Thursday, December 27, 2012

Books Read in 2012

It's that time of the year again. Time to post all the book I've read in the past year. Some were delightful surprises, others slow slogs. As always I've included some comments and recommendations. For the first time I've linked books to the appropriate review (I reviewed all the books from our book club this year on this blog).

My grand total of books read in 2012 was 106 and I brought the total number of books read from my 501 Must Read Books list to 112.

  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad 
  • The Sisters Brothers by Patrick Dewitt (a great modern western, reminded me of Cormac McCarthy with a bit of an existentialist twist)
  • 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (a long, unusual novel that I actually quite enjoyed; will have to look into some more Murakami in 2013)
  • Four Weird Tales by Algernon Blackwood 
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (not my cup of tea but not bad either)
  • The Island of Dr. Moreau by HG Wells (not his best work; check out The Time Machine instead)
  • Dewey by Vicki Myron (it's about the world's most famous library cat; I bawled my eyes out reading this one; a must for cat lovers)
  • The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon (another odd novel that I really enjoyed once I figured it out; takes some getting into so not for everyone but a worthwhile read nonetheless)
  • The New World by Patrick Ness (interesting Kobo short story freebie; prequel to a YA series that I've got to check out - must add to my 2013 must read list)
  • Journey to the Interior of the Earth by Jules Verne (so much geology but a great read)
  • Kidnapped by R. L Stevenson (February book club selection)
  • Varney the Vampire by Thomas Preskett Prest (it was on the 501 list; what a long slog; not recommended)
  • Japanese Fairy Tales by Tei Theodora Ozaki 
  • The Third Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond (I like to sneak in some mainstream science reading too; fascinating premise and a great read)
  • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John Le Carre (a good book but a little tough; I kept getting confused because all the characters have multiple names)
  • The Tattoo Chronicles by Kat Von D (guilty pleasure read! loved it!)
  • Pebble in the Sky by Isaac Asimov (I love it when anthropology and science fiction collide! a great read)
  • Measuring Mother Earth by Heather Robertson (another nerd read about Tyrell; fascinating history)
  • The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins (a 501 read; compelling)
  • The Lock Artist by Steve Hamilton (March book club selection; definitely recommended)
  • The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (wonderful prose about drinking wine with friends; so lovely)
  • The Jungle Book by Ruyard Kipling (forget what Disney and read this wonderful book instead)
  • The Romance of Tristan and Iseult by M. Joseph Bedler
  • The Abandoned by Amanda Stevens
  • Heroes, Zombies, and Sausages: Orbit Sampler (Jan-Mar 2011) (another Kobo freebie; some great previews for some books I'm still meaning to check out - will have to add to 2013 must read list)
  • Modelland by Tyra Banks (guilty pleasure reading #2; odd but couldn't put it down so I'd actually recommend it)
  • The House of the Vampire by George Sylvester Viereck (another forgettable vampire novel; shows that people have been trying to make the genre work for ages)
  • The Strange Case of Finley Jayne by Kady Cross (2012 was a great year for YA fiction; I would highly recommend this steampunk novel)
  • The Last Drop by L. Ron Hubbard 
  • Dead(ish) by Naomi Kramer (really bad free ebook)
  • The Cyber Chronicles Book 1 by TC Southwell (another really bad free ebook)
  • Zombie Nights by Tome Lichtenberg (and yet another really bad free ebook - lesson now learned)
  • Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne (had trouble getting into this one)
  • The Collected Poems of Emily Dickinson 
  • Adam's Tongue by Derek Bickerton (a great nerd read examining the origin of language in humans; great accessible read about language and communication in general)
  • The Ape and The Sushi Master by Frans de Waal (another great nerd read about primate behaviour)
  • Memoirs of Sherlock Homes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock! always a great read)
  • Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear
  • IT by Stephen King (it had been too long since I'd visited with this old friend so bought an ebook version so I can take it with me)
  • The Return of Sherlock Homes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (more great Sherlock!)
  • Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson (this was a really great read; compelling and highly recommended)
  • Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris (kind of silly)
  • The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford 
  • The Blue Flower by Penelope Fitzgerald
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherin Boo (I did not realize at first that this was non-fiction; a must read!)
  • The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou 
  • Vendetta by Michael Dibdin
  • Madam Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  • Divergent by Veronica Roth (loved this book! read it!)
  • The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (a fascinating read merging the real events surrounding the Chicago's World Fair and the serial killer who was operating at the same time; highly recommended)
  • Insurgent by Veronica Roth (the sequel to Divergent; read this one too! did I mention I waited in line for like 3 hours to meet the author; can't wait for the next book and the films to come out)
  • Kim by Rudyard Kipling (a more difficult read than The Jungle Book; much time is spent walking around)
  • Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin 
  • Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (I enjoyed this and would recommend it)
  • The Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike by Philip K. Dick (odd!)
  • Cosmopolis by Don Delillo (another odd read; curious to see the film adaptation)
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (I did not enjoy this as much as Tom Sawyer)
  • The Universe by JP McEvoy (a nerd read; not recommended; really poorly written)
  • The Wind Though the Keyhole by Stephen King (part of the Dark Tower series; highly recommended even as a stand alone story)
