Book Reviews

Wrap up of 2012

celebrate 2012

As the final hours of 2012 creep into 2013, it’s a good time to reflect on my book reading experience of the past 12 months.  In many ways I can label it ‘A Year of Firsts’:



  • the first year I ever kept track of what I was reading and 
  • the first year I joined and actively participated in groups like GoodReads and LibraryThing and 
  • the first year I gave myself some reading goals and 
  • the first year for my blog (actually the anniversary isn’t until February 2013).

End of Year Report Card

I ended the year having read 40 novels in total. The figure might be low in comparison to the eye watering numbers clocked up other LibraryThing members and bloggers but I’m not fazed by this.  A comment recently posted by Laura on her Musings blog struck a chord with me – like Laura, the amount of books I read isn’t anywhere as important as the experience for me. I’d rather feel I was enjoying the books I was reading rather than racing to get one finished so I could get on with the next.

Of those 40

  • 9 were Booker prize winners. I thought I would have read more of these from my Booker challenge list but I did get sidetracked somewhat. I also read 2 of the 2012 long listed novels
  • 3 were from my Classics Club list . A little disappointing that I didn’t read more from this s0 need to make a conscious effort next year
  • 26 of these novels were by authors whose work I have never read before. I’m delighted with this since I really want to broaden my reading horizons

Not everything I’ve read this year has been enjoyable (some of the early Booker prize winners like David Storey’s Saville were a bit on the dull side) but here are my favourites from 2012.

My favourite reads of 2012 

The Siege of Krishnapur by J G Farrell. A Booker prize winner. The subject matter seemed grim (British settlers starving to death during a siege in India) but the writing sparkled. A totally unexpected experience

Saraswati Park by Anjali Joseph. A debut novel that was thoroughly engaging. A novelist I want to watch out for the future.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Shame on me for not getting to read this classic until now. But it was well worth the wait

Pure by Andrew Miller. A wonderful historical novel that oozes with the smells of pre Revolutionary Paris

And finally, the outstanding book of the year – Bring up the Bodies by Hilary MantelWolf Hall was brilliant but this was even better.

Beyond the numbers, I’ve been thrilled by the multiple opportunities this year to connect with people who share similar interests whether through blogs or challenges. Thank you to everyone who has followed by blog, or made a comment or replied to comments I’ve left on their site. Thanks also for the many suggestions and recommendations on what else to read. That’s the kind of interaction I really want to see continue in 2013.



What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

17 thoughts on “Wrap up of 2012

    • I looked at your French reading challenge – have never heard of most of those authors I am sorry to say. France is on my Prime Meridian challenge list so I’ll come back to you for some recommendations if thats ok?

  • I made it to a likewise respectable 44 in 2012. I set myself a challenge of reading 52 and I did try to make it, but I care more about choosing books I want to read than rushing through some or choosing small books so I’ll make the number. In 2013, however, I will try to make more time for reading and reach my goal that way. You read some great novels this year! Or at least so it sounds – I haven’t read any of your favorites, shame on me…

    • If I’d had to guess how many you’d read in 2012 I would have put it much higher than that Christina. You always seem to be posting reviews!

      • It’s funny you have that impression since I’ve felt I didn’t post many but just posted ‘filler posts’ … All about perception, huh?

  • Pingback: 2013 Is Here – Time for Resolutions | BookerTalk

  • I think 40 is a perfectly respected amount of books to read. Like you I prefer to take my time and make sure I’m enjoying everything I’m reading. I hope 2013 is another good reading year for you.

    • I like that description ‘respectable’ – makes me sound very learned and serious LOL. thanks Jessica. Hope you have a good reading year also

  • Hey, thanks for the shout-out! I admit that I have to keep reminding myself of that quality over quantity thing — it’s too easy to get obsessed with the numbers. Looks like you had a great year of reading. See you around the blogs & LT!

    • It’s my pleasure Laura – the least I can do after all the help you’ve given me this year.

  • I loved Bring Up The Bodies too. I really need to read Wolf Hall again though and review it – I read it the first time while I was on a blogging break! Here’s to a 2013 full of good books, regardless of the numbers. 🙂

    • I was wondering whether reading Wolf Hall again in the light of ‘Bodies’ would give me any new insights. Would love to do it but I have such a long list of others to read i’m not sure I’ll get to it any time soon

  • Shame on me, I have still to read ‘Bring Up the Bodies’ and I have so much to read for teaching purposes in the near future that I can’t see me getting round to it very quickly either. But I’m so glad that you enjoyed the Maya Angelou. Now you have to read the other five! Happy New Year.

    • the advantage of waiting a while is that you’ll be able to pick it up in paperback no doubt…. You’re right about Angelou though, I would like to read the remaining books now

  • janakay

    I enjoyed your list of 2012 favorite reads, particularly as I loved two of them myself: J.G. Farrell’s Siege and Wolf Hall! Have you read Farrell’s Troubles or his Singapore Grip? As much as I liked Siege of Krishnapur, I think the other two (particularly Troubles) are even better. As for Mantel, it’s hard to think of any more superlatives to add to the general opinion about Bring up the Bodies (and, yes, I agree with you–it’s even better to me than Wolf Hall). I’ve thought a time or two myself about reading more of the Booker Prize winners, so I find your reactions very interesting. I’ll also be watching for your review, if you do one, of Midnight’s Children, which is a book I’ve put on my own personal reading list for 2013.

    • Hi Janet, I do have ‘Troubles’ on the shelf waiting my attention – hope to get to it this year. Now you’ve reminded me about it, I should probably move it up the list. As for Midnight’s Children, I’ve posted a review of this – here is the link.

      It wasn’t an easy read and several times I almost gave it up. But just as I reached the decision to ditch it, the book would get interesting again. Grr….


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