Saturday, December 29, 2012

Wrapping Up 2012

Well I've just made my first batch of cookie dough with my new Kitchenaid mixer, and it's chilling in the fridge for at least an hour, so I thought I'd go ahead and put together my year end post! Ahead of time, please excuse any wonkyness in this post as I have the head cold from head and have tried just about every medication I can think of at this point to alleviate it's symptoms. Before we get into the statistics and best books, a couple of announcements first!

I joined Postcrossing recently as a result of Kelly's having so much fun with it and started a separate blog just dedicated to collecting and trading postcards. I doubt many will have an interest in that, but if you do, here's the link for that blog!

I had no plans for New Years Eve this year and saw on Becky's blog that she's planning on joining in on a New Years Eve Readathon! So I figured what the hell, I think I'll unofficially join in as well and try to get a few more books in this year under the wire since my numbers are so pitiful :p Come join in if you want!

And finally, before we get to stats, I wanted to talk about two things I'm really looking forward to in January!! One is Ana and Iris' Long Awaited Reads Month which isn't a challenge, but just a month where you spend reading all those books that you keep saying "I REALLY need to read that" and then realize you've been saying that for like four years...yeah those books. You spend all of January reading those! I'm SO excited about this :D And I'm going to try to combine it at least somewhat with Carl's annual Sci-Fi Experience!!! Should be loads of fun :D onto the year in review. So 2012. Oh how you sucked ass when it came to reading. Seriously. Well...I should say the quantity sucked. The quality most definitely did not as I read a few permanent favorites this year. If you go back and read my 2012 Personally post, you'll see that it was quite the busy year for me which basically just left me distracted a lot and unable to focus on books much. As of now, I've read 60 books. And as small as a number as that seems (for me at least) I still need to realize that it's still more than a book a week! So I'm happy with it. I'm also happy with my blogging this year even though I know it could've been better. I let up on myself a lot as far as blogging pressure. I posted when I wanted to post and when I felt like I had something to write about and that made the blogging experience much more enjoyable this year :) So without further ado, and with sticking to tradition of never being able to narrow it down to ten books, here are my top TWELVE favorite books of 2012 in no particular order except for order read (Links go to my full reviews):

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - Few authors portray human connections as precisely as John Green in my opinion, especially in the way that John Green does. There's absolute beauty and irony in his writing while at the same time moments that will make you weep the pages away. This one got to me more than any of his other books and I think it's become my new favorite of his.

Pink Smog by Francesca Lia Block - This was a book that I was SO excited about and I was so afraid that I'd be let down by it, but the complete opposite happened. I fell in love with it even more than I expected and it's only grown on me since. It's a sort of prequel to the Weetzie Bat books and gives us a glimpse of Weetzie as a teenager as she becomes the woman we know. It's a beautiful, hazy, melancholy sort of book.

I'll Get There. It Better Be Worth the Trip by John Donovan - This early LGBT book isn't FULL of the gay, but it's a beautiful and heartfelt coming of age story that had me from page one that wasn't afraid to challenge sexuality ideas in a time that they weren't being written about much in fiction. Such a wonderful book. So glad I read this one.

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey - Ok, so if I WERE ranking my books that I read this year, this would probably be in the top three. This book just enchanted the hell out of me. The writing captivated me, the Alaskan winter was magical and unsettling, the fairy tale aspects beautiful and harsh. It was just everything I could possibly want in a novel. I want MORE.

One Girl Cookies by Dawn Casole and David Crofton - Are you sick of me talking about this book yet? I think I've mentioned it at LEAST once a month since reading it, but seriously. Best. Cookbook. Ever. I haven't had a single bad recipe out of this cookbook yet and I've discovered my favorite cookie in the world as a result of it. Orange Butter Drops. OMG HEAVEN!!! In fact, the cookies that are chilling in the fridge right now? Yep...from this book...oatmeal ginger cookies, only I kind of completely changed the recipe to suit what I had here :p So we now have oatmeal chocolate/white chocolate chip cookies about to be baked..oh and with half vanilla/half almond extract because I ran out of vanilla...these should be interesting :p

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz - I felt like I knew these characters personally by the end of this book. I was so invested in their stories and I had come to love them. Yet another absolutely beautiful book and one of the most heart rendering stories I've read in a long time. I'll keep this one with me for a long time.

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Finn - This is one book that I think that EVERYONE should read!! I've learned so much from it and it really has changed the way I cook, the way I eat, the way I look at food and the way I buy food. And it was such an entertaining book too! Really fantastic read. I love when I walk away from a book learning tons and enjoy doing it in the process.

The Land of Laughs by Jonathan Carroll - AMAZING. Can I just leave it at that? It's rare that you read a book and automatically put an author on your favorites list from one book, but that's exactly what I did after this one. It was just so good!!! And I've enjoyed everything I've read by him since. This is seriously one you need to get your hands on and if you do, I highly recommend the Neil Gaiman Presents audio version that I listened to!

Labor Day by Joyce Maynard - I could also call this book "surprise of the year". This was a book I picked up as a "guilty pleasure" type of read...a stereotype I should be trying to break, I know. But it wasn't my normal type of read. I ended up falling in love with the book! And it's characters too! Really great little story.

Every Day by David Levithan - You know, David Levithan blows my freaking mind with every book he writes. He comes up with some of the most unique and beautiful ideas and I can't fathom where he grabs these ideas from. But I'm glad that he finds them! This book was just....just read it if you haven't ok? Like right now.

The Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan - Margo. Lanagan. Queen of taking myth and faerie tales and turning them into some of the most captivating and beautiful writing that's out there today, with this book certainly being no exception. So very different from Tender Morsels, but just as good. I literally could not put this book down and read it in one sitting.

