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2012 Year Of Reading Round-Up

This year I read 50 books in full, unfortunately still on a downward spiral like last year. I have written a review, or intend to write a review, of every one of those books, according to the goal I set myself. Having found the same as other bloggers, that writing a review helps the memory, and irritation with myself that the books I’ve not reviewed are sort of lost to the abyss, I intend to keep this up in 2013, too. Of the 50 books I read, 7 were non-fiction. I’m really trying to read more non-fiction and have found the pitches I receive to have helped a lot.

My best of the best list is, more than ever this year, a reflection of my aims to be objective. Thus you will not find my personal favourites in this selection, except of course where my personal feelings on a book matched the objective rating. A list of my personal favourites can be found after the lists of books.

As always, books that have been reviewed have a line underneath them and the title links to the review. The personal favourites is just a paragraph of book covers, because those covers (plus review links) are of course in the objective lists too.

The Best Of The Best

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  • Dodie Smith: I Capture The Castle – Cassandra writes about her quirky family who live in the remains of a castle in poverty and seclusion, that is until the Cottons come along. Funny, poignant, and influenced by the Victorians.
  • Elizabeth Chadwick: The Champion – Monday wants a better life, as does Alexander, but a drunken night together changes everything and Monday makes a choice for both of them. One of the best books by Chadwick I’ve read so far.
  • Gayle Forman: Where She Went – Mia split up with Adam after she woke from her coma; it’s three years later and Adam isn’t over it, but meeting Mia might give him the chance to find out why she dumped him. If If I Stay was good, this one is brilliant.
  • J R Crook: Sleeping Patterns – Annelie presents us the writings of Crook, in which she is a character, but Crook is not really dead. Stunning unique fiction.
  • Thomas More: Utopia – A philosophical discussion and debate about the fictional land of Utopia. Very good and lots to talk about, especially as Utopia, the country, isn’t as utopian as our usage of the phrase.
The Rest Of The List

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  • EL James: Fifty Shades Of Grey
My Personal Favourites

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This year was about reading more widely and aiming, for the most part, to choose books that would spurn in-depth and contextual reviews. The only “challenge” I signed up for was The Classics Club, and I’ve let myself take it slowly. I managed to meet a number of specific goals which I will discuss in another post shortly. I’m happy with my reading for this year, albeit that I didn’t get round to reading many of the books I’d planned to tackle, but I have managed to strike off some books I’ve had for a while.

This year was also about spending more time in the community. When I finished my exams that was the first thing I wanted to do, because my study had been intensive and I’d not had time. I’m happy to have “met” so many bloggers in these last six months and to have been able to follow blogs frequently.

Quotation Report

The Baynes family of The Light In The Clearing demonstrate how well, in the absence of knowledge of a foreign language, a word can be substituted for the plural “snags”, and as the Pocket family of Great Expectations shows, a woman brought up in the 1800s to be a thing of beauty and nothing else, was perfectly useless when it came to, well, anything at all. Whilst the heroine of Rebecca reminds us of the sad truth that we have for many years neglected the needs of our elders.

In Torn, Alice finds love amongst dead lizards, compared with Valancy from The Blue Castle who finds it in a much more appropriate beautiful forest on a tiny island. That said, I doubt Alice would wish, as Valancy does, that she could borrow a pair of legs from a cat, so perhaps finding love amongst lizards ensures your mind is kept in reality.

In Slow Summer Kisses Cam has a problem – how can he avoid Anna, and thus avoid kissing her, if she continually puts herself in dangerous situations? Whilst in Before Ever After, Shelley’s problem is that she’s finding it very difficult to eat breakfast while her elderly friend is discussing her great sex life.

If you listen to Rose of I Capture The Castle you may find the man you wish to be in a relationship with spurning your advances. Well, behaving like a bona fide Victorian woman in the 20th century is a bit much, don’t you think? However, if your father is refusing to write and you know that he has another book in him, and if you have a castle tower to spare, you can always lock him up until he’s written something. Or at least you can if you’re a fictional character, doing it in real life might be pushing it a bit far.

If Jodie of Exactly Where They’d Fall tells you she hates absolutely everything, don’t believe her, because for one she likes Drew, and Berges isn’t bad either. But if Jodie’s friend Piper says she’ll make you a dress, look out, you may end up in a peculiar mix of lavender and yellow – it’s what her bridesmaids will be wearing.

In the next few days I’ll be posting my goals for 2013.

What were your favourite books of 2012?



January 2, 2013, 4:25 am

I am in envy of how organized this is.

