2012’s Fifty Book Challenge (A Retrospective)

Disclaimer: I started writing this blog roughly a year ago and never ended up finishing it due to pregnancy complications and the subsequent birth of our son, Everett. It’s been a crazy year, but I’m finally getting to a place where I think I will be able to blog consistently again. This is largely due to the fact that my wonderful mother-in-law has agreed to babysit for us on Tuesdays. This gives me a little free time to breath and also run approximately 1,000 errands. Still, a quiet hour at Starbucks is an amazing opportunity and I plan to take my free time seriously. I have books to read, cross-stitches to finish, curtains to hem, and things to say. And this platform seems like the way to go. I love those beautiful journals for writing down your thoughts, but to be honest, my handwriting is shit. And although my spelling has greatly improved over the years, I still rely heavily on autocorrect. Plus I’m a sharer. Ok, I’m an over-sharer. Sorry folks. Just wanted to let you know what you were getting into.

So without further ado, here are my thoughts on the books I read over a year ago. Next week I plan on writing a list and review for 2013, which will be much shorter as I only read about 10 books last year. The rest of the blog has been slightly modified from it’s original writing so that it makes present-sense.

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This past year I’ve learned quite a bit about myself and my reading habits. I’ve discovered that nausea is not conducive to reading. Prior to experiencing an extended stint of hyperemesis gravidarum (beginning in August and continuing until the day my son was born), I read forty-eight books. After I started feeling the need to vomit on a regular basis, I read just four. I believe I was well on my way to an all-time reading record for the year, but alas, we will never know.

Also, I’ve discovered that I may have a commitment problem. Here are the books that I tried to read in 2012, many of which I am well over a third of the way through:

1. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, Susanna Clark

2. Changless, Gail Carriger

3. Under the Vale and Other Tales from Valdemar, Mercedes Lackey

4. The Sagan Diary, John Scalzi

5. Hyperion, Dan Simmons

6. The Blinding Knife, Brent Weeks

7. The Gunslinger, Stephen King

8. American Gods, Neil Gaiman

9. Cryptonomicon, Neal Stephenson

10. Tigana, Guy Gavriel Kay

11. Kushiel’s Scion, Jacqueline Carey

12. The City and The City, Chine Mieville

Wow. So that’s a little depressing. Also, when I look at this list I realize that I haven’t even “lemed” any of them. I’ve enjoyed each to varying degrees and have a bunch of weird reasons for not finishing. For example, the Brent Weeks book was  borrowed from the library the week it was released. I couldn’t finish it in my two week allotment, but because it was new I wasn’t allowed to renew it. Then I got caught up with a bunch of other books and haven’t had the time to take it out again. Kushiel’s Scion was awesome, but I picked that one up at a used book store. Some of the pages were a little grotty. Apparently it was so good that the previous owner couldn’t put it down… even to eat. When the morning sickness hit, it became untenable. Back to my shelf it went.

Another thing that has changed my reading habits is my participation in Felicia Day’s Vaginal Fantasy Hangout. I’ve talked about this a little through Facebook, but it really has opened my eyes to an entire new genre of fiction. I always thought that romance had to be silly or unintelligent, but there’s a whole sub-genre of romance that I’m discovering is a lot of fun. Now I’m not purporting that all Paranormal Romance is written for rocket scientists, but there were some novels that I read for the book club that were really smart and thought provoking and also fulfilled my need for a little fantasy (which is my genre of choice). Also, it was really nice to read books with female protagonists. In fact, forty-seven out of the fifty-two books that I read in 2012 either had females as the main protagonist or had female first person perspective in a multi-perspective narrative. This is compared to the previous year where only twenty-seven out of fifty met this criteria. The idea of reading female-centric books was not one that I intentionally made, but I find it interesting nonetheless.

So, without further ado, here are the books in 2012 (mostly in order):

1. The Paris Wife, Paula McLain

2. The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party, Alexander McCall Smith

3. Crossed, Ally Condie

4. The Laughing Corpse, Laurell K Hamilton

5. Bloody Bones, Laurell K Hamilton

6. The Black Prism, Brent Weeks

7. Beyond the Shadows, Brent Weeks

8. Circus of the Damned, Laurell K Hamilton

9. The Lunatic Cafe, Laurell K Hamilton

10. Burnt Offerings, Laurell K Hamilton

11. The Killing Dance, Laurell K Hamilton

12. Blue Moon, Laurell K Hamilton

13. Obsidian Butterfly, Laurell K Hamilton

14. Bluebeard, Kurt Vonnegut

15. The Nerdist Way, Chris Hardwick

16. Dragonsong, Anne McCaffrey

17. An Uncommon Reader, Amos Henry Hawley

18. If I Stay, Gayle Forman

19. Dragonsinger, Anne McCaffrey

20. Dragondrums, Anne McCaffrey

21. Rosemary and Rue, Seanan McGuire

22. The Iron Duke, Meljean Brook

23. A Local Habitation, Seanan McGuire

24. The Walking Dead, Vol. 1, Robert Kirkman

25. Girl Genius, Vol. 1, Phil Foglio

26. Gabriel’s Ghost, Linnea Sinclair

27. Grimspace, Ann Aguirre

28. Enclave, Ann Aguirre

29. Deadlocked, Charlaine Harris

30. Redshirts, John Scalzi

31. Demon Angel, Meljean Brook

32. The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection, Alexander McCall Smith

33. Kushiel’s Dart, Jacqueline Carey

34. Desperate Duchesses, Eloisa James

35. Daughter of the Blood, Ann Bishop

36. Heir to the Shadows, Ann Bishop

37. Queen of the Darkness, Ann Bishop

38. Kushiel’s Chosen, Jacqueline Carey

39. Kushiel’s Avatar, Jacqueline Carey

40. An Affair Before Christmas, Eloisa James

41. Duchess by Night, Eloisa James

42. Ill Wind, Rachel Caine

43. Feed, Mira Grant

44. Moon Called, Patricia Briggs

45. A Bone to Pick, Charlaine Harris

46. When the Duke Returns, Eloisa James

47. The Magician King, Lev Grossman

48. Wanderlust, Ann Aguirre

49. Double Blind, Ann Aguirre

50. Cold Days, Jim Butcher

51. This Duchess of Mine, Eloisa James

There are lots of things that I could write about each of these novels. Some I enjoyed more than others, but overall I found 2012 to be a very enjoyable year for reading. Many of these books are part of a series. Perhaps when I complete a series (or at least catch up) I will write a blog for each. Let me know if you would be interested in reading something like that in the comments section below.

I have lots of ideas for  blogs, and intend to post minimally each Tuesday. I’m hoping to sneak a couple more posts in per week, but we’ll see how my health/energy holds. There are lots of things that I want to talk about: motherhood, my experiences with fostering, projects I’m working on, my breast reduction, dealing with social security, living with the fact that I had cancer, my secret aspirations to someday to standup… Hopefully you will enjoy reading about my crazy life and the myriad of experiences and nerdy things I love. Till next time 🙂

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