2012: A Year In Reading

In previous years, I’ve seen lots of bloggers write posts in January about all the books they read the previous year and the goals they’re setting for the coming year.

I always wondered how they managed to do it, and then realized, “Duh, they’re keeping a list.”

So this past year, in 2012, I decided to play along.  I logged just about everything I read in Goodreads (if you’ve been following me, you saw them down there in the corner) and I kept a spreadsheet (my husband is so proud of me; finally, a list kept on the computer instead of on a legal pad!)

I have to admit, I didn’t record everything.  I didn’t keep track of the “junk food” books — the bodice-rippers I tore through in one night, the “chick lit” I picked up at the library on a whim. And I’m sure I lost a few good books in the cracks by simply forgetting to write them down.  I read quickly and voraciously, often multiple books at once.

In addition, I wouldn’t call 2012 a typical year.  It was not an easy year in my personal life, so I probably read fewer books than I would have otherwise.  I certainly didn’t write as much as I wanted to.

Here are my results for the year, imperfect as they are.

Out of 62 books started, I completed 54 of them.  With some of the ones I didn’t finish, I just didn’t like them; for others, they were huge, dense non-fiction and I just… couldn’t… make it…

Still, 54 books.  That’s just over one book per week.  Not too shabby, especially considering what kind of year it was.

Looking over the titles, I read a lot of great YA historical fiction and historical fantasy.

J. Anderson Coats‘ debut “The Wicked and the Just” is a stellar piece of historical fiction with two unique main characters, each with a vibrant individual voice and a moving personal story.  Which reminds me, J, I still owe you that review I promised you.

I devoured the first two parts of Elizabeth Bunce’s wonderful “Thief Errant” YA fantasy trilogy, “Starcrossed” and “Liar’s Moon.” That this trilogy may remain incomplete is an astonishing publishing travesty. You can read my rant about that here.

I discovered “Bewitching Season” and “Betraying Season,” Marissa Doyle’s delightful blend of Victorian England and magic while browsing in the YA section of my library this year.  Then, I was fortunate enough to win an ARC of the prequel “Courtship and Curses” signed by the author herself.  You can read my review of “Courtship” and get a peek at all the awesome swag the marvelous Ms. Doyle sent me here.

I also loved “The False Prince” (MG fantasy) — and more importantly, my son loved it too — and thought “13 Reasons Why” was one of the most powerful contemporary YA books I’ve read in a very long time.  I was captivated by the debut of Robin LaFevers’ “His Fair Assassin” series — assassin nuns in 15th century Brittany; what’s not to love? — and the uniqueness of Elisa, the heroine of the “Fire and Thorns” trilogy (the third book comes out in fall 2013).

I enjoyed but didn’t love the wildly popular “The Night Circus;” it was as insubstantial as cotton fluff to me.  I did love “Gone Girl” for its crisp writing, its twisty plotting and its sharp observations about what it means to be a woman and a wife in this culture.  And in the “Which Hilary Mantel book do you like better?” discussion, I am firmly in the “Wolf Hall” camp, although I did enjoy “Bring Up The Bodies” this year and can’t wait for the concluding third book (which I suspect she intended to be the last hundred or so pages of “BUTB” but her publishers said, “NO! Split that one book into two so we can all make more money.  You know, like they’re doing with all those movies!”)

What about you?  What stellar reads did you discover this year (even if they came out years ago)?  What new authors debuted this year that you will now follow wherever they lead?  Were there any books that everyone raved about that you thought were just okay — or lived up to the hype? Share your thoughts in the comments so I can start building my “to read” list for 2013!

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2 Responses to 2012: A Year In Reading

  1. katharineowens says:

    Hmmm, I just finished Gone Girl. You are right– the commentary on society was pretty amazing. It does have me worrying what everyone means by what they say– thankfully in my world there are not nearly so many sociopaths. I loved The Cabinet of the Earths (Anne Nesbitt) a MG set in Paris, Flying the Dragon (Natalie Dias Lorenzi), What Alice Forgot (Lianne Moriarty– she and her sisters write amazing books), and Before I Go To Sleep (SJ Watson) a thriller that blew my mind. I am so glad my neighborhood book club started a year ago– because I’ve read several books through them that I would not have picked up normally but really enjoyed (Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese, Decoded by Jay Z, The House of the Spirits by Isabelle Allende, Swamplandia! by Karen Russell).

    • Oh yes! How could I forget to mention the amazing “Flying the Dragon!” We read “What Alice Forgot” in my book club as well in 2011, and it generated quite a bit of discussion – we all talked about what we would lose if we “forgot” ten years of our lives. Thanks for the other suggestions. I’m adding to my list right now…

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