Laurie C

January 2, 2013, 11:34 am

Yes, it’s very nicely organized! The Night Circus made my list of favorites. I haven’t gotten to N-W yet, but plan to soon. Also The Snow Child which I’ve seen so many raves for and Exactly Where They’d Fall which I think I’ve only heard about from you but you made sound so good!


January 2, 2013, 12:15 pm

I agree, this is so organised! I wish I could have been as organised.

It looks like you read some wonderful books in 2012. Quite a lot of them are titles I enjoyed a lot myself (I Capture the Castle!), or that I am curious to read someday :)

Happy 2013!


January 2, 2013, 1:13 pm

What a fantastic year!! Congrats :) I’m wishing you an even better year of reading in 2013. Happy New Year to you and yours!


January 2, 2013, 1:33 pm

So many interesting books! Love Rebecca and always get excited to see it on a list. Would love to know your thoughts on NW (I liked it too – maybe not quite as much as you did, but it’s one I think about a lot).


January 2, 2013, 3:20 pm

What a wonderful array of books you’ve read this year, and to lay them out by your ratings looks really good. I’m too emotional to be this organised about my thoughts on books. I am always impressed by other people who can though. Good luck for 2013, here’s hoping its another great reading year.


January 2, 2013, 3:22 pm

I have to repeat what the other girls said: so organised!! :)

This year’s target is going to be a lot lower than last year’s (there won’t be one at all I think) and I’ll try to read more from my groaning book case. I Capture the Castle sounds like a great book to start the year with :)

Alex in Leeds

January 2, 2013, 6:33 pm

Looks like you had a good year overall, here’s to a 2013 full of good books!


January 2, 2013, 11:16 pm

I love the way you structured this post!
I’ve been meaning to read I Capture the Castle for years now – I think 2013 is perfect for it. I’ve seen the film and was vaguely disappointed. The book has to be better.
Best Wishes for you in 2013!

Literary Feline

January 3, 2013, 12:44 am

More books to add to my wish list! I received Snow Child for Christmas and am anxious to read it. I need to read Elizabeth Chadwick. I have a book of hers on my shelf, but I haven’t gotten to it yet.

I hope you have a Happy New Year! I look forward to getting to know you more this year.


January 4, 2013, 10:14 pm

That’s beautiful how organized it is! I would do that for my reading year except I have been an absolutely awful blogger this year. Definitely I will be better in 2013 and I can try to do this kind of excellent round-up this December. :p


January 5, 2013, 5:23 pm

Liviania: Thanks! The finished product’s okay, but it took hours.

Laurie: Thank you! I’ve noticed The Night Circus is on quite a few lists, which is great because it is rather experimental at times. The Snow Child is perfect for winter; I’ve read about Exactly Where They’d Fall on GoodReads, but only since I reviewed it myself. I’m hoping Amos finds success with it.

Iris: It took a couple of years to really sort out and many hours to write, which luckily I had this year’s end again. Happy new year!

Jennifer (Relentless Reader): That is exactly what I’m wishing myself ;) And for everyone else, too, of course. Happy new year!

Jennifer (Books, Personally): Yes, I didn’t find Rebecca perfect objective-wise, but personally I can’t help but like it very much. NW was a strange one; it’s difficult to say exactly what everything means but it’s hard to say it’s not a good book overall.

Jessica: Deciding which five to pick as the best took a long time, and sticking to five for my own list was impossible – emotions do play a big part. Yes, 2013 good reading for all!

Tze-Wen: Thanks! A low target is a good idea, it makes any extra books all the better. If you start with I Capture The Castle you’ll have the best motivation and positivity :)

Alex: Yes, and yes!

Anbolyn: Thanks! I watched some of the film after reading the book but gave up. The film is okay but it doesn’t really illustrate the brilliance of the book. And to you, also!

Literary Feline: Perfect time to read The Snow Child. Which Chadwick do you have? Happy new year to you, too. Likewise :)

Jenny: The more I read the longer it takes. It’s nice once it’s finished, though there are likely bugs in it somewhere!


January 15, 2013, 12:26 pm

Wonderful post, Charlie! Looks like you had a wonderful reading year in 2012 – Congratulations! I want to read Dodie Smith’s ‘I Capture the Castle’ sometime. I love Gayle Forman’s ‘If I Stay’ when I read it. I can’t believe that Mia broke up with Adam after the events of the book! Well, I should get the next part and read it and find out what happened. Nice to see J.R.Crook’s ‘Sleeping Patterns’ in your favourites list. Out of the authors you have read my favourite name is Eowyn Ivey :) Though it is belated, Happy New Year 2013! Hope you have a wonderful reading year this year filled with great new books and writers and many beautiful reading moments! Happy Reading!



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