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Dec. 31st, 2011

Repeating the lit meme I did a couple years ago, here is a run-down of my reading habits this year.

How many books read in 2011?
82 (plus three I'm in the midst of right now).  Definitely the lowest number I've read since 2006 (when I started tracking books).

Fiction/Non-Fiction ratio?
23.2% non-fiction (pretty much exclusively on poverty, health, or British or French history)

Male/Female authors?
63.8% female authors.   Relatively even split.

Favorite books read?
I read a great bunch of fiction this year!  Jo Walton's Among Others was truly fantastic (to the extent that I'm even recommending it to people who dislike fantasy) as was Kit Whitfield's In Great Waters. My favorite of all the books I read, however, is Tracy Kidder's Mountains Beyond Mountains.  Kidder has such a light, deft touch, which is necessary when dealing with such heavy and powerful material as poverty and health inequalities. 

Least favorite?
These aren't the worst things I've read, just the most disappointing.  I'm torn between William Gibson's sequels to Pattern Recognition (Zero History and Spook Country) or Rex Stout's A Family Affair.  Gibson's were almost unreadably boring, whereas Stout's was fast-paced but offensive as hell.  Hard to choose between such winners as these!

Oldest book read?
Simon the Coldheart by Georgette Heyer, published in 1925. Sadly, old does not necessarily mean good. 

[info]ambergypsy42's New Blood beat out Karen Sandler's Tankborn by a mere 12 days! Both were published in September 2011.  That's far more modern than most of what I read!

Longest book title?

Shortest title?
Fire, by Kristin Cashore.

How many re-reads?
A few. I loved rereading Fire and Hemlock this month.

Most books read by one author this year?
6 of Patrick O'Brian's Captain Aubrey & Dr. Maturin series.  I despair at the thought of ever running out of these. 

Any in translation?
I think just Zagajewski's Unseen Hand, from the Polish.

How many of this year's books were from the library?
Pretty much all of them. ambergypsy42 kindly gifted me with a copy of New Blood, and I've had Mountains Beyond Mountains waiting on my bookshelf for years, but other than that I think every single thing was from the library.

Book that most changed my perspective:
Possibly Queer and Loathing.  At the time I read it I was also taking a class in HIV/AIDS research methodologies, and the brutally honest, raw emotion of Queer and Loathing was just what I needed to avoid thinking of HIV in dispassionate terms.

Favorite character:
modern Wonder Woman, as written by Jodi Picault and Gail Simone, for her utter badassery.  She is so tough I cannot help but squeal a little when I read her adventures.
Matthew Swift, the slightly loopy, much less physically adept magician from Kate Griffin's series, is my other favorite.  He's endlessly imaginative and inventive, always using the tricks and history of the city to survive.  And he's just as morally centered as Wonder Woman.

Favorite scene:
Possibly when Danaerys Targaren  rode her dragon the first time--or tamed them the second time.  So badass, and we've been waiting since we first saw those eggs in book 1 for the dragons to be ridable!
(highlight to read spoilers from A Dance With Dragons)

Less expected was the moment in Altered Carbon when Kovacs laughs in the face of the all-powerful woman who has him trapped and blows them both up, saying as he does so "That's fucking enough." (a call back to the Quellish philosophy he grew up with)
Sent shivers down my spine.

Favorite quote:
The HMS Surprise has a number of prize ones, but really, any O'Brian book is replete with quotes both witty and insightful.

Most inspirational in terms of own writing?
I love the bad books, because they make my own prose seem less clunky!

How many you'd actually read again?
Definitely the non-fiction and poetry, and probably Among Others, which was an absolute delight.


August books

It is so drizzly and foggy outside that I wish I could be in my bed curled up around a mug of cocoa, reading a book.  Since I can't, here's a quick review of what I read this August.

Historical Fiction

What if facism won in the 1940s?Collapse )

Regency romancesCollapse )

Science Fiction and Fantasy

Science Fiction from the 1970sCollapse )

Classic fantasyCollapse )

MockingjayCollapse )

Mediocre urban fantasyCollapse )


March books

What I read in March 2010 (not including comics):

mechas vs bioengineered monsters! Collapse )

British HistoryCollapse )

romances, mysteries, and a sad memoirCollapse )



Pre-Op Cyborg

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