2012 was the year my boyfriend read more than 120 books - not including re-reads. I read 80 books - a vast increase on 2011's 45 books, 2010's 21 and 2009's 38 . I wish I could say it also meant a huge increase in quality, but 2012 was a year of reading low-brow, easily-digested genre literature. My Kindle had something to do with this: it became far too easy to grab yet another regency romance when I found myself in need of distraction. And so I read books called things like The Wicked Wyckerly, Mad About the Duke, Surrender to a Wicked Spy and so forth. I remember very little about most of these books. So easy to read, so easy to forget. Writing about the best books I read in 2012 is easy. There weren't that many.
Lionel Shriver's We Need To Talk About Kevin was fantastic. I also really liked an anthology called Justified Sinner: An Archaeology of Scottish Counter-Culture which looked at radical arts & literature in Scotland from the 1960s onwards. It's a niche publication but definitely my sort of niche.
I did have a handful of decent reads - mostly regencies like Loretta Chase's Miss Wonderful which was a thoughtful, well-researched look at the impact of the Industrial Revolution upon rural Derbyshire post-Waterloo. It was also a look at what warfare does to the human psyche. It veered closer to traditional romance territory in the second half, but even so it remained psychologically convincing. Sherry Thomas' Ravishing the Heiress was beautifully cynical and almost uncomfortable to read.
But there were far too many forgettable, formulaic books in my reading year. The few times I read non-regencies, I didn't like the books much due to poor choices on my part.
I have a plan, though. And that plan is called "my bookshelves". I have so many books that I genuinely want to read:
From the bottom up:
- Andrew Drummond's Volapük - An Abridged History which appears to combine many of my favourite literary topics (Scottish literature, universal languages, Sir Thomas Urquhart and lunacy).
- Jasper Fforde's The Woman Who Died A Lot. The seventh book in the Thursday Next series. We met him in 2012 and I turned into a puddle of fangirl goo despite myself.
- AS Byatt's Ragnarok. One of my all-time favourite novelists reworking Norse mythology. Why haven't I read this already?
- Margaret Atwood's The Year of the Flood. Her Oryx & Crake was one of my novels of the last decade. Why haven't I read the sequel yet? Why?
- Carol Birch's Jamrach's Menagerie. I found this on the kitchen table, cornered the boyfriend and accused him of keeping an interesting sounding book away from me. Apparently I bought this for myself for my 2012 birthday..
- Anne Brontë's The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Because I have read Charlotte and I have read Emily. And I'm a sucker for 19th century melodrama Brontë-style.
Finally, and not shown in the photo because I bought it for my Kindle, Keith Ridgway's Hawthorn & Child. The novel has been making serious waves among book bloggers and publishers - and since I used to move in those circles (before knitting took over my life) I am rather curious.
Care to see how much I am sticking to my plan? Want to exchange some book love? Why not catch up with me on GoodReads? One thing is sure: the only way is up..