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Stella Matutina
books and stories and musings, oh my!
2012 In Review 
1st-Jan-2013 04:09 pm
Happy New Year, y'all!

So. Year in review post. Let's dive right in with a series of compartmentalized categories that should, in theory, allow you to skip over anything that doesn't strike your fancy.

Notable Rereads

I never consider rereads for potential inclusion in my yearly Top 5 (or 6, or 7, or whatever) lists because they have an unfair advantage, but I do like to highlight the books that continue to wow me time and again.

I normally limit my reread shout-outs to 4.5-star books and above, but I did revisit some awesome 4-star reads in 2012. It would feel wrong to leave them out.

It's worth noting that I enjoyed BtVS S8 so much that I read it twice back to back, and I don't do that.

I hummed and hawed over whether I should put THE HERO AND THE CROWN on the list, since I ended up eliminating it from my personal library due to the disappointing second half, but I stuck it on there because the first chunk was the most marvellous thing I read all year and that's worth a hell of a lot. Shame about the rest of it.

My 2012 Top 5

This proved remarkably easy to pick, as I only gave 5 new-to-me books 4.5 stars. (How depressing.) In the order I read them, they are:

cover art for Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, featuring a sepia-toned woodcut of a dragon in flight above a medievalesque city
SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman - 4.5 stars

This YA fantasy is perhaps my most recommended book of 2012. If we've talked books for any length of time, I've told you to read it. There are GIRLS WITH GUTS and an AWESOME LOVE STORY and MUSIC and also DRAGONS.

So, go read it. Now, if you please.

cover art for Code Name Verity by Miranda Kenneally, featuring a young white woman and a young white man walking across a football field hand in hand. The picture is cropped so their heads aren"t visible. The girl wears a pair of cut-offs and a brown tank top and carries a purple football helmet. The boy wears a pair of loose jeans and a beige t-shirt
CATCHING JORDAN by Miranda Kenneally - 4.5 stars

Sports stories rarely fail to delight me, and this was one hell of a sports story. I became deeply invested in quarterback Jordan's life on and off the field. She's a hell of a girl, y'all. I want you to meet her.

cover art for Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, featuring two white left hands bound together with white twine against a black background
CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein - 4.5 stars

I never reviewed this historical spy novel because my reaction is intimately tied to the narrative's many unreliabilities, none of which I wish to spoil. Suffice it to say that every good thing you've heard about it is true. (I assume you have heard good things about it, on account of you spent time perusing the bookish parts of the Internet last year.) It's a deeply affecting book about the friendship between two young women, and my god, is the climax ever stupendous.

If I think about it any more, I'll start crying.

cover art for Sorcery & Cecelia, featuring the silhouette of a chocolate pot and a painting of a few flowers against a parchment background, with a quill pen and a pot of ink arrayed overtop cover art for The Grand Tour, featuring the silhouette of a horse-drawn carriage and a painting of a few flowers against a parchment background, with a quill pen and a pot of ink arrayed overtop
SORCERY & CECELIA and THE GRAND TOUR by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer - 4.5 stars each

I had every intention of writing (and posting) gushy reviews for these wonderful epistolary novels, but I'm no longer sure it'll happen. Sigh. Please, don't let that reflect on the books themselves, which are delightful. They're chock full of witty women who clash with maddening (but not unattractive) men as they untangle mannerly magical mysteries in an alternate version of Regency England. I discovered the books in late November and am now on a quest to read every single thing the authors have published, separately or together. It'll be one of my big 2013 reading projects.

And that's that. Five wonderful books by six talented ladies.

Short Fiction:

My insatiable craving for short fiction desserted me a few months into the year, so I fell short of my goal to read 500 short stories in 2012. I didn't do too badly, though, all things considered, ending the year with a respectable tally of 439 stories read.

I don't think I'll set so much as an unofficial goal for 2013. If I feel like reading short fiction, I will. If not, I won't beat myself up over it.

Non-American Activities:

I set out to read at least 60% non-American in 2012, and I surpassed my goal. 68% of my 2012 reading consisted of books by non-American authors, or with non-American contributers (in the case of short fiction anthologies and magazines). Whee!

The obvious course is to aim for 65%, or perhaps even 70%, non-American reading in 2013, but I think I'll take a year off from tracking these sorts of things. More on that in a few days.

