December 18, 2012

A Bookish Look Back at 2012

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I know you're all going to be sick of these "a year in review" posts in about a week so I figured I'd do mine now before the idea jumps the shark.

Overall, my reading year has been meh. I lost my reading mojo somewhere over the summer. I had so many moments of "I don't even know why I'm reading this book" and would either take ages to finish it or toss it aside. I think I'm getting to the point of where I don't even care how I got the book, I'm not going to feel guilty about not finishing it if I'm not feeling it. I haven't been requesting or accepting many review copies because of this. If you've sent me a book to review and I haven't put up a review, I'm sorry. It's not you, it's me. Honestly, you don't want the book blogger equivalent of Grumpy Cat reviewing your book. I'm coming out of this funk but it's taking time.

Where last year I read 100 books, this year I read 64. I'm not even going to try to predict how next year will go. I think my only way out of this is to only read the books I fall in love with. If this works, be prepared for gushing reviews in January. 

Some of the fault lies with Victor Hugo. Reading Les Miserables was like eating a block of cheese, it sort of backed everything else up. 1400 pages in 5 months. Whew. I don't think I could take on another project like that again for a long time. I'm glad I did it but it was my Everest.


So, did I like anything in 2012? Yes. Here's my list of the best read.

  • Love Begins In Winter by Simon Van Booy
  • The Black Count by Tom Reiss
  • Georges by Alexandre Dumas
  • Bedbugs by Ben Winters
  • Good Evening, Mrs Craven by Mollie Panter-Downes
  • The Twelve by Justin Cronin
  • Les Miserables by Victor Hugo (of course)
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Let's not even talk about the ones I didn't love, okay?

As for what I did when I avoided reading, I was busy. 
  • My daughter has been participating in new things so I'm doing a lot of driving her to and fro. Also doing some volunteering at her school.
  • I started working out seriously in January and try to do something active once a day if I can. I feel great physically and I'm pleased with myself for keeping that up. Once I get a routine going I stick with it, but it's hard to start.
  • I watched a lot of TV, especially shows on ABC, like Revenge, Happy Endings, Don't Trust the B- in Apt 23. Then there is New Girl  and The Mindy Project on Fox and Elementary on CBS. And, of course, Downton Abbey which I discovered I liked after everyone else was already a fan.
  • I contemplated what I want to do with the rest of my life since I'm going to be thirty-something-something-ahem-cough this year. This is a major contributor to my lack of concentration. And, yeah, I haven't come up with a doable plan yet.
  • Blogwise, I helped Tasha with The Project Gutenberg Project (though I've been a terrible contributor lately), contributed to The Estella Society, and helped out with Armchair BEA.
That's about it for 2012. Now I shall drag my butt into 2013 and leave this negative attitude behind me!

24 comments :

  1. Way to scoop the rest of us with your year in review! I read far fewer books this year, too, for both good and not-so-good reasons. My Les Miz-like experience was Middlemarch, which didn't quite have the "cheese factor" and near the end I got caught up in it and decided to buckle down and finish. Still, I don't take on 1000+ page tomes very often and I probably won't do so next year.

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    1. It took me 2 tries to read Middlemarch. I was glad to have read it though. I probably won't take on a chunkster so big next year.

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  2. I love my reading mojo right about August. I was reading, but nothing life changing and it sort of threw me into a funk. Then when I got sick over Thanksgiving, I just said to hell with it all. LOL.
    My goal was 80 books and I too read 64 but have more one or two more I might finish before 2013.

    Both of my kids are actively doing stuff so I often spend hours in the car either driving them to and from or waiting for them. I normally read while waiting but my book light burned out. Do I get a new battery? No! I pull out my phone and play Words with Friends. Such a time suck.

    I already have like 12 review books I will be reading for 2013 but they are all books that I want to read. I also want to host a read along for Wind-Up bird and then a group of us will be reading The Shining together. THAT will be a blast and a good kick start.

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    1. I think I need to make my reading goals (if I make them at all) smaller. 100 books last year was a fluke I think. I might have to check out that The Shining RAL.

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  3. I LOST...not love. Can't even type!

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  4. I try to read only one chunkster a year, recognizing that I can't avoid some large books but that they eat into my time spent with other books. Les Mis was my chunkster this year as well (and I loved the cheese comment!)

    As for the review copies, when I get a review request now, I usually tell them that I may not get to it in a timely fashion and I'd understand if they no longer want to send it. They usually do anyway.

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    1. Even though I tell review requesters the same thing, I still feel like I Have To which is not the way to start reading something. I need to work on that.

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  5. "Reading Les Miserables was like eating a block of cheese" bahaha, you crack me up. I felt the same way when I read it in 2010. It's intense! I can't wait to read The Black Count and I'm so glad you recommended it!