  • Utopia by Thomas More (bland)
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (wonderful! highly recommended! can't wait to read it to Itty some day)
  • Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (a slog to get through; Dante was easier!)
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith (guilty pleasure read; far better than the movie!)
  • Erewhon by Samuel Butler (interesting little read off of the 501 list)
  • Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh (I enjoyed this one and would recommend it)
  • King Solomon's Mines by Henry Rider Haggard (a great little adventure novel; one of our 2013 book club selections so look for a review in February)
  • To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer (I've read a lot of his stuff and decided to read this one after seeing the film adaptation "Riverworld"; the book is vastly better but a tough read; really neat concept involving a form of reincarnations as it were)
  • The Fabulous Riverboat by Philip Jose Farmer (the continuation of To Your Scattered Bodies Go)
  • The Josephine B Trilogy (The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B; Tales of Passion, Tales of Woe; The Last Great Dance on Earth)  by Sandra Gulland (highly recommended)
  • Brain Wave by Poul Anderson (worth reading if you are into science fiction)
  • Jacob Two Two and the Hooded Fang by Mordecai Richler (how did I not read this as a child; highly recommended)
  • The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury (a scifi classic and a must read!)
  • The Colour of Magic by Terry Prattchet (an absolute mess; avoid)
  • A Canticle by Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
  • The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor by Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga (a must read for fans of the graphic novels and tv show)
  • Feed by Mira Grant (really great Zombie novel! highly recommended)
  • Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) by Jerome Jerome
  • Deadline by Mira Grant (book 2 in series; not as good as first but still worth reading)
  • Blackout by Mira Grant (book 3 in series; also not as good as first; a fairly unsatisfying resolution)
  • The Weirdstone of Brisngamon by Alan Garner (501 selection from a kids series; I'll be checking out other books from this series in 2013)
  • At the Back of the Northwind by George MacDonald (super long poetry sections but a great, melancholic little read)
  • Falling Backwards by Jann Arden
  • My Left Foot by Christy Brown
  • The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter (great little short story with a classic gothic horror feel)
  • The Tin Drum by Gunter Grass (a 501 read; hard to get into but a very interesting story)
  • The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (it is always interesting to read a book when you know the movie so well; the book is fantastic in so many ways and goes much beyond what the movie actually covers; highly recommended)
  • Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder (a wonderful introduction to Philosophy; highly recommended)
  • I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (the film is only one of the short stories contained in this book; highly recommended)
  • Necroscope by Brian Lumley (really neat read; modern spy meets fantasty/vampire novel; definitely recommended)
  • Bobcat and Other Stories by Rebecca Lee (sad but wonderful short stories; highly recommended)
  • The Man Who Was Thursday by G.K. Chesterton (didn't really do it for me)
  • Khai of Khem by Brain Lumley (bizarre interpretation of ancient Egypt; I usually love me some pseudoscience/pseudoarchaeology but this one just didn't do it for me)
  • Fear and Loathing at Rolling Stone: The Essential Writings of Hunter S. Thompson (I love HST, and really enjoyed this retrospective of most of the pieces he wrote for Rolling Stone; highly recommended)
  • To The Lighthouse by Virginia Woolfe (I really struggled with this one; not my cup of tea)
  • The Laughing Policeman by Sjowall and Wahloo (I enjoyed this one; recommended)
  • Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer (I've never seen the film and really enjoyed this book)
  • Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card (highly recommended; a fantastic read)
  • My Journey to Lhasa by Alexandra David-Neel (another fascinating book about travel in Tibet; a great read)
  • A Nation Worth Ranting About by Rick Mercer (I love the Rick Mercer Report and love his rants; this is a must read for any Canadian)
  • Great With Child: Letters to a Young Mother by Beth Ann Fennelly (I wish I had read this when all my friends were having their first child as it is a must read for any woman expecting her first child; it is just so lovely; highly recommended)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (really spoke to me and my generation; a must read; highly recommended - and another film I'll have to check out)
  • Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil (Man Booker Prize selection; not your typical life in Bombay novel; serious readers only)
  • 1982 by Jian Ghomeshi (I became a fan of "Q" when living in Vernon so decided to check out this novel; a not bad debut novel; a little repetitive so wouldn't recommend reading it all in one sitting as I did)
  • The Voluntourist by Ken Budd (highly recommended; a great motivational read to end one year and begin the next)

I got a whole stack of books for Christmas, and a really promising list for our book club so it looks like 2013 will be another great year of reading. I've already started our January book club pick - Victor Hugo's Les Miserables - and have a Lovecraft compendium going on my Kobo. As always I'm always looking for recommendations so let me know what your best reads of 2012 are by commenting.

1 comment:

  1. You have some great books on your list. Many of which I also enjoyed. I suggest:

    How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran (funny non-fiction)

    Crocodile on the Sandbank (Amelia Peabody, Book 1) by Elizabeth Peters (I didn't read the first book this year, but you need to if you haven't. Archaeology Mysteries)

    The Girl in the Steel Corset (Steampunk Chronicles) Kady Cross (First full length novel in the Strange Case of Finnley Jane series. Not as good as the short story, but still interesting)

    Thirteen Orphans by Jane Lindskold (Chinese mythology based magic. I read a later book in the series this year, but you need to start at the beginning)