Sunday, December 30, 2012

best of 2012 | best books

I had two reading goals in 2012. First: To spend $0 on books this year by reading library books and unread books from our overflowing shelves at home. This was an easy goal to accomplish and I still have a huge collection of unread books at home, so I'll repeat this goal in 2013. And Second: To read more. This is a goal I have every year. And I was a little disappointed in myself for not reading more this year. Ok, a lot disappointed. So disappointed that I almost didn't write this post. But I liked looking back and being able to see a list of what I read last year, so I'm forging ahead. I'm surrounded by voracious readers - Larry reads on average 55 books a year and my mother confessed that she read 60 books over the summer. 60 BOOKS in three months, people! So my grand total of 15 books this year feels downright embarrassing...

Year after year, I find that I read the most in the first half of the year. January is consistently a big reading month for me - I don't know whether it's the post-holiday nesting urge/winter blues that leads me to snuggle up on the couch and read book after book, or the fact that each year one of my new year's resolutions is to read more, but more than 25% of the titles on my 2012 book list were read in January.

I read throughout the spring and usually polish off a couple more books during summer beach trips, but I find that by the time September rolls around, I am pretty much done reading for the year. This isn't a conscious decision and I am always disappointed in myself that I can't seem to concentrate on reading at the end of the year - the perfect time to curl up under a blanket with a cup of cocoa and a good book - but that just seems to be the way it is for me. October through December is the busy season for my shop and also the stressful season in my personal life, so books are forced to take a back seat to holiday prep. And once the holiday season comes to a close, and the new year has been rung in with champagne toasts, I know that I'll make up for it by spending the first thirty-one days of the new year with my nose in a book (or four).

As usual, my reading list contains a good mix of fiction and non-fiction and includes a classic, two Pulitzer winners, an Oprah book club book, and some young adult fluff:

The Pioneer Woman: Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Stranger by Albert Camus
Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim by David Sedaris
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Blue Nights by Joan Didion
Half Broke Horses: A True-Life Novel by Jeannette Walls
The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
The Secret History by Donna Tartt
Defending Jacob by William Landay
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Total number of books: 15
Fiction: 9
Non-Fiction: 6
By Male Authors: 4
By Female Authors: 11

It wasn't difficult to pick my favorites this year: Water for Elephants was pure magic (though I thought the movie sucked) and Unbroken was fascinating and shocking and the story permeated my dreams for weeks. Honorable mention goes to Wild, which I also loved and which made me bawl my eyes out. Twice.

And now back to my annual resolution: reading more...


Pickles and Dimes said...

I love reading other people's reading lists. I should try Unbroken; I've heard lots of good things about it.

I read 140 books last year (lots of them were free Kindle books, so not necessarily full-length novels), and my goal is to hit 150 this year.

Laura said...

Man, I really have to read Unbroken. Your other 2 favourites are also 2 of mine, so we probably have quite similar tastes. EVERYONE tells me I should read Unbroken, maybe I should read that one after my current batch of library books!