Where I spray-paint my thoughts…

A Year of Books


Every year has its highs and lows, its ups and downs. I think of 2009 as being one of my most productive years as a writer, and 2011 as being one of my most emotionally difficult years, and 1998 as the year that saw the most changes for me … et cetera. I’m not sure how, once time has passed and everything is put into perspective, I will remember 2012. But I know that the one thing that stands out as we enter the last month of this year is: 2012 was one of the best years ever in terms of the books I read.

This is not an insignificant detail. It’s not like saying (for me) “I had some of the best hamburgers I’ve ever had in 2012,” or “2012 was the year I wore the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn.” Those things would be nice but unremarkable. Saying I read more good books in 2012 than I’ve ever read in a year is like saying 2011 was the year we went to Europe or 2008 was the year we went to Australia. Reading is one of the most important things in my life, so a year of exceptionally good books is not to be minimized.

Last year I read a lot of books, but I didn’t read a whole lot that I truly, madly, deeply fell in love with. Maybe that’s why I remember 2011 as a tough year — not because some bad stuff happened but because I didn’t have enough good books to distract me. At the end of the year, when I made up the Top Ten Books list that I always make on my book blog, Compulsive Overreader, while it had some great books on it, I found myself scrambling through the year’s reads to try to pick ten that I’d really loved.

This year I have the opposite problem. Even though 2012 is not quite over and I still have a few books I’m in the middle of, there have been so many books this year that I absolutely adored that I’m pretty sure it will be nearly impossible to pare it down to a Top Ten list. I’m considering, for the first time ever, making two lists: my top ten fiction and my top ten non-fiction books. Yes, it’s been that good a year for reading.

As always, when the list comes out, I’ll be giving away a few of my favourite books. This year, I think I’ll also be incorporating some video reviews, due to my newfound love for my YouTube channel. So, stay tuned for updates, and if you also love reading, please check out the book reviews — I’m almost up to date; I’ve read two books since my last update that I still need to write reviews of. The latest review is of J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy, which I enjoyed more more than I expected to (although “enjoyed” may not be quite the right word as it was a bit shattering).

Meanwhile, while I’m compiling my list: what are the best books you’ve read this year?


4 thoughts on “A Year of Books

  1. Hmmm. So many this year. I loved The Rules of Civility and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. Also Whirl Away knocked me out.

  2. LOVED Maphead: Charting the Wide, Weird World of Geography Wonks by Ken Jennings.

    -Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick
    -Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
    -It’s So Easy: and other lies by Duff McKagen (of Guns N Roses)
    -The Last American Man by Elizabeth Gilbert
    -The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks by Kathleen Flinn
    -The Lies of Sarah Palin: The Untold Story Behind Her Relentless Quest for Power by Geoffrey Dunn
    -The Last Season by Eric Blehm

    -Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
    -Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
    -all of the Mickey Haller/Lincoln Lawyer books by Michael Connelly (there are three so far, I read them all back to back in one long sun-soaked humid Florida vacation and can’t remember which is which)

  3. Bobbi, I agree about Harold Fry; that’s definitely going to be on my Top 10 list this year. Rules of Civility was on my to-read list for awhile but I didn’t get around to it; I’ll keep your recommendation in mind.

    seenonflickr, I haven’t read any of the books on your list! I would definitely read Maphead because Ken Jennings amuses me.

    I’m sure you can see that my ulterior motive in asking this question was to get some new books to add to my list for 2013 in hopes it will be another great year of books!

  4. Too Close to the Falls by Catherine Gildiner. This is a memoir of a young precocious girl growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in upstate New York. Her antics had me laughing out loud as they resonated with my own experiences. There is also a more somber follow up book called After the Falls.

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