Looking back on 2012

Happy New Year!

I read 155 books in 2012, which was about the same as in a normal reading year. I finished two reading challenges, the always entertaining What's in a Name challenge, which I may repeat this year, and a personal challenge of finishing 50 books from my own library that I had not read before. The second challenge started out as a means to reduce the TBR part of my library below 600 books. Then I got around 20 books from my grandfather when he cut down his library in preparation for moving into a serviced apartment, and inherited nearly 90 books from my grandmother. Naturally, this upset the original challenge. This influx of books caused me to give up on the original goal and I decided to concentrate on finishing a certain number of TBR books rather than reducing the library down to a particular number.

The books that stood out for me in 2012 were wildly different from each other:
  • Just Kids by Patti Smith is an honest portrait of the relationship/friendship between her and photographer/artist Robert Mapplethorpe.
  • Fruits by Shoichi Aoki is a photographic celebration of Japanese teen fashion.
  • The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey is a beautifully written blend of personal memoir, philosophy and natural history.
Interestingly, they are all non-fiction.

All in all, it was a good reading year. Books gave me a temporary escape from the sorrow of watching my grandmother's health decline and temporary relief from the grief over her death. It's no accident that I have been seeking out books with guaranteed happy endings for most of the year and I expect that when I do my annual statistical analysis it will reveal a larger than usual number of romance novels. I did a lot of serial reading in that genre and went through all of the currently available books in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, the first seven Bar Cynster books by Stephanie Laurens, some of the Bridgerton books by Julia Quinn, a number of romance trilogies and the first three Cedar cove books by Debbie Macomber.


Those are three very different books. I like that.

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