Regular readers of this blog will note that I haven’t been updating nearly as frequently in 2012. Starting a new (second) job will do that to a person, I’m afraid, not to mention that it cut into my reading time and limited me largely to what I could read on my various commutes. That being said, I still managed to read 96 titles.
The majority of this accomplishment was from reading through the entirety of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, including the supplementary ‘between the numbers’ novels. Hey, they’re cheesy fun, and good for train rides, even if the schtick is getting tired and I wish Stephanie would just commit to one of the men in her life.
I ended up starting a few series that I didn’t know were series: Pittacus Lore’s Lorian Legacy series (with I Am Number Four) and Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl’s Caster Chronicles (that’s what Goodreads told me it was called; with Beautiful Creatures). I may or may not read the next book in the latter, though I thought it held up okay as a solo effort; meanwhile, I was bored with the first (though it was one of those books that clearly set itself up as a series) and probably would never touch them again. I also started Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series (with City of Bones) on recommendation, which I enjoyed and will read more of, but did not love.
As far as finishing things went, I got through both Crossed and Reached from Ally Condie’s Matched series, and I say “got through” largely because I found them kind of dull and semi-confusing. The latter is my own fault; I don’t think I was paying enough attention through the first novel.
I of course accomplished my yearly re-read of Daniel Handler’s The Basic Eight, but also started the year off right with his new YA novel, Why We Broke Up. Come October, he released the first of the All the Wrong Questions quartet, which is designed to be a prequel to the Series of Unfortunate Events. I liked Why We Broke Up better, but Who Could That Be At This Hour? is more in the noir style, which isn’t my bag, and I felt that it wasn’t nearly as Handler-stylized as I was expecting. Oh well.
More favorites from the year: in the realm of fiction, I fell in love with The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (apologies to the friend upon whom I thrust this book during the holidays. Only not really). A fantastic, old-school fairytale in the classic Wonderland and Oz visiting realm, where a spunky girl makes her way to and through Fairyland, meets fantastical creatures, learns some magic, eats some fruit, changes some lives, and gets involved in a little political intrigue, as you do. Nonstop fun. There was also Christopher Moore’s Sacre Bleu, which is probably his second-best novel (after Lamb, of course), an equally fantastical story about why all of the painters in nineteenth century France were quite so crazy. It’s not on the same level of dick humor as some of Moore’s previous novels, so if you’re going into it for that, you’ll probably be disappointed, but if you want to visit one of Moore’s absurd realities, in the vein of Jesus’s wacky best friend, or Lear’s sex-crazed dark jester, or a man who wakes up and realizes he might be Death, Sacre Bleu is creative, fascinating, meticulously researched, and fun as hell.
I didn’t read much nonfiction this year, but I did enjoy John Taylor (of Duran Duran fame)’s autobiography, In the Pleasure Groove. While it teasingly glossed over some of the more sordid details of the band’s millennium reunion, it was still educational in its entertainment, and John’s gentle writing was a nice counterpoint to guitarist Andy Taylor’s semi-harsh 2008 autobio, Wild Boy. (When Simon Lebon writes a book, I will be first in line for whatever whimsical nonsense will follow.)
Books I hated were Eve & Adam by Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate, and You Have Seven Messages by Stewart Lewis. It was generally a pretty good year for not hating things. Which, let’s be honest, is not an easy thing for me.
Happy new year and happy reading!