Greetings to all readers and a happy new year! This is the point where it is natural to reflect on the year past and think about the year ahead.
In June 2012, I moved to a new apartment and for whatever reason, this coincided with a drop in my posts to this blog. I thought the opposite would be true. With my move, my commute was considerably shorter and also, I had no roommates. I had more free time. I thought I would post more but instead I posted less. I was still reading and would even mentally outline reviews in my head, but when it came down to it, I balked at the actual writing of them. It usually takes me several hours to write a review and that began seeming like ‘work’ to do, and not much like fun.
It has crossed my mind to stop blogging, but I still want to give it a go, and the beginning of a new calendar year still is enough sometimes to rejuvenate my interest in dormant projects. I want to change-up how I review books in some way that makes it more likely for me to post frequently, and the only idea so far is quite simple: write shorter reviews. This will be hard. When I was on my middle school newspaper staff, my contributions to the advice column answers were easy to pick out for how much longer they were than the others. I realize that it’s not every bloggers’ goal to write shorter reviews, and I do like reading the long reviews from other blogs, but if you have tips on writing shorter reviews, I’d be glad to hear them.
With that said, there are a number of books I read in 2012 that I never reviewed. I may still try to review some of them, but in case you are curious, here is a list of the unreviewed books I read in 2012: The Dam Committee by Earl Smith, Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne, The Shunning by Beverly Lewis, Ox Travels: Meetings with Remarkable Travel Writers, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, Ghost Hunters: William James and the Search for Scientific Proof of Life After Death by Deborah Blum, Auntie Mame: An Irreverent Escapade by Patrick Dennis, Shoot to Thrill by P.J. Tracy, Dreams of Trespass: Tales of a Harem Girlhood by Fatima Mernissi, and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith.
Including re-reads, I read about 46 books this year. It’s definitely less books read than the past couple of years, but includes some chunksters.
I read some great books this year, but there are four that especially stand out:
Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Tiina Nunnally
- This was definitely a transporting reading experience, thanks to Andersen’s storytelling gifts and Nunnally’s accomplished translation.
Here is Your War by Ernie Pyle
- An account of American troops in North Africa during World War II, written by the legendary war correspondent, Ernie Pyle.
Why Evolution is True by Jerry A. Coyne
Several years ago, Newsweek included this book in its list of “50 books for our times.” I’ve been meaning to read it ever since. I know many people – family and friends – for whom belief in the literal interpretation of the biblical creation account is considered essential to Christian faith.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
A classic novel that depicts the coming-of-age of Francie Nolan in early 20th century Brooklyn. The poignancy of this story is unforced, and the sense of place is palpable.
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I hope to be catching up on other blogs’ end-of-year lists but feel free to describe your favorite reads from 2012 in the comments or include a link to your post on that subject.