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2012 Book Summary

I seem to get around to this later and later every year. Last year it was late March; now it's mid-April. I'll try to be more on top of this (for my own sanity, if nothing else) next year.

  1. Amis, Martin — London Fields (471 pages)
  2. Morpurgo, Michael — War Horse (182 pages)
  3. Winterson, Jeanette — Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit (177 pages)
  4. Robinson, Bruce — Paranoia in the Launderette (43 pages)
  5. Carter, Angela — Heroes and Villains (152 pages)
  6. Burroughs, Edgar Rice — A Princess of Mars (209 pages)
  7. Hill, Susan — The Woman in Black (152 pages)
  8. Fowler, Karen Joy — Sarah Canary (293 pages)
  9. Rennison, Nick — 100 Must-Read Prize Winning Novels (174 pages)
  10. Beresford, David — Ten Men Dead (426 pages)
  11. Freedland, Jonathan — Bring Home the Revolution: The Case for a British Republic (245 pages)
  12. Kierkegaard, Søren — Fear and Trembling (150 pages)
  13. Nothomb, Amélie — Fear and Trembling (132 pages)
  14. Delany, Samuel R. — Babel-17 (194 pages)
  15. Raine, Craig — History: The Home Movie (335 pages)
  16. du Maurier, Daphne — Jamaica Inn (312 pages)
  17. Kurlansky, Mark — The Basque History of the World (361 pages)
  18. Allin, Michael — Zarafa (204 pages)
  19. Cain, James M. — The Postman Always Rings Twice (116 pages)
  20. Brin, David — The Postman (324 pages)
  21. Skármeta, Antonio — El cartero de Neruda (130 pages)
  22. Moers, Walter — The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear (698 pages)
  23. Shostakovich, Dmitri — Testimony (312 pages)
  24. Souders, Steve — High Performance Web Sites (145 pages)
  25. Skinner, Dave and Henry Paker — Don't Arm Wrestle a Pirate: 101 Really Bad Ideas (101 pages)
  26. Gaskell, Elizabeth — Lois the Witch and Other Stories (250 pages)
  27. Barber, Antonia and Nicola Bayley — The Mousehole Cat (17 pages)
  28. Strickland, Carol — The Annotated Mona Lisa: A Crash Course in Art History from Prehistoric to Post-Modern (195 pages)
  29. Stone, Irving — The Agony and the Ecstasy (324 of 763 pages)
Page count
6824

Although I set myself no book or page number goals last year, I am disappointed with how little I got read: 28½ books compared to 36 the year before, 6,824 pages compared to 10,152. I attribute that to the sheer amount of music I had to learn and memorise last year, especially the difficult modern Russian music that occupied me for months.

It's hard to pick a favourite from the list. Ask me another day and my answer may be different, but today I will say probably Sarah Canary or Babel-17. My least favourite was probably History: The Home Movie. I read several books that would normally be a shoe-in for most inluential (especially Ten Men Dead, Bring Home the Revolution, and The Basque History of the World) were it not for the enormous insight Testimony provided for my performances of Shostakovich this and last year, making it the clear winner.

Usually in this paragraph I list the number of unique authors and authors new to me, but since my goal last year was to read only new authors (besides the one exception of the Rennison book I had started before defining my goal) all but one of the authors were both unique and new to me. The longest book I finished (The 13½ Lives of Captain Bluebear) was 698 pages — The Agony and the Ecstasy was 763 pages, but I didn't finish it until 2013 — and the shortest (The Mousehole Cat) was 17 pages, with an average length per book of 232 pages if you don't count The Agony and the Ecstasy or 235 pages if you do.

While I hope to increase the amount of reading I do in 2013, the only reading goals I am setting myself are (1) to read at least two series — this could be as modest as a two-volume series or something more ambitious like Ian M. Banks' Culture novels or George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire — and (2) to read at least one foreign-language book.

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