We’re coming up on the end of the year, and I think it’s a good time to look back at my reading in 2012! I don’t expect my favorite (and least favorite) books to change too much in the next few days. My total reads this year comes in at 182, with possibly two more if I finish the books I’m midway through right now. I’m calling that a good year in reading…
From that list, here are the ups and downs of my last twelve months of books. Links go to my reviews.
1) Best Book – This is in some ways an easy question this year. My favorite book all year was The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente. Its only serious competition is its own sequel, The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There. These are both beautifully written books with wonderful characters, vivid worlds, and fun nods back to classic children’s fantasy, which I also love.
This was an easy question because I try to select from new reads. But I would be remiss if I didn’t also mention that I reread some of my absolute favorite ever (ever) books this year: The Little White Bird by J. M. Barrie, Susan Kay’s Phantom, and The Song of the Lioness quartet by Tamora Pierce.
2) Worst Book – I must have had a good year, because I don’t have a clear frontrunner (backrunner?) for this one. I’m going to have to say Wicked by Gregory Maguire, even though it was a reread. It was my book club’s selection, and I was hoping to like it better on a second read-through. I didn’t. I did have a wonderful time discussing it, though.
3) Most Disappointing Book – This one could have been the worst book, but it’s a better fit for this slot instead: Star Trek: The Price of the Phoenix by Sondra Marshak and Myrna Culbreath. They edited two excellent collections of Star Trek short stories, and the plotline looked good. I have a weakness for storylines about characters apparently dead then returning, and this centered on Kirk doing exactly that. But…it wound up feeling like the reader was thrown in mid-story and, a much bigger problem, there was something just off about the portrayal of both Kirk and Spock. Spock gets upset with the villain and snarls. I kid you not. There was one very good McCoy moment when Kirk turns up alive, but otherwise this flopped.
4) Most Surprising (in a Good Way) – I’m going to say the Bloody Jack audiobook, by L. A. Meyer and read by Katherine Kellgren. It wasn’t the book that was surprising, or even how good it was (I expected that) but how much I ended up really liking audiobooks in general, when I’d resisted for a long time!
5) Most Unlikely Read – Now and then I read something quite different than my usual fare. One possibility is The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz, since I so rarely read nonfiction. But I think even odder was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, though that was the fault of my book club.
6) Most Satisfying Read – Legacy by Susan Kay. Not the best book of the year, not even a contender…but it gives me an immense feeling of satisfaction to know that I’ve finally read the only other book by the author of my favorite book. And it’s a 600 page, heavily historical novel. There’s some satisfaction just in finishing!
7) Best Series Discovered – I’ve been fighting very hard not to start series this year… Fairyland is the obvious answer, but since it was the answer to #1, let’s say The Magicians and Mrs. Quent by Galen Beckett. Jane Eyre meets Pride and Prejudice meets fantasy!
8) Most Hilarious Read – As usual, this goes to Terry Pratchett (for the third year!) Of the several I read, I’ll give it to Wyrd Sisters, mostly for the scenes involving Death.
9) Can’t Believe I Waited Until 2012 to Read It – Since I spent the year trying to finish series, there are a number of candidates here. I’m giving it to books 2 and 3 of the Lando Calrissian trilogy, considering until I picked them up, I vaguely thought I had already read them!
10) Most Looking Forward To in 2013 – Easy. Fairyland 3, which I certainly hope will be out some time in 2013. 🙂
What were your best or worst of 2012? Or feel free to answer any of the other questions!