Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Books of the year 2012, and Happy New Year!

So I got caught up in New Year's yesterday, and didn't get this post done as I'd planned. I was also busy reading my final book for 2012, Think of a Number by John Verdon.

Think of  Number - John Verdon-  A good mystery, the puzzle was great.  The characters were interesting and well-defined.  The only problem was the writing, which improved as the book went on. I liked the main character, Dave Gurney, but thought some of his psychological awareness at first was slightly manipulated.  By the end of the book this was worked out and I ended up really enjoying this first mystery.   His wife Madeleine was fascinating and very well-drawn. Dave is  a retired detective, a cerebral intelligent detective whose greatest strengths are his logic and ability to put facts together quickly.  It was fun watching him guess how the letters were done.   I guessed the reveal before it happened, though this only added to the enjoyment (it was only a little before it was revealed, though I had my suspicions for a while). I will be seeking out the second one, after April 1 when the Double Dog Dare is over.

2012 in Review
So I ended up reading 71 books in total.  Not a great year, though given my personal life last year, I am satisfied to get that many read. I had set the goal of 100 books to be read, which now looks like a perpetual goal, one I want to achieve every year.   Last year was closest, at 97 books read.

Mysteries: 28
Science Fiction: 9
Fantasy: 8
horror: 4
YA: 5
Graphic Novels:2
Childrens: 7
Non-fiction: 2
Fiction: 3
classics: 1

Male 31 *
Female 41*
Looking at those numbers, I can see I continue my trend of reading 3:1 mysteries to anything else, which is why my goal is to read 50 mysteries a year. Science fiction took a lovely jump thanks to Carl's wonderful Sci-Fi experience, which I am joining again this year. Horror dropped as well, as most of the sf I read was dystopian fiction which satisfied my craving for end of the world disaster novels (mirroring my psychological state last year).  I am still interested in dystopian fiction very much, I enjoyed all the books I read in this genre so much.

I am sad that  classics dropped even lower.  I only finished one of the three I started - North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell.  I am reading Les Miserables slowly, and have started Moby Dick as well.  So one of my goals  will be to increase my classics this year. 

I read slightly more female than male writers.  *Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall counted for one each, as a husband and wife writing team. 

For fun I have broken this down for the first time into authors nationalities, where in the world was I reading this past year?

Canada: 5
US: 34
UK: 26
Norway: 2
Sweden: 2
Iceland: 1
Ireland: 1
Australia: 1

Normally I have books from France, South Africa, and more from Iceland and Sweden on my list.  For simplicity's sake I took all the Great Britain Isles together, but on the whole it would be slightly more in favour of England to Scotland.  Again, Sweden got two votes, for Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall. I need to radically increase my books read from other countries!  And my own nation.

So overall, I didn't read as widely as I wanted to, nor in as much as I aimed for.  I failed at almost every challenge I joined, though that hasn't stopped me from enlisting in a few already this year!  Most of all, I enjoyed so many of the books I read this year.  It was very difficult to get my books of the year in order, but finally, here they are, my

Books of the Year - 2012 - 
  Dark Matter - Michelle Paver
A Room Full of Bones - Elly Griffiths
Among Others - Jo Walton
Moving Mars - Greg Bear
White Pine - Mary Oliver
Seraphina - Rachel Hartmann
Sovereign - C.J Sansom
Bury Your Dead - Louise Penny
The Black House - Peter May
 Roseanna - Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo
Life As We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeiffer
Divergent - Veronica Roth

Honourable mentions to: The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson,  Lucifer's Hammer - Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
Reviews will follow of the four I didn't manage to review, which I certainly want to.  They were each marvelous reads, thrilling, and I could have sworn I did review two of them.......

Happy New Year, Gentle Readers.  I hope many pleasurable hours of reading are ahead of you, and many delightful new books to discover, for 2013.


Andrea said...

Happy New Year! Have you seen the Dystopia Challenge? I'm signing up this year. http://bookishardour.com/dystopia/

Chris Howard said...

You had a FANTASTIC year Susan :D Wishing you the absolute best in 2013 because you so so so deserve nothing but the best my friend :) <3

Cath said...

