Monday, 31 December 2012

My 2012 reading

Here's how my reading went in 2012:

How many books read in 2012?
61 books completely read; I've not counted books only dipped into for study purposes.

Fiction/Non-Fiction ratio?
34 fiction and 27 non-fiction.   I was surprised, looking back, by how many novels I've read this year.

Male/Female authors?
23 books by male authors, and 38 by female authors.  I've read more fiction by men this year than in the last couple of years.

Favourite book read?
This year's highlights include Kathleen Jamie's Findings, Rebecca Solnit's Wanderlust and, among the novels, Loving by Henry Green, which I read thanks to Henry Green Reading Week.

Least favourite?
I thought Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death would be an amusing holiday read.  It really wasn't.  Thankfully I borrowed it from the library so it only cost me a precious hour or so of time.  I loathed the short story "Cake" in Stella Gibbons's collection Christmas at Cold Comfort Farm and clearly I should rant about books I hate more often, as that was one of my most-read posts this year.

Oldest book read?
Madame de Lafayette's The Princess of Cleves, in Nancy Mitford's translation.  The original was published in 1678, the oldest book I've read for many years.

As I live with the small publisher Victorian Secrets I get to read some books ahead of publication.  This year I got a preview of Carolyn Oulton's marvellous life of Jerome K. Jerome, Below the Fairy City, Maurice Leonard's moving biography of the contralto Dame Clara Butt,  Hope and Glory, and Gary Hicks's fascinating study of Thomas Bish and the early days of the advertising industry, The First Adman.  Do support the small publishers ...

Longest book title?
Not counting titles with post-colon suffixes, I think it must be Jeannette Winterson's memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?

Shortest title?
Nicola Humble's delightful little book Cake, which really is about cake and is not an antifeminist fable that endorses wife-beating (yes, I know Stella Gibbons can't hear me).

How many re-reads?
Only one this year, Virginia Woolf's  The Years.

Most books read by one author this year?
I've not read anyone in large quantities this year.  Two books by Dorothy L. Sayers, two by Stella Gibbons, two by E. F. Benson, and two by Joe Moran who I see I didn't blog about, but who comes highly recommended as a historian and celebrator of the everyday; the books I read are On Roads and Queuing for Beginners.  His blog and his regular articles for the Guardian are also well worth worth reading.

Any in translation?
Diderot's The Nun and Mme de Lafayette's The Princess of Cleves.

And how many of this year’s books were from the library?
Again, about 20 from the library and a few borrowed from other people.   I also read about 10 books on an e-reader this year, some of which were borrowed, but have retained my preference for the printed page.  They are great for travelling with, however.


  1. I am always so interested to read other bloggers' reflections on their reading at the end of the year. I've added Wanderlust to my reading list and the Joe Moran books too. Best wishes for 2013!

  2. Wanderlust is really excellent, Claire, and should not disappoint. I see your 2012 favourite is one of my all-time favourites, the marvellous Element of Lavishness - it might be time for a midwinter re-read. Very best wishes for 2013 and thanks for reading and commenting.