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Books, A Year in Review - 2012, Part I

Old Book Bindings, from Wikimedia CommonsIt's October, which is the month where I stop and review my reading habits for the past year. I've been doing this a few years, now (see previous reviews for 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011). It all started with an article about an AP-Ipsos poll on people's reading habits. Among other things, it pointed out that around 1 in 4 adults in this country hadn't read any books at all in the previous year, and that among those that had, the average number of books read was 6. (Yes, this is the fourth time I've copied that sentence verbatim).

As has become my habit, I'm breaking this up into two entries. In this, the first, I'll reflect on my reading habits (which means it probably won't interest many people), and in the second, I'll give a brief review of each book.

So, here are all the books I read in the last year, sorted by topic (not the order in which I read them).

Children's & Young Adult Fiction

  1. The Capture (Guardians of Ga'hoole, Book 1)
  2. The Journey (Guardians of Ga'hoole, Book 2)
  3. The Rescue (Guardians of Ga'hoole, Book 3)
  4. Dragon Keeper (Book 1)
  5. Garden of the Purple Dragon (Dragon Keeper, Book 2)
  6. Dragon Moon (Dragon Keeper, Book 3)
  7. Kaimira: The Sky Village: Book One
  8. The Hunger Games (Book 1)
  9. Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, Book 2)
  10. Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, Book 3)
  11. Inheritance (The Inheritance Cycle)
  12. The Outsiders

Adult Fiction

  1. Anansi Boys
  2. The Night Circus
  3. Dracula


  1. God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything
  2. The Book of Genesis Illustrated by R. Crumb
  3. The Case for Christ: A Journalist's Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus


  1. The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True
  2. Stealth Fighter: A Year in the Life of an F-117 Pilot
  3. Out Came the Sun: One Family's Triumph over a Rare Genetic Syndrome
  4. City: A Story of Roman Planning and Construction

That makes for 22 books altogether, though I haven't yet finished one of them. That's pretty much in line with my reading habits from previous years. I had 24 in my list last year, but two of those were pretty short (one especially so), a third I never actually finished reading, and a fourth I wrote myself (actually, I could have included that one again this year, as I still read it from time to time).

Once again, my list was heavily tilted towards young adult fiction. This is partly due to having a teenage daughter who recommends books to me, and partly due to the fact that a few young adult series are pretty popular right now.

In a bit of a break from tradition, I didn't read any books specifically devoted to evolution, nor any books by Carl Zimmer. The closest I came to reading about evolution was Richard Dawkins' book, The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True. But have no fear, I have a few evolution related books on the bookshelf just waiting to be read, along with a book by Carl Zimmer, not to mention a few more of his on my wish list.

I started reading Lee Strobel's The Case for Christ. I was planning on doing a similar treatment to what I did for Josh McDowell's More Than a Carpenter, but with all the note taking, I couldn't stay motivated to finish it. I think I'll give it another shot, but without taking so many notes while reading.

I did manage to knock out two more books from this list (Anansi Boys and Dracula).

I also read two books from people I know/have known personally - Stealth Fighter: A Year in the Life of an F-117 Pilot and Out Came the Sun: One Family's Triumph over a Rare Genetic Syndrome. One was written by my neighbor, the other by one of my high school teachers. I may not be the most unbiased reviewer given the circumstances, but I thought they were both very good.

I do find it interesting the way my reading pace can change so much over the course of the year. Some times, I'll read several books a month. Other times, it might take a couple months to finish one book. If I kept my higher rates all year long, I'd probably read more than 30 books a year.

So, I think my reading was fairly well balanced this year, though maybe not quite as well balanced as last year. I still need to devote more time to history and philosophy.

Part II, where I'll post my reviews for each book, is probably still a few weeks out, but stay tuned.

Update 2013-01-21: Part II is finally here.

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