Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012: The Year in Reading


This was a weird year for me as a reader. First of all, now that I keep lists, I noticed that I read less this year than I did in 2011. According to my lists, I read 46 new books in 2012, compared to 63 in 2011. (I'd be curious to compare that by page numbers, but man does that seem overwhelming!) Honestly, it took me a while to figure it why that number is so much lower, but it's obvious that I can lay all the blame on the election. In the few months before the election, I barely read any books. I just read about politics on the internet....and all I have to show for it was a near heart attack. Just kidding, but I'm glad that's over.

Looking back, I'd say the 2 books I most enjoyed this year were Where'd You Go, Bernadette? and HHhH. Interestingly, both of them will be in the 2013 TOB. We all know how much I love to hate on Seattle, so WYGB was so perfect for me, it was as if the author pried open my brain and used it as source material.

A similar thing happened with HHhH, which was wonderful---not an adjective used to describe books about Nazis. The novel is about Reinhard Heydrich, the Butcher of Prague. He's the guy who designs and implements the Final Solution. When my students read Anne Frank, we watch part of movie called Conspiracy, which is all about Heydrich and the Wannsee Conference. It's there that the Nazis discussed and rubber stamped the Final Solution as presented by Heydrich. This novel is *totally* in my wheelhouse. Not only is it a retelling of a historical character and time that I find quite fascinating, but the author himself is a character, discussing what it's like to try and tell the story. He ruminates on the meaning of historical fiction, and why we feel driven to create dialogue and facts that are unknowable. This is pretty closely tied to my memoir problem, which I know I prattle on about endlessly, so the whole book was just excellent. I LOVED IT.

Looking forward to next year, I'm excited for the upcoming TOB and will be reading more of those books. I also did a much better job, I think, with my TBR list. There's less non-fiction, only 5 titles, and I'm hoping I'll read 4 of those. I'll admit I also did a page count, hoping to avoid last year's list of big books. This year, most of the books come in between the 275-400 page mark. There's one honking, big book in there: The Making of the Atomic Bomb weights in around 800 pages, but I can handle one super long book if other choices are more manageable.

Looking forward to 2013!

1 comment:

  1. I listened to WYGB? as an audiobook and *immediately* thought of you when she started bagging so hard on Seattle -- glad you found it on your own! :)

    As for HHhH, I am curious about it. One of those books I seem to keep hearing about.

    Other than my 12 TBR books, I'm not really sure how many books I read this year... not too many. Let me think... um... about 10 others that I can recall. This year was a big audiobook year for me (packing + unpacking = audiobook nirvana) -- I just looked and found that I listened to 25 books (I wouldn't have thought it was quite that many!) Altogether, probably more books that I would have thought possible, given my crazy circumstances. Thank goodness for audiobooks and eBooks.

    I, too, am looking forward to 2013. 2012 was a tough one and I'm ready to shut the damned door on it.