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December 30, 2012

2012: My Year in Books

subject-to-changeFor the most part, my year in books was a good one, but somewhere around October, it all fell to pieces. I blame my own circumstances for this mostly, but it’s true that books this Fall didn’t spark my enthusiasm as those from the Spring had. There was a time in the spring when I was so on a roll, not sure that there wasn’t a book in the entire world that wasn’t wonderful. By October, I’d stopped keeping track of the books I was reading, deciding I didn’t care about that sort of record anymore, though when I came out of my first trimester stupour, I realized I did, and spent an anxious hour putting my whole list back together.

the-elizabeth-storiesI’ve already shared my books of the year. I’ve also read some poetry, though I never know how to talk about it here, so I don’t. Some of the best books I’ve read this year that weren’t new were Subject to Change by Renee Rodin, The House With the Broken Two by Myrl Coulter, So Beautiful by Ramona Dearing, Bilgewater by Jane Gardam and All the Anxious Girls on Earth by Zsuzsi Gartner. Like everybody, I loved Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl and How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. And the most amazing book I’ve read all year, the review that brought me more hits than any other I’ve ever written, Firebrand by Rosemary Aubert, “Loving the mayor is a bit like that”. Other notables of 2012 were Tanis Rideout’s Above All Things, Jo Walton’s Among Others, Kyo Maclear’s Stray Love, Noah Richler’s What We Talk About When We Talk About War, Alice Petersen’s All the Voices Cry, Zadie Smith’s NW, dee Hobswan Smith’s Foodshed: An Edible Alberta Alphabet, Sussex Drive by Linda Svendsen, Miranda Hill’s Sleeping Funny, and Daniel Griffin’s Stopping for Strangers. And Isabel Huggan, the very best thing I found all year. I loved her two short story collections so very much, and have her third book Belonging lined up for not so far into the future.

I did not succeed in my 2012 New Year’s Resolution, which was to finally finish reading John Cheever’s collected stories. I am beginning to think that “collected stories” volumes are not necessarily reader-friendly. Or maybe the problem is simply me.

petersenI’ve read 120 books this year so far, and may get two more in before the year is out, as I’m just about finished Ali Smith’s collection The First Person and Other Stories. 120 is less than I’ve read in years past, but then I’ve also been reading for work more than I ever have before. It has been a very busy year, bookwise, with less room to read for pleasure than I’ve ever known, what with the work stuff and the obsolescence of naptime, but then I also know that I’m lucky to be paid to read at all. And that I’ll probably be breastfeeding again in about six months time, which comes with its own agonies, but ample time to read (one-handedly, all night long [yawn]) is not one of them. I’ve also been too isolated in a Can-Lit bubble this year, and need to branch out beyond. In 2013, I plan to do something about that.

Anyway, long live books! Long live authors! Long live small Canadian presses, which publish most of the best stuff out there. I’ve spent the last two weeks reading indulgently, and it’s been a pleasure, reading for reading’s sake. The definition of holiday. And I’ve got some exciting books lined up for the new year–new Lisa Moore, new Kate Atkinson! Also getting around to the 2012 books I’ve been slow on–John Lanchester’s Capital, for one, and others. As ever, I am looking forward.

One thought on “2012: My Year in Books”

  1. Nathalie Foy says:

    New Kate Atkinson??

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