Stats, Stats, and More Stats:

I read 248 books and 69,316 pages in 2012. This is down from 293 books and 85,953 pages in 2011.

48 of those books were keepers (ie, books I kept in or added to my permanent collection).

I borrowed 66 of them from the library.

44 of them were sellers (ie, books I sold or gave away).

85 were e-books. Some were purchased, some were ARCs, some were loaners, some were library books, and some were freebies. None of the e-books overlap with my keepers or my sellers.

3 of the books I read in 2012 were loaners (ie, books I borrowed from private individuals).

60 of them were rereads, including the comics I reread multiple times.

As far as genres and marketing categories go, 149 of my 2012 reads were fantasy.

56 were comics.

51 were children's or young adult novels.

47 were horror.

43 were science fiction.

41 were historical.

35 were general fiction.

32 were romance or erotica.

30 were short fiction anthologies, collections, and magazines/journals.

12 were nonfiction.

6 were crime fiction.

1 was poetry.

There's some overlap between these categories.

A few other stats I tracked last year:

155 of the books I read were by women. 105 were by men. There's some overlap between these, as a few had both male and female coauthors.

Around 167 were by non-Americans. I think I missed a couple on this tally, since the percentage doesn't match up with the stats my reading spreadsheet calculated for me.

30 were by Canadians.

59 had significant LGBT content.

I rated 63 books 4 stars or higher.

I abandoned 10 books after the 100 page mark. I also bailed on several before this cut-off point (which determines whether or not I'll count the book in my yearly reading tally).

My handy-dandy reading spreadsheet tells me my 2012 reads cost me $242.85. I paid for 37% of my reading list.

And that's it. How did your 2012 reading go?

Back In the Day:
General Fiction
2nd-Jan-2013 04:28 am (UTC)
You keep a spreadsheet of how much you spent on books?! I am in awe.
9th-Jan-2013 10:47 pm (UTC)
I'd never specifically tracked expenditure before, but I gave it a go last year because it's one of the features on the most recent version of Fyrefly's handy-dandy reading spreadsheet. It's interesting information to have.
2nd-Jan-2013 10:13 am (UTC)
I have absolutely no idea why I still haven't read The Grand Tour despite really enjoying Sorcery and Cecelia. Dear self: fix that.
9th-Jan-2013 10:48 pm (UTC)
I hope you'll enjoy it! I know a few other readers weren't terribly impressed with it, but I enjoyed it just a smidgen less than S&C.
2nd-Jan-2013 03:43 pm (UTC)
What Heidenkind said! I don't think I want to know how much I spent on my books last year o__O what a well organised round-up post too! Will you be taking it a little easier in 2013?
9th-Jan-2013 10:50 pm (UTC)
The expenditure thing was a bit scary. I hope it comes in lower this year.

I've decided to start 2013 with more longer books than not, so I expect I'll end up with a smaller total at the end of the year. I also plan to (try to) abandon more books that just aren't grabbing me so I can have a truly amazing reading year!
4th-Jan-2013 01:06 am (UTC)
Awwwww, Sorcery and Cecilia. I used to check that book out of the library over and over again when I was a kid, because it was out of print. It was so thrilling when they put it back into print, in that lovely hardback with the pretty, stylized cover.

(I also read Code Name Verity earlier this year and got it for my mumsy this Christmas.)
9th-Jan-2013 10:58 pm (UTC)
I bought the relatively new e-book edition from a Cyber Monday sale, then had to log on quickly and buy the other two before the prices went back up. I shall have to see if my library has this lovely hardback so I can gaze upon it.
6th-Jan-2013 12:11 am (UTC) - Best 2012
Code Name Verity and Seraphina seems to be in everyone's best-of-2012 lists. Looking forward to Seraphina's sequel!

I loved the first book of Sorcery and Cecilia, but didn't think the second was all that good, possibly because the epistolary part seemed a bit forced. Still, have the third one in the TBR waiting for it's turn.
9th-Jan-2013 11:22 pm (UTC) - Re: Best 2012
This is because CODE NAME VERITY and SERAPHINA are fantabulous. :)

I've read quite a few poor reviews for THE GRAND TOUR, but it still struck a strong chord with me. I think it helped that I read it so soon after S&C, when my attachment to the characters was still firmly in place.
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