2012 in Review

Another year has passed, and it’s once again time to sum up my reading of the past year.  I started out with an ambitious goal of averaging 100 pages read per day for the entire year.  And I was well on pace to crush that number, until September rolled around and I started working full time and bowling 4 nights a week.  Alas, sometimes life gets in the way, but since I enjoy actually working full time, and I really enjoy bowling, I can’t complain too much.

I finished 86 books this past year, many of them early in the year and through the summer.  Starting in early October I began my re-read of Robert Jordan’s epic Fantasy series The Wheel of Time and I’m currently about 3/4 of the way through book 7.

I’m going to do the same thing I did last year and break down those 86 books by the rating that I gave them, and then talk about a few other random things about the books that I read throughout the year.

  • Not scored – 7 books (I didn’t do a scored review for God’s Debris by Scott Adams, nor am I doing scored reviews for The Wheel of Time books.
  • 10/10 – 8 books
  • 9/10 – 13 books
  • 8/10 – 15 books
  • 7/10 – 16 books
  • 6/10 – 14 books
  • 5/10 – 7 books
  • 4/10 – 3 books
  • 3/10 – 2 books
  • 1/10 – 1 book

So once again this year most of my reviews were on the high side, I’m going to chalk that up to my overall excellent taste in books (just a hint of sarcasm there), along with some fantastic recommendations from various sources (other bloggers, Amazon, various websites and other assorted lists).

So now it’s time to talk about a few things from amongst the books that I read:

Favorite New Author

One of the best things about reading new books is finding a new author to read about and then getting to go through their backlog of books catching up on everything they’ve written.  There were a couple of authors that I picked up for the first time this year, and the ones that I’d consider as my favorite new author comes down to one of three; Christopher Moore, John Scalzi, and Jim C. Hines.

And the winner is, Jim C. Hines.  While I definitely read more of Moore’s books throughout the year, when I started reading Hines’ books I was completely blown away.  The way that he takes common fairytale and fantasy tropes and spins them on their heads was amazingly well done.  His books were thoughtful, funny, and well written.  How many other authors could make you really like a goblin with a pet fire-spider?  I really look forward to reading the rest of the books in Hines’ princess series and then catching up with the other books he’s written.

Favorite Book

Once again this year I read quite a few books that I really enjoyed.  And while I gave 8 books a perfect 10/10 rating, I think my overall favorite book of the year is going to be one that I gave a 9/10, and it’s Lamb by Christopher Moore.  Lamb is one of the funniest books you’ll ever read, but it’s not simply throwing a joke in on every page.  There is a really interesting story there, and the jokes all fit seamlessly into the story, nothing is ever forced.  It’s a wonderful book and one that I’m sure I’ll read again in the future.

Similar to last year, I’m also going to throw out a few quick hits on various books I read over the year, and here they are:

  • Longest book – The Shadow Rising – 981 pages
  • Shortest book – God’s Debris – 132 pages
  • Funniest book – Lamb by Christopher Moore
  • Saddest book – Hyperion by Dan Simmons (specifically the story of the scholar, Sol Weintraub)
  • Best Non-Fiction book – Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
  • Most Unique Setting – On A Pale Horse by Piers Anothy

As I did last year, I once again ask for any questions that you might have about books that I read throughout the year.  I ask again that you keep the questions positive in nature.  I will not answer questions about the least favorite book, least favorite author, etc, so don’t ask them.

All that said, it is a new year, and I leave you with the same thoughts that I had last year concerning the new year.  The first is simply to say that wherever you and your loved ones celebrated the new year, that everyone made it home safely.  And finally I leave you with an old Irish proverb:

May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future.

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8 Comments

  1. Great to see your stats! I’m glad Scalzi is one of the new authors that you enjoy. I need to read Hines. I’ve enjoyed reading some of his posts/articles online and suspect I would enjoy his fiction.

    Okay, questions:

    1. What was the 1/10 book? (Not negative, just curious)
    2. What book(s) did you read this year that you feel would make good introductory books to people who are not, or think they are not, fans of SF?
    3. How many books are you shooting to read in 2013?

