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Monday, December 31, 2012

100 Books a Year 2012

In 2010, Bruce and Leslie asked me if I thought I read 100 books a year. As noted, I tracked my reading in 2011 and came up a little short. But I kept tracking my reading this year, and as it turns out I finished the year's 100th book earlier this afternoon.

Here's the list, in order of completion:

Shoeless Joe (W.P. Kinsella, 1982)
The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien, 1937)
The Wild Girls Plus… (Ursula K. Le Guin, 2011)
Star Trek The Next Generation: Indistinguishable from Magic (David A. McIntee, 2011)
In War Times (Kathleen Ann Goonan, 2007)
Directive 51 (John Barnes, 2010)
The Bible Repairman and Other Stories (Tim Powers, 2011)
Daybreak Zero (John Barnes, 2011)
Star Trek Department of Temporal Investigations: Watching the Clock (Christopher L. Bennett, 2011)
Who Has Seen the Wind? (W.O. Mitchell, 1947)
Icehenge (Kim Stanley Robinson, 1984)
40-Year Evolution: Planet of the Apes (Lee Pfeiffer & Dave Worrall, 2008)
7th Sigma (Steven Gould, 2011)
Fuzzy Nation (John Scalzi, 2011)
The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Never Made (David Hughes, 2008)
Colonel Sun (Kingsley Amis writing as Robert Markham, 1968)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (J.K. Rowling, 1998)
Worlds Apart (Joe Haldeman, 1983)
Worlds Enough and Time (Joe Haldeman, 1992)
Wonder (Robert J. Sawyer, 2011)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (J.K. Rowling, 1999)
Hex (Allen Steele, 2011)
Tales from Development Hell (David Hughes, 2011)
Star Trek Department of Temporal Investigations: Forgotten History (Christopher L. Bennett, 2012)
In Search of the Multiverse (John Gribbin, 2009)
Fevre Dream (George R. R. Martin, 1982)
Carte Blanche (Jeffery Deaver, 2011)
The Hallowed Hunt (Lois McMaster Bujold, 2005)
All the Lives He Led (Frederik Pohl, 2011)
The Scarlet Plague (Jack London, 1912)
The Wind Through the Keyhole (Stephen King, 2012)
Forsake the Sky (Tim Powers, 1986)
A Bridge of Years (Robert Charles Wilson, 1991)
Vortex (Robert Charles Wilson, 2011)
A Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451 Stories (Ray Bradbury, 2010)
The Call of the Wild (Jack London, 1903)
The Night Sessions (Ken MacLeod, 2012)
The Murders in the Rue Morgue (Edgar Allan Poe, 1841)
Feed (Mira Grant, 2010)

The Complete Peanuts 1983 to 1984 (Charles M. Schulz with an introduction by Leonard Maltin, 2012)
The Walls of the Universe (Paul Melko, 2009)
Surfing the Gnarl Plus… (Rudy Rucker, 2012)
Report from Planet Midnight Plus… (Nalo Hopkinson, 2012)
Tin Woodman (David F. Bischoff and Dennis R. Bailey, 1979)
Year’s Best SF (David G. Hartwell, Editor, 1996)
The Company of the Dead (David J. Kowalski, 2012)
Year’s Best SF 2 (David G. Hartwell, Editor, 1997)
After the Golden Age (Carrie Vaughn, 2011)
Omnitopia Dawn (Diane Duane, 2010)
Year’s Best SF 3 (David G. Hartwell, Editor, 1998)
Dandelion Wine (Ray Bradbury, 1957)
Farewell Summer (Ray Bradbury, 2006)
Florida Roadkill (Tim Dorsey, 1999)
Science Fiction: The 101 Best Novels, 1985-2010 (Damien Broderick & Paul Di Filippo, 2012)
Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels (David Pringle, 1985)
Super Sad True Love Story (Gary Shteyngart, 2010)
Year’s Best SF 5 (David G. Hartwell, Editor, 2000)
Firebird (Jack McDevitt, 2011)
Animal Farm (George Orwell, 1945)
Hammerhead Ranch Motel (Tim Dorsey, 2000)
This Dark Endeavour (Kenneth Oppel, 2011)
Orange Crush (Tim Dorsey, 2001)
The Poison Belt (Arthur Conan Doyle, 1913)
Triggerfish Twist (Tim Dorsey, 2002)
Star Trek New Frontier: Blind Man’s Bluff (Peter David, 2012)
Star Trek Voyager: Unworthy (Kirsten Beyer, 2009)

Star Trek Voyager: Children of the Storm (Kirsten Beyer, 2011)
Triggers (Robert J. Sawyer, 2012)
Fifty Who Made DC Great (Barry Marx, Editor, 1985)
The Adventures of Superman (George Lowther, 1942)
The Stingray Shuffle (Tim Dorsey, 2003)
Carnelians (Catherine Asaro, 2011)
The Red Badge of Courage (Stephen Crane, 1895)
Star Trek Voyager: The Eternal Tide (Kirsten Beyer, 2012)
After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall (Nancy Kress, 2012)
The Toynbee Convector (Ray Bradbury, 1988)
Klingon Bird of Prey Owners’ Workshop Manual (Rick Sternbach and Ben Robinson, 2012)
The Nerd Who Loved Me (Liz Talley, 2012)
Osama (Lavie Tidhar, 2011)
The Stepford Wives (Ira Levin, 1972)
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain, 1884)
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (L. Frank Baum, 1900)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll, 1865)
Through the Looking-Glass (Lewis Carroll, 1871)
The Complete Peanuts, 1985 to 1986 (Charles M. Schulz with an introduction by Patton Oswalt, 2012)
This Perfect Day (Ira Levin, 1970)
The Boys from Brazil (Ira Levin, 1976)
Rosemary’s Baby (Ira Levin, 1967)

