The Year in Review: Books!

Now that we’ve reached 2013 – without the world ending and everything – I wanted to post about the books that I read in 2012. I took part in the GoodReads Reading Challenge to try and read a set goal of books over the year as I’d really felt like I wasn’t reading as much as I used to, and I love reading.

I originally set the challenge figure at something like thirty books, as I started properly in April after finally sorting out and getting into the habit of using my local library more (free books are awesome!), but I soon upped it to sixty. I beat the goal in the end, reading sixty four books last year. I read some great ones…and some not so great ones.

One of the first notable reads of the year was My Secret Garden, which was a fun and not to be taken too seriously book about fantasy and female desire. I’ve already written a bit about this book here, so I’ll not go into further detail.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (and it’s sequels The Girl Who Played with Fire and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest) were actually one of the first books I took out from my local library in the end. I really enjoyed them overall, and I actually meant to write a bit about them, and about the movie adaptations after having now seen both. We’ll just have to see if I get around to it. I’d definitely recommend giving these books a go.

I still have a huge soft spot for Terry Pratchett, and despite having read a lot of his books already, I did read a few during 2012. Mort, Witches Abroad, Wintersmith, and I Shall Wear Midnight. I really enjoy a lot of the books about Discworld’s witches. They’re very fun, and interesting.

I also read a lot of Agatha Christie this year. I’d never really read a lot of them before, and had always meant to. I read fourteen different ones in the end, they take up quite a lot of room on the list so I won’t bother listing them all. My favourites by far were Sparkling Cyanide – which was very fun, as well as And Then There Were None – which I thought was a pretty interesting challenge to figure out a way for all ten stranded inhabitants of an island to plausibly die. All of the Christie books were pretty light reading, and very enjoyable.

I did get around to finally reading all of the Fifty Shades Trilogy. I would say the first one was probably the most enjoyable…but not enjoyable because it’s good. The writing is hilariously awful in a way that apparently only fan-fiction can manage. The second and third book in the set were actually much better written – which is good, but they are less fun for it. I’m not sure I’d really recommend reading them, in the end.

Towards the end of the year I started reading a lot of Fantasy and Sci-Fi – which is still one of my favourite genres by far. Unfortunately my nearest library building doesn’t stock a lot of it, so I have to wait for it to be ordered in from other libraries. I read Neuromancer, which was very cool. Game of Thrones, which turned out to be bloated and really, really derivative. And a series that I really recommend, The Nightside by Simon R. Green. I started the series with Into the Nightside, and loved it. Green writes both Fantasy and Sci fi, but I by far prefer his fantasy books. Read anything by him.

The last thing I wanted to talk about was The Casual Vacancy. This book pretty much wins the ‘Worst Book I Read in 2012’ award. To repost what I said on the GoodReads website:

“hundreds of pages of a whole bunch of miserable people being angry and miserable at each other. It feels very much like watching a terrible cheap soap show (like EastEnders, perhaps) – where the time has got to be filled with enough arguing, seething, crap attempts at sex, titillation, and painful accents. And with all that it’s still dull to read”

So…that’s what I read last year. You can look at the full list of books I read last year here. I’ll be doing the challenge again in 2013, and I’ve already taken three new books out of the library today to read. That’s it for now!

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