As per tradition, here’s my list of books I read in the year just ended (in this case, 2012), listed alphabetically by author:
- The Crossroads, by Niccolo Ammaniti *
- Ed the Happy Clown, by Chester Brown (Graphic novel)
- World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, by Max Brooks *
- The Red Market: On the Trail of the World’s Organ Brokers, Bone Thieves, Blood Farmers, and Child Traffickers, by Scott Carney *
- The Awakening, by Kate Chopin *
- The Serpent and the Rainbow, by Wade Davis
- A Partisan’s Daughter, by Louis de Bernieres
- Ablutions, by Patrick deWitt *
- Every Man Dies Alone, by Hans Falada
- The Confidential Agent, by Graham Greene
- Plunder and Pillage: Atlantic Canada’s Brutal and Bloodthirsty Pirates and Privateers, by Harold Horwood
- Eight Worlds of C.M. Kornbluth, by C.M. Kornbluth
- The Thieves of Manhattan, by Adam Langer
- Solar, by Ian MacEwan
- After the Apocalypse, by Maureen McHugh *
- Incident at Vichy, by Arthur Miller
- Devil in a Blue Dress, by Walter Mosley
A few notes:
17 titles, which is an improvement over last year’s abysmal low of nine and nowhere near my 2007 high of 38. However, as with last year, I did read much, much more medium- and long-form journalism than in earlier years, thanks to my iPad and Instapaper.
I put down, unfinished, only one book last year: James Wolcott’s Lucking Out. I had bought it in hardcover, at full price, based on the rattlingly good first chapter. By half way through it had deteriorated into a dull “been there done that” and celebrity roll-call. At least that’s how it felt. I didn’t throw it across the room or anything, I just set it down one night and never picked it up again.
As usual, I read way more men than women. And as usual, I will offer no explanation for this.
Most of the books on the list are not what you’d call “current.” I’m not one to obsess over best-seller lists nor do I feel a need to read “the latest thing.” I buy and read according to what strikes my fancy as I’m browsing, and there’s generally a significant lag between my buying a book and actually reading it. For paper-based books this is, on average, about two years, but it’s not unusual for it to stretch to ten or more. Unusually, most of the books I read in 2012 were actually purchased in 2012.
Six out of the 17 were e-books. This is higher than in previous years because I obtained a Kobo e-reader this past June. I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with it, and I’m considering going back to the iPad for book reading (or in this case, my new iPad Mini). I might go into detail on the problems of e-readers in a later blog post.