2012 Book Roundup

I read 47 books this year, one up from last year but short of my annual goal of reading 52 books. I have to admit that stopping to review books slows down my reading pace, but if I don’t have any thoughts on a book I just read in the forest with nobody around, did I really read it? I definitely won’t remember that I did, anyway.

My top five this year was full of surprising discoveries, and my bottom five was full of surprising disappointments.

My top five for 2012:

1. Watership Down by Richard Adams
I thought I read this in university (I was certainly supposed to), but I have to wonder because you’d think I’d remember such a compelling adventure full of bunnies, grass, sunny fields, and a glorious mythology that has me looking at rabbits in a whole new light.

2. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
The last Jane Austen novel I hadn’t read, and what a strong finisher. Titillating, hilarious, and literary, and the main character is a beautifully drawn fellow introvert.

3. The Keeper Of The Isis Light by Monica Hughes
This book and Homecoming were two major childhood literary memories that came back to the surface this year when I received copies of them as gifts. Keeper Of The Isis Light makes the top five because it seems more likely to stand the test of time, if only because of its futuristic subject matter.

4. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
A surprising discovery recommended by a friend. If all fantasy novels were like this, I wouldn’t have been so surprised that I loved this. I passed along the recommendation to my sister-in-law and her interest took off, too.

5. The House Of All Sorts by Emily Carr
I never knew that the world-famous painter Emily Carr was also an author. Her raw creative talent is unbelievable. My aunt introduced me to this book, Emily Carr’s second, and I was blown away.


My bottom five for 2012:

1. Octavian Nothing: Traitor To The Nation Volume 1 by M.T. Anderson
I heard so many good reviews about this book, but it turned out to be pretty much one of the worst things I’ve ever read. Horribly inconstant and somehow Americans seem to forget what the Civil War was about and have to keep being reminded.

2. March by Geraldine Brooks
Geraldine Brooks decides to tell the story of Mr. March, the mostly absent father from Little Women. Unfortunately she completely changes his character, and Marmee’s too, and the story lacks any of the specialness of Louisa May Alcott’s works. Another book that had high praise, probably because it reminds forgetful Americans that the Civil War involved slavery, but I found bitterly disappointing.

3. A Handful Of Time by Kit Pearson
Normally I love Kit Pearson books, which is why I eagerly picked this up at a used book sale, but in this one she somehow manages to combine a summer cottage story with time travel and come out with boring.

4. Stuart Little by E.B. White
I thought I would be getting another Charlotte’s Web, instead I got a mouse with ADHD going on boring adventures when he’s supposed to be rescuing his lost friend. The sheer disappointment factor makes it seem even worse.

5. Klee Wyck by Emily Carr
Emily Carr has the distinction of having a book on both my top five list and my bottom five list this year. The sheer disappointment factor comes into play again after reading her powerhouse other work.