Oh this was a bad year for reading. I read only 28 books this year, my lowest number since I began keeping track of what I read. I could say it was because I had a job. I could say it was because I crafted more than usual this year. But the truth of the matter is that the one thing that cut into my reading time more than anything else, was......Law and Order: Criminal Intent. I know. It's really embarrassing. I was cleaning out the DVR the other day, deleting all the L & O's I'd already seen. I deleted over 100 episodes. That's over 100 hours of my time. And if I'm being totally honest, I watched a bunch of episodes more than once. So yeah, I might not have been well read this year, but I do know that if I ever need to dispose of a body I should plunk it in a bathtub and cover it with lye, which will dissolve all of the organic material. And I cannot forget to fish the jewelry out of the drain, because if I leave even one shred of evidence, the detectives are going to find it and then I have a one way boat trip to Rikers.
Without further adieu, the paltry list:
1. Every Last One by Anna Quindlen
2. Bright Sided: How the Relentless Pursuit of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Barbara Ehrenreich
3. What It Is by Lynda Barry
4. Feminism and Pop Culture by Andi Zeisler
5. Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli
6. Whiter Shades of Pale: Stuff White People Like by Christian Lander
7. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
8. Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv
9. The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death by Laurie Notaro
10. Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell
11. White Oleander by Janet Fitch
12. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
13. A Short Guide to A Happy Life by Anna Quindlen
14. Haunting Jasmine by Anjali Banerjee
15. Icy Sparks by Gwyn Hyman Rubio
16. Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris
17. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
18. Just Kids by Patti Smith
19. The Anti Romantic Child by Priscilla Gilman
20. The Last Time They Met by Anita Shreve
21. Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
22. Faith by Jennifer Haigh
23. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio
24. Bossypants by Tina Fey
25. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
26. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
27. The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff
28. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney
* Best Book: Definitely, hands down, no doubt in my mind, We Need to Talk About Kevin. (Review here.) I still find myself thinking about this book. At my work we sell something called a Faux bow that is a Nerf-type bow and arrow, I cannot even look at this product without thinking about Kevin. I wish I had never read this book just so that I could read it again for the first time. Really, if you haven't read it yet, DO SO!
* Worst Book: Icy Sparks. (Review here.) Just bad. But honestly, I get a certain amount of joy from those awful books. In fact, in the new year I may purposely work in a few awful books just for fun.
*I read a lot of really good non fiction this year: The Anti-Romantic Child, Just Kids, Love Is a Mix Tape, and Last Child in the Woods. It was a good year for non fiction.
*On the flip side, a lot of the fiction that I read was quite dull. The few stand outs (aside from Kevin): Winter's Bone, Empire Falls, and Never Let Me Go. I find myself thinking about those books quite often, especially Never Let Me Go, which was about a group of young people who were born for the sole purpose of being forced to donate their organs. They donate as much as possible until they can no longer survive. I know, it sounds totally gruesome, but the book was more about the friendships between the donors. It was fascinating and has stuck with me.
*Biggest Disappointment: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Even though this is a Young Adult book, I expected it to blow me away because I know a lot of really smart gals who love it. But instead I got poor character development and a story that I couldn't care less about. I haven't bothered to read the rest of the books in the series.
Despite the fact that I got off to a great start by reading seven books in January alone, I'm definitely disappointed by books this year. Not only was most of what I read completely forgettable, but a lot of those books made me not want to read for a while. They turned my favorite past time into a chore.
Reading Goals for 2012:
*Definitely read more than 28 books. I really like to keep a loose goal of fifty books.
*Devote just a bit more time to researching books and hunting down ones I'll love, so I don't waste time reading clunkers.
Now I need some suggestions. What are you reading right now? What was your favorite book of the year?