2012 Year in Books

2012: My Year In Books

Thanks to beauty of Goodreads, here’s what I’ve read in 2012:

I immensely enjoyed reading The Remains of the Day – my first book of 2012 – but regard it even more highly now, as both the themes and Ishiguro’s beautiful writing style have stuck with me throughout the year. Coraline and The Metamorphosis were both short, creepy and chilling, but some of the longer novels I’ve read this year were disappointing, especially when compared to other works by the same authors. The Time Machine isn’t as good as The First Men In The Moon, despite being more famous, and The Magic Toyshop felt like it was written before Carter really got into her stride.

The big exception to this in 2012 was Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? – easily the best thing I’ve read by Philip K Dick, whose book VALIS (think ‘William Blake in space’) still makes me shudder to think about. I was also a fan of Frankenstein – more so than I expected – while PG Wodehouse remains a reliable delight if you need cheering up (which particular Jeeves novel I happened to pick off a virtual shelf doesn’t seem to really matter much). Special mentions also go to The Hunger Games trilogy, which I am not ashamed to say I wolfed down with great pleasure, and Zadie Smith’s NW – because there’s something special about the one writer who most conjures up real feelings of home.

Non-fiction wise, the stand-out book was clearly Ben Goldacre’s Bad Pharma. I am deeply in awe of this man, and his devastating critique of modern medicine is so much more compelling for providing straightforward, inexpensive and entirely achievable remedies. If nothing else, this is a brilliant demonstration of how to make a sustained evidence-based argument, and I hope Ben has more campaigning success in 2013.

Go on, give me something else to read…

If you want a tedious dawdle around banal philosophy, followed by some actually-rather-gripping boy vs. tiger action… read The Life Of Pi. (Or go see the film, I guess.)

If you want to learn a lot about whales… read Moby Dick.

If you have a lot of time to spare and are insatiably interested in eighteenth century political theory… read The Spirit of the Laws. (Or go see the film. Apparently they’ve added a love interest.)

If you’re planning a 70s-themed sex party… read The Dice Man.

If you’re a proud Tube nerd… read Underground, Overground.

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3 Comments on :
2012: My Year In Books

  1. Matt Appleton says:

    No mention for Lord of the Flies?

    It was one of my most eagerly awaited reads this year but also my most disappointing.

    Perhaps I need to develop my inner childhood savage and re-read…

  2. Red Dalek says:

    Good point: I think I felt similarly… not that I was overly disappointed, but it didn’t make as much of an impression as I was expecting. The ending was good, though.

    (You’re probably too civilised )

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