Book Rundown, 2012

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Seven hundred and fourteen books. Seven hundred and fourteen books read in their entirety, plus  an additional thirty-seven re-reads, for a grand total of seven hundred and fifty-one books consumed in seven years, along with mega-bonus points for writing a book during that span.

That sounds way more impressive than the paltry 55 books I read this year.

This is not the place to make excuses for my low tally. I will make those excuses at length in my next post. For now, perhaps I can distract you with links to the more robust reading accomplishments of years past:

I’m not the kind to go in for New Year’s resolutions, but for this I’ll make an exception. In 2013 my numbers will return to the low-to-mid hundreds where they belong. I say this not as a point of pride — though of course that’s at stake — but because I get grumpy when I can’t read as much as I’d like.

Painful though it will be, let’s take a look at the specifics:

Total books read, cover-to-cover: 55

Age levels:

  • Adult: 45
  • YA: 9
  • Children’s: 1

Books read that were published in 2012: approximately 18.

Nonfiction: 18

Fiction: 37

Genres: (as some books have more than one genre, total exceeds 55)


  • Adventure: 2
  • Economics: 1
  • History: 2
  • How-to: 1
  • Language: 1
  • Memoir: 3
  • Nature: 1
  • Science: 5
  • Social Science: 2


  • Canonical/Classic: 1 or 2. Depends if you count Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle.
  • Crime, i.e., Mystery, Suspense, and Thriller: 5
  • Erotica: 1. (So that’s what they mean by “graphic novel.”)
  • Fantasy: 15 — as always, I read more in fantasy than in any other genre
  • Horror: 5
  • Humor: 1
  • Literary Fiction: 4
  • Popular/Mainstream/No particular genre: 5
  • Science Fiction: 2


  • Audiobooks: I’m reluctant to listen to books while driving, because I pay too little attention to either the book or to the traffic lights. Unemployment handily eliminates the need to drive much, though, and nowadays my commute involves walking to a homeless shelter to volunteer. The pay sucks, but I get to listen to books as I walk — and if I get distracted, nobody dies. This year I listened to fifteen books, all adult nonfiction.
  • Graphic novels: Five, of which one was nonfiction. Now that I don’t have access to a good library, my reading in general has suffered, and my reading of graphic novels has plummeted.


  • Annual fat Russian novel: The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoevsky.  The same man who wrote the best book ever, The Brothers Karamazov, is also responsible for Notes from Underground, in which he forgot to include a plot, and The Idiot, in which the few moments of insight were overshadowed by weak prose and horrible characters. The protagonist is supposed to be a Christ figure, but I wanted to beat him up after class and stuff him in a locker.
  • Re-reads: 3.
  • Annual language book: The Secret Life of Pronouns, by James W. Pennebaker

Authors: 46

New (to me) authors: 27

Best book of the year: Columbine, by David Cullen. This was published a few years ago, but I regret to report that it has not lost its relevance.  And, collectively, the books of George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series. I’d read the first entry years ago, and then sworn continue till he’d finished writing the books, but after a disappointing experience with Guy Gavriel Kay, I wanted some really excellent fantasy books and I lost my resolve.

Honorable mentions: 

  • Broken Harbor, by Tana French
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson
  • The Wind Through the Keyhole, by Stephen King
  • Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer
  • 1493, by Charles C. Mann
  • A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness
  • In Defense of Food, by Michael Pollan
  • Second Nature, by Michael Pollan
  • Old Man’s War, by John Scalzi
  • Okay for Now, by Gary D. Schmidt
  • Monkey Mind, by Daniel B. Smith
  • Born on a Blue Day, by Daniel Tammet
  • Breasts, by Florence Williams


A Land More Kind Than Home, by Wiley Cash, was well-received by critics, who seem to think that exaggerated stereotypes and shallow observations constitute quality southern literature.

For your obsessive pleasure: Every single book I read! Sorted by author!

Author Title
Bechdel, Alison Are You My Mother?
Borgenicht, David and Joshua Priven Worst Case Scenario Handbook: Travel
Broad, William The Science of Yoga
Butcher, Jim Cold Days
Butcher, Jim Ghost Story
Cash, Wiley A Land More Kind Than Home
Coben, Harlan Stay Close
Cowen, Tyler An Economist Gets Lunch
Crawford, Matthew B. Shop Class As Soulcraft
Cullen, David Columbine
Deaver, Jeffery XO
Dostoevsky, Fyodor The Idiot
Duncan, Glen Talullah Rising
Flynn, Gillian Gone Girl
French, Tana Broken Harbor
Grandin, Temple Animals in Translation
Green, John The Fault in Our Stars
Hansen, Mykle Help! A Bear is Eating Me
Hinton, S.E. The Outsiders
Horowitz, Alexandra Inside of a Dog
Jackson, Shirley We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Kay, Guy Gavriel The Summer Tree
Kay, Guy Gavriel The Wandering Fire
Kay, Guy Gavriel The Darkest Road
King, Stephen The Wind Through the Keyhole
Krakauer, Jon Into the Wild
Kurson, Robert Shadow Divers
Mann, Charles C. 1493
Martin, George R. R. A Game of Thrones
Martin, George R. R. A Clash of Kings
Martin, George R. R. A Storm of Swords
Martin, George R. R. A Feast for Crows
McKean, Dave Celluloid
Mulligan, Andy Trash
Ness, Patrick A Monster Calls
Parker, K. J. Let Maps to Others
Parker, K. J. Sharps
Pennebaker, James W. The Secret Life of Pronouns
Plum-Ucci, Carol The Body of Christopher Creed
Plum-Ucci, Carol Following Christopher Creed
Pollan, Michael In Defense of Food
Pollan, Michael Second Nature
Roberson, Chris iZOMBIE
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone
Scalzi, John Old Man’s War
Schmidt, Gary D. Okay for Now
Smith, Daniel B. Monkey Mind
Spencer, Nick Morning Glories v.1
Spencer, Nick Morning Glories v.2
Stout, Martha The Sociopath Next Door
Tammet, Daniel Born on a Blue Day
Walker, Karen Thompson The Age of Miracles
Walter, Jess Beautiful Ruins
Whitehead, Colson Zone One
Williams, Florence Breasts

4 responses »

  1. Pingback: Book Rundown, 2013 | BookOuroboros

  2. Pingback: Book Rundown, 2015 | BookOuroboros

  3. Pingback: Book rundown, 2016 | BookOuroboros

  4. Pingback: Book rundown, 2017 | BookOuroboros

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