2012: A Year’s Reading in Review
Looking back at a year’s worth of reading has been depressing for the last couple of years — most of the words I read come from periodicals, not books, these days — but I do it every year anyway. Anything done twice is tradition, and this particular format was given to me by a good friend back in the days when you wrote such things down by hand, on a piece of paper, and passed it along, as opposed to just posting it on the blog.
Uphill both ways in the snow, with a baked potato to keep us warm. Obviously.
So without further ado, the Year’s Reading in Review for 2012:
How Many Books Read in 2011: 39 that I remembered to list on Goodreads, which is my primary tool for keeping track of these things. There’s always a few that get forgotten, or that are re-reads of something I already reviewed (the site won’t let you post multiple reviews of the same book, for obvious reasons), so we can safely peg it as somewhere near but not over the 50-book mark.
Fiction/Non-Fiction Ratio: Exactly one non-fiction book, although there are a number of others that I use as reference material in my work rather than reading cover-to-cover which don’t make it onto the Goodreads list.
Male/Female Authors Ratio: 14:6 male to female by author. By book it’s a bit more balanced: 21:18 books by male to female authors (a lot of Dorothy Sayers titles this year…)
Favorite Book Read: As always, there are lots that I want to give it to, but I’ll go ahead and say Freddy and Fredericka by Mark Helprin. Gore Vidal’s Lincoln and Christopher Buckley’s They Eat Puppies, Don’t They? are also right up there.
Least Favorite: Surprisingly, I managed to avoid picking up any real stinkers this year. I’ll give it to Neal Stephenson’s Reamde, which wasn’t particularly awful — just overly-long and kind of squickily misogynist in places.
Oldest Book Read: The House of the Seven Gables by Nathaniel Hawthorne (which I liked).
Newest Book Read: The Princesses of Iowa by recently-debuted (and fellow Grinnell College alumnus) Molly Backes.
Longest Book Title: The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy.
Shortest Book Title: Reamde by Neal Stephenson.
How Many Re-Reads: A guilty year for re-reading — 12 of them this time around, mostly by Lois McMaster Bujold, Lloyd Alexander, and Laurence Yep. There were a couple months there where feel-good escapism was pretty much the only thing on my literary plate (and my actual plate, for that matter; I ate my share of Doritos in french onion dip this summer).
Most Books by One Author This Year: Six by Dorothy Sayers. One of my many and scandalous lovers started me on her, and I promptly read all of the ones featuring Harriet Vane, plus a few of the earlier ones.
Books in Translation: Only one this year — And Quiet Flows the Don by Mikhail Sholokhov, translated by Stephen Garry
And How Many Books Were From the Library: Less than usual, but only because many were borrowed from friends or already in my collection. I believe the only books I actually purchased this year were ones by authors I knew and wanted to support personally (and most of those were given as gifts).
As always, the editorial subtext of this list is to go support your public library — it’s books, for free. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Feel free to steal this list for your own blog or website, or just comment, kibitz, etc. in the comments section down below…