Son of Rosemary (Ira Levin, 1997)
The High Crusade (Poul Anderson, 1960)
The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (Walter Benjamin, 1936)
An Introduction to Studying Popular Culture (Dominic Strinati, 2000)
211 Things A Bright Boy Can Do (Tom Cutler, 2006)
The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway, 1952)
Heart of Darkness (Joseph Conrad, 1899)
Star Trek: The Next Generation 365 (Paula M. Block and Terry J. Erdmann, 2012)
Federation: The First 150 Years (David A. Goodman, 2311)
Year’s Best SF 6 (David G. Hartwell, Editor, 2001)
Dancing with Bears (Michael Swanwick, 2011)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (J.K. Rowling, 2000)

Fiction: 89
Nonfiction: 11
Science fiction: 47
Fantasy: 14
Romance: 1
Star Trek: 10
Peanuts collections: 2
Mainstream: 16

Female authors: 13
Male authors: 60

Top Authors
Tim Dorsey (5)
David G. Hartwell (5)
Ira Levin (5)
Ray Bradbury (4)
Kirsten Beyer (3)

J.K. Rowling (3)
John Barnes (2)
Christopher L. Bennett (2)
Lewis Carroll (2)
Joe Haldeman (2)
David Hughes (2)
Jack London (2)
Tim Powers (2)
Robert J. Sawyer (2)
Charles M. Schulz (2)
Robert Charles Wilson (2)

Books by Decade
1840s: 1
1850s: 0
1860s: 1
1870s: 1
1880s: 1
1890s: 2
1900s: 2

1910s: 2
1920s: 0
1930s: 2
1940s: 3
1950s: 2
1960s: 3
1970s: 4
1980s: 8
1990s: 10
2000s: 17
2010s: 40
2310s: 1

Oldest Title
The Murders in the Rue Morgue (Edgar Allan Poe, 1841)

Newest Title
Federation: The First 150 Years (David A. Goodman, 2311)

Final Thoughts

As might be expected, my list is a little genre heavy. Gender and temporal balance are also askew. Next year I'll see if I can increase the number of women authors and mainstream titles, as well as older works and nonfiction.

Tim Dorsey is my favourite find of 2012. His novels about murder, mayhem and mental illness in Florida are uproariously funny, but they can also be quite moving and insightful. I have another five of his books in my library, and I look forward to devouring them.

After having long read about Ira Levin, I finally sampled the man's work, reading five of his seven published novels. It's too bad he didn't write more; Levin's one of very few writers who can make me angry, and he did so in both The Stepford Wives and Rosemary's Baby, both of which centre around good women betrayed by their husbands.

This year I also knocked a few of the essential classics off my longstanding to-read list: The Old Man and the Sea, Heart of Darkness, Shoeless Joe, The Hobbit and a few others. The Hemingway was wonderful, but I found the Kinsella a little too syrupy, the Conrad too overwrought, and Tolkien, despite his nerd cred...well, maybe he's just not my sort of thing, but I'll give The Lord of the Rings a go in 2013 anyway.

After a three-decade break from Ray Bradbury, I returned to one of the greats this year and found his work as compelling (if sentimental) as ever. I read three of the four Bradbury titles on this list before he died, and I felt irrationally guilty about it. Maybe he would have lived if I hadn't picked up another of his books, or if I'd never stopped reading his work. Crazy, of course.

A few of the books on this list were duds, notably some of the media tie-in novels, but that's to be expected; as Theodore Sturgeon famously wrote, "Ninety percent of everything is crap." But we keep reading in search of those hidden gems.

Speaking of reading, thanks to everyone who read the blog this year - there seem to be more of you, and I'm happy that you're finding something entertaining here.

Happy New Year!


Carolyn said...

This is totally awesome! Well done. I'm inspired to try for 100 books this year.

Never for Ever said...

You beat me to it! Although try as I might I just couldn't hit 100:
Hmmmmm, maybe if I added in all the children's books Leslie made me read and a few of the manuals and such from work... Maybe, maybe....

You might want to check out this year's project:, who knew you were so inspirational? :-)

Earl J. Woods said...

Drop me a line when your list is complete, Carolyn - I'm always looking for recommendations.

85 is pretty close, BLaZe, and I might not have made 100 myself if I hadn't had some extra free time this year. As for being inspirational, who knew? Certainly not me...but I look forward to seeing a post a day from you!

Totty said...

It's too bad you've now read the Hobbit, I was hoping to hear your review of the movie. I was disappointed with and annoyed by it, and I wondered if I couldn't let go of the changes from/additions to the book.

Earl J. Woods said...

Reading The Hobbit may very well have spoiled the film for me, since I really have a hard time seeing how they'll stretch the book's short and straightforward story into six hours of films. I imagine there must be an awful lot of padding.