for so long. I don’t believe the Twilight Saga has the staying power that the Harry Potter franchise does, mostly because Twilighters are a certain demographic (women) and Harry Potter appeals more to both genders. Plus, they’re just much better written with much more dynamic, interesting plots (sorry, Stephenie Meyer). But Twilight had a dramatic pull for me — something absolutely compelled me to read like the wind, dying to figure out the fate of, basically, two star-crossed lovers. There’s an emotional element to them that surprised me. I know many people don’t agree, but that’s what’s great about art — we all draw from it what we want to draw. And though the books can only fly off the shelves for so long before something new breaks in and draws the attention away, readers will continue to discover these book series long after we’ve stopped hearing about them daily.

Tuesday Thingers: Popular this month

This week’s Tuesday Thingers question from the Boston Bibliophile:

“Popular this month on LT: Do you look at this list?
Do you get ideas on what to read from it?
Have you read any of the books on the list right now?
Feel free to link to any reviews you’ve done as well.”

I do check out the list! I’m not usually too up on the “current” hot books, just because I find it difficult to scrounge up the dough needed for the hardcovers, but I do pick up some of the popular books after reading lots of great reviews of them online. I love to know what other people are reading, so I do check out the list and take that into consideration when investing in books.

Here’s the list of the top 10 most popular books on LibraryThing at the moment:

1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
2. Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
3. Nation by Terry Pratchett
4. Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
5. Anathem by Neal Stephenson
6. American Wife: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld
7. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
8. The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: A Novel by David Wroblewski
9. Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland
10. Eclipse (The Twilight Saga, Book 3) by Stephenie Meyer

Of the ten, the only one I’ve read is Meyer’s Eclipse — one of my favorites in the series! I have Guernsey Literary . . . on my Christmas list. Everyone seems to be raving about it. I showed it to my sister at Borders the other day — hopefully she’ll take my recommendation to heart. Otherwise I’ll be dashing out myself to grab it after the holidays!

Best-selling books of the last 15 years

I absolutely love lists! S. Krishna posted about USA TODAY’S top 150 best-selling books of the last 15 years, so I had to go through them and figure out how many I’ve read — of course! I’ve bolded everything I’ve checked out. That would be 33. Thirty three out of 150? I guess that’s all right. Check out the original article here!

I’m surprised to see so many “recent” books on the list: The Shack, The Last Lecture, Breaking Dawn, Eldest . . . not that they’re not all worthy of making the best-selling list! Not too many surprises on there, especially with Harry Potter dominating most of the top positions. Many of the titles are weight/nutrition guides, too, which makes sense. Working at the bookstore, I would only go a few hours without someone asking me for a weight loss guide . . . and definitely had enough of them.

And now, without further ado:

USA TODAY’s Best-Selling Books List Top 150 books
of the last 15 years

(Oct. 28, 1993 through Oct. 23, 2008)

Rank, Title, Author

1 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre

2 Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution — Robert C. Atkins

3 The Da Vinci Code — Dan Brown

4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre

5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre

6 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre

7 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre

8 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre

9 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre

10 Who Moved My Cheese? — Spencer Johnson

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