Great post. You did really well! I can't decide whether to join the sci fi experience or not this year.

Dark Matter and A Room Full of Bones would be in my top 10 as well. Two terrific books. And you know I agree about The Black House. Seraphina is sitting on my library pile right now. LOL

Happy New year to you, Susan.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

Even if you didn't read quite as many books as you wanted to, if the quality was good then I think that's a win. I have a perpetual goal of 100 books too; it's a nice, round number :)

Trish said...

I hope that you're able to achieve the 100 books this year! If you ever need feeling better, just remember my goal is 24 books. ;) Like you I'd definitely like to read more classics, though.

I hope you enjoy Les Miserables. It took me 5 months to read a few years ago but I LOVED it. I closed the cover and immediately wanted to read it again (except maybe the abridged version).

Happy new year Susan!

Anonymous said...

Ooooh good list of 2012 bests. I read Moving Mars years ago and loved it so much that I went on. Greg Bear reading kick for what seemed like years. Also loved the Michelle Paver, looking forward to some good creepy reads this year!

Literary Feline said...

I am glad you enjoyed Think of a Number. I really liked Madeleine too.

It looks like you had a great reading year, Susan. I read a lot more mysteries than I have previously--and had so much fun doing so.

I hope you have a great New Year, Susan! Happy Reading.

Kathleen said...

Happy New Year and Happy Reading Susan! All the best for 2013!

Susan said...

Andrea: Happy New Year to you too! A Dystopia challenge - I will check it out. Thanks so much!

Chris: Yes, it does feel like a good, solid reading year, looking at what I read. Thanks so much for wishing me all the best, you know you deserve the same, plus some happiness to come your way :-)

Cath: You did really well in the sci fi experience last year, you know.....;-)

You and I read some of the same books last year and it is lovely that we both loved them! So I have high hopes for Seraphina for you. Also, we have to finish MOrville Hours and do our post :-) together. So goals for this year already! lol

Happy New year to you too, Cath, thanks.

Kim: I am beginning to realize that it's enjoying what we read and reading as much as we want to (and can) that counts the most. I'm happy that I've been able to find more and more reading time, which was one of my real goals in pushing for 100 books a year.

It will be a perpetual goal, just because of that, and also - you're right, it's such a nice round number :-)

Trish: I do feel better about your goal! lol Though, do remember Trish, one day your little one will be older, and you will find reading time again. This time is precious, and already I am wishing I had read more with my kids.

I am thrilled to hear you loved Les Miserables, that is so encouraging! and lol to the abridged version this time. Though I think reading it through once is good, then abridged is fine. One can only read so much about sewers, after all. Have you seen the movie or the play yet? So many people I know here are going to the movie version.

Happy New Year to you too, Trish :-)

bride: ooh, a Greg Bear reading kick! Funny that, I've been picking up books of his here and there now too! lol

What good creepy reads do you have this year? You know you have the most awesome taste in this area.

Literary Feline: do you find that having your challenge last year - which I'm so sorry I failed at completing! I really like it - helped you read more mysteries? Or is it the blogging community? Which mysteries do you like best? Some other bloggers have said the same thing to me, that they didn't read a lot of mysteries before, and now they find they do. I'm reading more sci fi than ever before.....its' funny what blogging here does to our reading, and I think it's one of the things I was looking for, anyway, to connect with other over books, and through books. :-) So thanks for the review about the Verdon book - either you or Sam Chase gave the review that got me looking for it.

Happy New year too :-)

Kathleen: Thank you so much! Happy New year to you too.

Carl V. said...

So happy that you liked Among Others so well.

I read my first Greg Bear, Hull Zero Three, a few years back and liked it a great deal. I'll be reading him again in the future.

Susan said...

Carl: I loved Among Others! I so wished I could have read it as a teenager, it would have had such an impact on me then. It was such a fun book lovers (sci fi especially) book, wasn't it? I think I will be rereading it again soon, just for the pleasure of it.

I hope you try Moving Mars next, it was so very good.

Ana @ things mean a lot said...

I love your list, and I definitely need to get around to reading Dark Matter. Happy reading in 2013, Susan!

Susan said...

Ana: Thank you! Yes, you do need to read it :-)

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