Tell the Wolves I'm Home by Carol Rifka Brunt - So maybe it's the cough medicine, but I just teared up writing the title to that book. Sheesh. Favorite book of the year. And it's a debut novel. I cannot wait to see what else is to come from Ms. Brunt. This book was absolutely heartbreaking and so healing all at the same time. And she taps into the human experience like very few authors are able to. At least the human experience how *I* experience life. I wish everyone would read this book.

Total Books Read For the Year: 62 (Down 8 from last year)
Total Pages Read this Year: 14,140 (Down 4,220 pages from last year!)
Comics/Graphic Novels: 4 (Down 11 from last year!! I need to catch up on my GN reading!)
Non-Fiction: 15 (Up NINE from last year!! That's a good thing!)
Short Story Collections/Essays/Anthologies: 7 (Up 2 from last year)
Poetry: 5 (up 3 from last year)
LGBT Themed Books: 9 (down 7 from last year)
Written by Women:28 (these numbers still aren't as balanced as I'd like but getting closer!)
Written by Men: 36
Chunksters (450+ pages): 2 (HAHAHAHAHA)
Average Number of Pages Per Book: 234 pages (down 28 pages)

So overall, I'm reading slightly shorter books, slower than last year...I'm reading more female authors than last year, reading more non-fic and poetry than last year, and less comics and lgbt fic. That last part is the only part that's bothersome to me...I need MORE comics and lgbt fic!!! Ok...good things to keep into account going into 2013!

Phew! That's it!! Might sneak a few more in by the end of the year and update this post, but it's also possible that it'll remain at this. Have you read any of my top 12? Have they made your top whatever lists?


Beth F said...

My biggest failure this year was not keeping stats. I haven't even updated my review index since May! I plan to slowly get everything up to day and start keeping better track again.

Anyway - great list! And thanks for reminding me again that I must get One Girl Cookies by Dawn Casole and David Crofton. Seriously, how is it that this isn't on my shelves?

Debi said...

I'd be happy if those were my stats! I read more books, but overall I don't think my reading was as balanced as yours nor as rewarding. However, the two books I have read from your top 12 list (The Fault and Aristotle & Dante) were definitely among my favorites!!!

Ana @ things mean a lot said...

Guess who's started The Snow Child? :D

Daphne said...

I am shocked at my low number of books this year -- 43 if I count some of the unfinished books I'm still working on... but it was a rough year and I had a lot going on, so I'm going to be easy on myself and say yay! I read over 40 books! :)

DesLily said...

I read one book less then you did this year..I always consider it good if I can say I read at least one book a week.. I am as far from a speed reader as anyone can get and I read a number of chunksters this year..but I am glad for those I read and I don't remember the names of them but I set two books aside this year after reading 1 or 2 hundred pages each..(boring! lol)
The only reason I keep tabs is so I can make the end of year post LOL...

I think you did just fine! It's not a race long as we read, no matter how slowly, we do just fine!

I hope 2013 is a fantastic year for you !!

Susan said...

I am waiting for The Fault is In Our Stars to come out in softcover, and it feels like FOREVER and it's still not out! AAAAGH! I know I'm going to like this book, and I want to read it! lol

Same with Margo Lanagan, can you believe how long we had to wait to get it here in Canada? Next fall it's in softcover! Another book I am impatient to read.

I can happily say I read Land of Laughs many years ago (you already know this!) and loved it. You've made me realize its' due for a reread, and I am horrified to find it's not on my shelves now :-( I am so glad you loved it instantly. It's such a cool interesting and moving fantasy, very different from so much out there.

I want the Kitchen Counter Cooking School now! and I might have to try to find the cookie book, AND I want to read The SNow Child - again, when is the softcover coming?????? I wish my back were better so I could get them in hardcover!

You had a fabulous reading year, Chris - geez, that you managed to read 60 books while moving out, moving in, breaking up, and caring for your dad, is a miracle.

Happy 2013 and may you find it's full of good books and reading, reading, reading, my friend :-)

Darren @ Bart's Bookshelf said...

The Snow Child and The Fault in Our Stars both made my list as well. I'm hopeful that Tell The Wolves… will make my 2013 list from everything I've heard about it.

Kailana said...

yay!!! I am so happy you are doing postcrossing with me. I am sure you will surpass me because US mail travels a bit faster than Canadian. Happy reading in 2013!

Carl V. said...

You still managed to crank out more than me this year, so well done!

Land of Laughs is a great one, my first experience with Jonathan Carroll and bought solely because of a Gaiman quote on the cover. So glad he did so as I've enjoyed other Carroll books since. Some day I'll have to re-read it via the audio book.

Snow Child is on my list. It has been since I saw the eye-catching cover in the bookstore but you and others also gushed about it and that cemented it on the list.

Very happy that you are joining in the Sci Fi Experience, Chris. Thanks for always been such a supportive part of these events.

Wish you all the best in your reading new year and I hope at the end of 2013 you look back and are fully satisfied with a year well read. said...

I received The Snow Child as a gift this December! And Brides of Rollrock Island is actually on my list for Long-Awaiting Reads Month. I know, I know, it's only been out for one year, but I have been very eagerly awaiting the book, I hope that counts :P

I'm so happy to see you excited about January! I am right there with you. Happy 2013 :)

Melanie said...

You did fine. i try to remember that like 20% of Americans didn't read any books last year and the average books read per person is like 15. So pretty much every book blogger beats that! Plus you read Poetry and that should totally count for some extra! I should read some John Green but i bet Fault in our Stars will make me cry buckets...gotta find an upbeat one!

Trish said...

Kitchen Counter was one of my favorite reads of the year as well and a book I reference occasionally in the kitchen (I keep it in my pantry rather than bookshelf). And since reading it I can't tell you how many times I've roasted a whole chicken--something I'd NEVER done before reading!