Monday, December 31, 2012

Best of the Year, 2012

Unlike many media outlets, I prefer to wait until the very last second to decide what my favourite reads of the year were! Who knows, I might always find something fabulous under the tree that will jump to the top of the list -- so I like to hold off to the last possible day to discuss this topic!

And, I also enjoy creating a statistical summary of my year's reading. I always find it interesting to see what I've ended up reading, and whether there are any patterns to what I pick up throughout the year. There didn't seem to be any patterns this year ~ really quite random!

Total Reading: 125


Female: 83
Male: 42

Genre etc.

Fiction: 82
Non Fiction: 38
Poetry: 5

In translation: 

French (Quebecois): 2
Dutch: 1
Portuguese: 1
Finnish: 1
Spanish: 1
Swedish: 1

My Own Books: 68
Library Books: 57

Review Copies: 28 
(I count these are part of  "my own" books, but I'm feeling that this is too many as I feel obliged to read all of the books I ask for ... will have to reduce the numbers next year)

Rereads: 7
E-reads: 17


And now for the Best of the Year 2012!

I found for some reason this year that I wasn't engaging with my reading in the same way...perhaps too busy? Perhaps preoccupied with other things?  I did find some great books but not in the same abundance as usual. 

Nonetheless, here are the top ten reads that I discovered in 2012, the criteria being solely my personal taste. These books either amused me, delighted me with their great writing, were full of fascinating facts, or had some unique element to them that I found appealing. 

One of the most powerful nonfiction reads of the year, I've been recommending this to everyone ever since. Great book about an important topic, written well and very shareable. 

This was a book I stumbled across, and seeing it was about labyrinths and reading, two of my own preoccupations, I immediately read it. It was gentle, wise and a lovely read. 

This was a fascinating memoir that incorporates Canadian history, women's lives and a narrator with a bookish bent. Can't wait to read part 2 in 2013!

4. Fooling Houdini / Alex Stone
This was a very entertaining read about magic, math and mental trickery ~ lots to learn, while having fun reading.

Hilarious fun, with a diverse cast of characters in Winnipeg (including one ghost) trying to make a go of things. Art, craft, love, and a soupçon of sadness. And the author wrote a simply gorgeous guest post about everyday creativity, as well. 

A tale of Ukrainian Canadian history, told in straightforward language. This illuminates an ignored part of our history, the internment of Ukrainian Canadians during World War I. 

Quirky tale of a group of young people melding technology with the love of books as they try to crack the mystery of a secret society based on Aldus Manutius' teachings... the perfect blend, in my opinion. Compulsive reading.

What a gorgeous collection of short stories by the master fantasy writer herself. Beautiful, dreamy, inspiring.

I make no secret of my love for Penelope Lively. I am endlessly interested in the themes of her novels, and this latest one was no exception. I really enjoyed it. 

This was an unexpectedly wonderful book, set in the summer months at a lake in the Laurentians. The writing was great, the setting was amazing, the story was complex and deep. This book by a Quebec writer is definitely one of the best of the year. 

Hope you all had a wonderful reading year as well, and here's to marvellous new bookish discoveries in the New Year. Happy, and lucky, 2013 to all!


  1. Great list - well, I've not read any of them, but so many of them appeal. I'm off to find out more about Walking a Literary Labyrinth, and having heard Penelope Lively speak twice (brilliantly), I MUST actually read something by her.

  2. Simon - I am certain that you will like Penelope Lively's writing. And thanks for your own lists...the Century of Books is a fabulous idea, and achievement, of yours!

  3. So many books read--lucky you! :) And so many nonfiction titles--I want to read more NF next year (though I suspect I say that every year). You have such a diverse and unusual list--so many new to me authors so I am going to go now and look them up. I'm trying to read more Canadian fiction so I'm happy to see some interesting sounding titles on your list--may add them to my wishlist, too. Happy New Year and best wishes in 2013!

  4. Danielle - thanks, and I do hope you'll find some great new Canadian titles as well :) Happy New Year!

  5. I wanted to read that McKillip collection soon, it is sitting there waiting for my patiently on my bookshelf. Glad you enjoyed it so much.

    I had forgotten that I had heard good things about Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore, so thanks for that reminder. :)

  6. Carl - I think you may enjoy both of them. Of course, they were both favourites of mine this year so I would say that ;)

  7. What a fantastic year of reading! Congrats :) I hope 2013 is great to you and yours

  8. AJennifer - thank you! A wonderful 2013 to you too!

  9. I am SO impressed with your literary accomplishment, Melanie ... and your stats. You are one of the most amazing, coolest women I know. I'm really glad to have this list ... thank you!

  10. An impressive year of reading! I confess I've not read any of your 2012 favorites, but you've made them sound quite enticing.

  11. Oh, Ev.. *blushing*

    Unruly Reader - glad that I could entice ;) Such fun to look over all the good reading in a year!

  12. Cool list and stats. I haven`t tracked my translated reads by language, but what a good idea.
    I loved Quiet too, and got How It All Began for my birthday back in July, but haven`t read it yet.
    I feel obligated to read review copies too, except for those from Netgalley since they expire and the pressure can become too much.

  13. Shonna - I've really, really reduced my use of Netgalley since I had 2 books expire on me. Sigh. Too much to read and do!

    Hope you will get a chance to try the Penelope Lively soon -- I really love her work :)

  14. Yeah, I can'd do my list early either... my last book of the year could very well be the best :P Anyway, you read some great sounding books in 2012. I absolutely need to read more Lively and McKillip.

  15. It sounds like a great reading year! I'm glad you liked Quiet so much; it's on my list of books to check out. Happy new year!

  16. Ana - Lively & McKillip are two authors that I trust to create great reading.

    Rebecca - I liked Quiet, and I have been enjoying the TED talk that Susan Cain gave as well. Fascinating stuff.

  17. I'm sure you already know, but Cain is giving a plenary at SuperConference this year... looking forward to it, myself. My father has been raving and raving about that book since he finished it, and he's not much of a raver.

    You always seem to add such interesting books to my TBR, particularly from the small Canadian presses. Thanks for that!

  18. Kiirstin - yes, I am very much looking forward to that plenary! Glad to hear that your father is also enthused about it. It is such a great read! And glad to know I can share some new titles with you, too :)


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