You may recall that last year I set a goal for myself: read 100 books. And I did! As I mentioned in that post, I wouldn’t set the same goal for this year because it led to me reading crappy books I didn’t really want to read, or skimming the books I was reading. So this year, I didn’t really have a goal (I did set a goal on Goodreads for 30 books, but I knew I’d have no trouble with it).
And so, this year, I have read 62 books. That’s less than last year, and also less than 2009 or 2010 in which I read about 80 each year. However, it’s slightly more than a book a week so not bad at all. I was pretty busy with travel this year, plus losing my Nook slowed me down a lot, so it makes sense. Here’s a roundup of what I read.
The 5 Best Books I Read in 2012
5 – Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
This is a book about ordinary American people that deal with problems that are familiar to people today. Namely the problem of having too much freedom. What do we do with our lives, now that the scope of what is okay to do is so large? The possibilities for your life are becoming more and more endless, and it affects different people in different ways. I have felt this myself, this inability to figure out what to become or how to live my life, because there are just too many choices. It’s a great book with interesting characters, and I would recommend it.
4 – Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford
We’ve covered this one before. And it was good enough to make it into my top five!
3 – Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
Honestly, the story of what happens to our bodies after we die is a fascinating if morbid one. This book is not for the fainthearted but also treats the subject with humor. I’ve been in an anatomy lab so I’ve seen cadavers before, but it was extremely interesting to read more about all the things we use corpses for. Thanks to my friend Colin for letting me borrow this; I could not put it down!
2 – The Green Mile by Stephen King
Stephen King is an author I generally like, and this is an excellent work of his. If you have seen the movie and liked it, you will love the book. It’s fairly similar but as usual I did enjoy the book a tiny bit better.
1 – A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin
Yes, I am a fantasy nerd. Yes, I love The Song of Ice and Fire series. And yes, the HBO show is good too. This book, the third one, has been the best so far. All my other nerdy friends agree.
The 5 Worst Books I Read in 2012
- A Geography of Time by Robert V. Levine – I almost feel bad for not liking this because it was recommended and even sent to me by a friend. The idea was interesting but it simply bored me. Too much setup and not enough meat. I am also usually wary of popular books that deal with anthropological subjects, because too often they make me angry, like my most hated book ever, Geography of Bliss. This wasn’t bad like that… just bored me.
- Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind – This book is kind of okay. I’m not really into books that are written as though they might have been written in the 18th century, and this one does that. But I mean, okay, because that’s when it’s set, it’s just a style I am not partial to. But also, the main character is not someone you can really care about. Plus there’s way too many detailed descriptions of scents, something which is notoriously hard to describe in words.
- Extras by Scott Westerfeld – This is the 4th book in the Uglies trilogy. Oh wait! I guess it’s not a trilogy then. Except for the important fact that the first three books are, in fact, a cohesive trilogy. This book tries to project out what might have happened later. Unfortunately, by focusing on totally different characters who aren’t as interesting as the original ones, it just comes out as weak and unnecessary.
- Wild Heat by Bella Andre – Blech. Just a really dumb romance novel. Not even very sexy.
- Love in a Nutshell by Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly – Dear Janet Evanovich: Usually, I enjoy your books. They are generally light and fun. But this one just didn’t do it for me. Sorry. Love, Rachel
So, there you have it, the best and worst books of the year for me.
What were your best and worst reads this year?