    Hope you have a great reading year, and year in all other ways, in 2013.

    Reply
    • The 1/10 book was The Color of Magic by Terry Pratchett, I’d read some Pratchett before and I decided to start reading his Discworld series. The Color of Magic is the first book in the Discworld series, and it’s also going to be the last one that I read. Nothing about the book worked for me at all. There’s more of an explanation in my review of the book, so I’ll stop complaining about it here.

      Books to get people interested in reading SciFi that I read this year. While I didn’t read the first book this year, I did read several books in the Ender’s Game series this year, and that would be a good start. For something a little more modern, maybe something like Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (but if you’re enough of a game nerd to enjoy this book you probably already know about it). Mira Grant’s Newsflesh Trilogy (Feed, Deadline, and Blackout) would be a lighter SciFi book to get someone started on as well. This is a really hard question because I read quite a bit of good SciFi this past year, and I suppose I would narrow it down a little more depending on what other books the person liked, but those are some general ones.

      For Fantasy books it would be a lot easier, I talked all year about how much I love the Mistborn trilogy, and that’s a Fantasy series I would give to anyone. Any of the books by Jim C. Hines would work as well, but those would be better for people who know about the common Fantasy tropes and want to see them turned on their heads. I’m also a big fan of Piers Anthony’s Xanth series, I re-read the first book (A Spell for Chameleon) this past year and I would suggest that book anyone and everyone. That’s one of the books that really got me started on reading Fantasy and I really enjoy the entire series.

      How many books for this coming year. That’s another difficult question. Last year I set a goal of averaging 100 pages read per day (I ended up with an average of about 94 pages read per day over the course of the year). I set a page per day goal rather than a book goal because so many of the books that I read are very long (the Mistborn trilogy is over 2,000 pages for just 3 books). Knowing now that I’ll be working full time this year makes me cautiously optimistic that I’ll be able to read 50 books this year. But again, I’d rather say that I was able to average reading 60-ish pages a day than to set a particular number of books to read.

      Reply
      • Sorry to hear that. I read my first Discworld this year too, Thud! (a much more recent novel) and loved it. Funny without being farcical with such a great character in Commander Vimes of the Watch. I’ll read more, but wouldn’t have any interest in going back that far.

        I need to try one of Anthony’s Xanth books at some point. The only book I have read by him was a collaboration called Secret of Spring, but I highly enjoyed it. A good romantic comedy fantasy novel. Mistborn would be a good start, and after just reading the novella The Emperor’s Soul I think that may be my go-to recommendation for people wanting to try out Sanderson as the commitment is minimal but the payoff is big.

        I like the pages-a-day goal. Hadn’t thought of looking at it like that over the course of a year, despite the fact that I do at times set myself goals that I want to get to page X in a given book before going to bed. May have to look at things that way for myself in 2013 as a way to stay on track but also to stay balanced.

        Thanks for the answers, was fun to do things this way.

      • I have both Emperor’s Soul and Legion (another novella Sanderson wrote) on my to be read stack, I’ll probably read them in between some Wheel of Time books eventually considering I could read them both in an afternoon.

        I’ve heard that the later Discworld novels are better than the first ones, but I like to start at the beginning of a series, so I grabbed The Color of Magic to start with.

      • Normally I am exactly the same way but since this seems to be less of a consecutive trilogy than it is various chapters in the lives of groups in the world I couldn’t bring myself to go back and read what I knew was going to be a lesser quality book in comparison to later books.

  2. Thanks for another year of great reviews and many new author recs, Adam! I look forward to following what you read this year.

    Reply
  3. 86 books that’s great. I have a daily page goal as well and I try to get 50 pages each day. It’s hard with work, relationship, and doing dishes, laundry–well you get the idea. I hope you find more treasures this year.

    Reply
    • I know what you mean with work and everything else, I was well on pace for 110-115 books until I started working full time and bowling in 4 leagues a week. Still, I read a lot of good stuff stuff last year, so I can’t complain too much.

      Reply

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