In the past, when posting an overview of my reading for the year I’d mention the number of books I had read (175 this year) and my top 10, or there-abouts, favourite titles. This year I’m going with a different approach since a lot changed in my reading in the past twelve months.
2012 was the first year during which I received books specifically for review and, if I’m honest, I have to admit that maybe I went a bit over the top with the amount of books I requested. Of the 175 books I read 101 were for the two review-sites I receive copies from. While this did give me the opportunity to discover titles and authors I might otherwise never have picked up, it also meant that I was often in a rush to get a certain book read and reviewed by a certain date. Most of the time this was not a problem but I did find myself feeling slightly guilty whenever it took me “too long” to get a certain review up and that did not make for a more pleasurable reading experience. But, we learn as we go along, and it is my intention to show a bit more restraint when it comes to requesting review titles next year.
2012 was also the year during which I re-discovered erotic fiction. I had read books in that genre in my late teens and early twenties but then it stopped. Not so much because I didn’t want to read those books anymore but more because I didn’t come across them anywhere and had enough other books I wanted to read to not go actively looking for them. I have to blame/thank the FiftyShades of Grey phenomena for reacquainting me with the genre. My reviews of those books will tell you everything you need to know about what I thought about them. All I want to say about them here is that I am glad that curiosity made me read them and subsequently encouraged me to find out what else was available and worth reading in that genre. Of course my voyage of (re)discovery showed me that in erotic fiction, as in any other genre, there are a few very worthwhile titles as well as lots that are entertaining and some that are rubbish. I’m just grateful to have discovered one or two authors of erotica that have impressed me so much that they are now on my “must read” list.
Below I will mention a few titles and authors that impressed me last year. Most of the books listed are by authors I newly discovered in 2012. These are not necessarily the books that scored the highest ratings but rather stories that will stay with me for one reason or another, characters that touched me as well as books that I know I will be returning to at some point in the future:
Bury your Dead and A Trick of the Light two mysteries by Louise Penny who always manages to completely engage me with her characters, setting and plots.
Broken Harbour by Tana French in which a good mystery is combined with a heartbreaking and very contemporary plot.
The Holy Thief and The Bloody Meadow by William Ryan. Two mysteries set in Stalin’s Soviet Union by an author I discovered this year.
Bring Up the Bodies by Hillary Mantel is the second part in her well written and fascinating trilogy about Thomas Cromwell and Henry VIII.
An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears; the last book I read this year. This historical mystery completely blew my mind and will stay with me for a very long time.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: The master of the YA genre delivered a book that managed to be both heart-breaking and uplifting.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. This book about the Second World War managed to take me completely by surprise and made me delighted that I had once again broken my vow to never read about that period again.
Dystopian/Alternative history/Urban Fiction:
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. A shocking, thought-provoking and fascinating story that had me thinking for days.
The Company of the Dead by David J. Kowalski was a very interesting story about an alternative future and the attempts to correct past mistakes.
Slave and Need by Sherri Hayes: The first two titles in a quartet with a BDSM theme and very little sexual content. Heartbreaking and thought-provoking reads.
The Siren, The Angel and The Priest by Tiffany Reisz. These are extremely well written, explicit and very clever books about characters I couldn’t help getting attached to. In fact I would pay good money to spend a day in the company of these characters.
I can only hope that 2013 will be as good a reading year for me as 2012 was.