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  6. Sounds like it's been QUITE the year to you!!! I'm with you on losing my reading mojo...I won't even hit 60 books this year :( So sad. But I'm with you! I've decided I'm just reading for fun. I just need to stop reading so MANY books at the same time!! That's my main problem. And I love end of the year wrap ups :) They're some of my favorite posts :) Oh, and the Les Mis grumpy cat pic is my absolute fav!! LOL

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    1. I do love those posts too, but I've already heard grumbling about Best of Lists. I also have that problem of having too many books on the go at once.

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  7. That block of cheese comment slayed me! It's a great idea to just read what you LOVE. I mean, isn't that why we read in the first place? I've only been blogging for a bit over 6 months but I've noticed the change in my reading and it bums me out a little bit. I'm with you, 2013 is going to be about reading things that I WANT to and that I ADORE! So, there.

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    1. Blogging does sneak into your reading life that way. I'm trying to do better for my own sanity. This is a hobby after all!

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  8. Good for you for working out! If you did nothing but that and take care of your family, you've spent a good year.

    And you're young, Chris. Don't fret your life away. ;-)

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    1. You sound like my husband who thinks I should relax. Unfortunately, that is not in my nature. ;) But I'm going to try.

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  9. Okay I just cannot stop laughing at that hipster cat and Le Miserable. LOLOLOLOLOL.

    Anyways.

    Gone Girl rocks.

    Les Miserables is one of my favorite books of all time.

    AND I am about to finish up The Twelve.

    Boo to meh reading.

    BUT YAY FOREVER FOR WORKING OUT! AND FAMILY! <3

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  10. My reading numbers were way down this year, too, and I did a lot of rereading of books I knew I would love. Stressful year - that will do it to me! But I did read some great books - and longer ones, since I stopped worrying about how many I read.

    I enjoyed Gone Girl and The Twelve, too. Hoping to read Les Miserables someday, but probably not in 2013. I'm doing the War and Peace read-along and don't think I could handle them both!

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  11. It sounds like you had an overall productive year. Taking care of yourself and your family is important. :)

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  12. My mojo left the building, too. I'm just about ready to call it quits on 2012 and usher in 2013 -- hopefully with better reading results. Wishing you the best this holiday season, Chris!

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  13. My mojo was pretty in a revolving door from about August onwards - good book, bad book, bad book, so-so book, thank-the-stars-it's-a-good book, rinse, repeat. Lots of contemporary fiction made for a real hit and miss year! Love the fact you slogged through Les Mis though, I gulped it down when I was 21 or so but man, the idea of tackling now seems like way more of a challenge.

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  14. I just started Les Miserables on Wednesday. I know what you mean about the cheese.

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  15. I'm impressed with anyone who manages to get through Les Miserables. I keep looking at my copy but I'm sooo intimidated! LOL on the cheese comment.

    Love Begins in Winter (of course) and Good Evening, Mrs. Craven are two of my favorites of the year. Not that I've bothered to look at my list, yet. I think I'm done with the year and I read 150 books but that's a totally inflated number because a *lot* of them were children's books. I adore children's books but I wouldn't be surprised if our page count was about the same. I highly recommend setting aside anything that doesn't grab you. Most of my reads were "like" or "love", this year, because I decided to get serious about not reading books that I'm hating. I only made a couple of errors in that regard (dragging myself through books and then wishing I had the time back).

    Also, I totally get that comment about figuring out what to do with the rest of your life. I'm at loose ends, here. I just recently turned 50 and still haven't ever worked a full-time, permanent job. I let the kiddo guide me a bit. He didn't want me to work till he went off to college and when he finally did, I wanted to travel. Did that in 2011. 2012 was about moving house. 2013 is ??? I think maybe I need to go back to school. First, adult education in the spring, then maybe some serious college in the fall. Good luck to you. It's hard when you've been home for a long time. My college degree is ancient. Not sure it's worth a plug nickel.

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  16. I like the idea of reading only books that you fall in love with. I've been less tolerant of books that don't grip me right away lately. I don't have the time to waste.

    I am impressed you read Les Miserables. I got about half way through one summer during college, but gave up once my studies resumed. I always meant to go back but never did. I'd have to start from the beginning again now, I think. Someday I would like to try again though--but this year I'm sticking to War and Peace. That's plenty of chunkster for me, I think.

    Have a very Happy New Year, Chris!

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  17. Very happy that you pursued fitness goals this year and were successful. Feels great, doesn't it? I'm very excited for what 2013 will bring us in that area.

    My reading took a summer slump too, mostly because all my focus was on running and reading about running. Very little fiction read for a few months and that knocked my numbers down. Still, you beat me with your 64!

    Have a wonderful, happy new year!

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