I'm back from my trip to India! What better way to deal with jet lag than to get some blog posts finished up? Here's my belated, but hopefully still interesting, 2012 year in review.
And it has been a year of a LOT of books for me - almost 120 finished this year! Let's break that number down:
Total Books Read: 116 - GoodReads says 118 and LibraryThing says 114, so I went with the middle. I read 72 books last year and said that the number for 2012 was likely to fall dramatically. Instead, it went way up. I cannot explain this. Maybe my goal of having no goals - reading whatever I wanted, whenever it took my fancy - really worked out in my favor! Also, I read many more novellas and shorter histories this year that took the number up. And audiobooks!
Non-Fiction/Fiction Ratio: 1:3. I thought this was almost 1:1, so I am surprised that it was just 25%. But that's still pretty good I guess, and I'll explain it away by pointing out that non-fiction books are usually longer than fiction ones.
"Out of Comfort Zone" Reads: I used to use this to comment on books I read that were not in the historical fiction or fantasy genres. But I no longer think this is necessary for me to track. More than half my reads in 2011 were not fantasy or historical fiction, and the same is true for 2012 - I am reading more widely, which is great, BUT it also means that I am reading less from my own shelves.
Classics Read (Note: This is based on my hazy idea of a classic): 15 That's a little more than one a month, which isn't great but is pretty good. Especially as one of those is Middlemarch, which I think we all know should count as four books, at least.
Books Read that were on the Shelf on 12/31/11 (Reduction in TBR Pile): 19 Two of which were re-reads and 4 of which just barely made it onto the shelf in 2011. Yikes. This just goes to show that you never want to read what you already have! Again, I thought this number was way higher.
Books Read that were from the Library: 54 Well, this makes me feel better about the number above! At least I didn't buy a ton of books.
Audiobooks: 25 Obviously a huge impact in my reading number when I can read while commuting!
Books read by POC Authors: 13 (I think). Wow. This is just over 10%. While I didn't have a specific goal for this, I definitely thought it was higher. I hope 2013's number is an improvement. I'd at least like this to be 25%, if not higher.
Books read about POC Characters: 31 Maybe that's why I thought my POC author number was so much higher. A good number of these were non-fiction books about POC - looks like I need to find more non-fiction by POC.
Longest Book Read: A Suitable Boy, by Vikram Seth. Clocks in at 1,448 pages. Second place to Middlemarch, which is well over 800 pages
Best Newly Discovered Authors: Jo Walton and Patricia McKillip. I can't believe I never read them before!
Characters I Wish I Could Hug:
Joe from The Round House
Eli Sister from The Sisters Brothers
Miles Vorkosigan from The Warrior's Apprentice
Pretty much everyone in Green Grass, Running Water
June from Tell the Wolves I'm Home (once she's old enough)
Helena and Marcus from Nemesis
Mor from Among Others
Seriously Awesome Female Characters I want to Emulate:
Seraphina from Seraphina
Ella from Ella, Enchanted
Bab from Bab: A Sub-Deb
Marian from The Woman in White
Amy from Gone Girl
Laura from The Woman in White
Bab: A Sub-Deb, by Mary Roberts Rinehart. Seriously, people, why haven't you read this book yet?
Unexpectedly Amazing Books:
Bayou, by Jeremy Love
Alphabet of Thorn, by Patricia McKillip
Crow, by Barbara Wright
1493, by Charles C. Mann
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, by Dee Brown
Delusions of Gender, by Cordelia Fine
Biggest Literary "Holy Cow, I can't believe someone came up with this idea!":
Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn
Most Obscure Topic I Can Now Talk about with Authority:
Why American barns are shaped the way they are
The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick DeWitt
Unexpected Reading Themes for the Year:
Alternate English History (Lord Darcy, The Shadow of Albion, Farthing)
Folk Tale Retellings (Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Trickster, Once Upon a Time Machine, Two Old Women, Green Grass, Running Water)
I don't mean to brag, but #Diversiverse was pretty amazing. It will be repeated.
Most Read Authors:
Marcus Didius Falco
Let's not even go there.
Most Disappointing Book:
Death Comes to Pemberley, by PD James. Sigh. It could have been SO GOOD.
Best Fiction Books of 2012 (In No Particular Order):
Bring Up the Bodies - Read early this year so I often forget it, but a fantastic book about Tudor England and Thomas Cromwell's life by my girl crush Hilary Mantel.
A Monster Calls - Sobbed my way through this one, in the best way possible.
Green Grass, Running Water - Seriously amazing. So funny, so touching, and I loved the subversion.
Farthing - Alternate history rocks my world, particularly when it brings light to the foibles of our own world.
A Gathering of Old Men - Beautifully written book from multiple POVs about African-American men taking back their dignity.
The Song of Achilles (review forthcoming) - WOW. This came in at the end of the year and it was so, so good. I loved the romance, I loved the history, and I loved the ending.
Bab: A Sub-Deb - Again, why haven't more people read this hilarious, light, and super-fun romp through pre-WWI America?
The Round House - Barbara Erdrich's book about rape on an Ojibwe reservation and how a family attempts to come to terms with it.
The Woman in White - Ok, Wilkie Collins, I admit you know how to write. Marian may be one of the coolest women ever to populate a Victorian novel.
Best Non-Fiction Books of 2012 (in no particular order):
Delusions of Gender - This book has the ability to make ANYONE into a feminist, and therefore should be required reading since really, everyone should be a feminist.
A Midwife's Tale - Brilliantly researched book about midwifery in revolution-era Maine that incorporates a TON of interesting facts not just about midwifery, but about life, gender roles, the local economy and so much more.
Behind the Beautiful Forevers - A heart-breaking look at life in a Mumbai slum.