How many books read in 2012? As of December 25, I'd read 95 books this year. That's a record! Last year I clocked in around 82 or 83. I don't know why I've read so much more this year! I think the amount of quick-reading crime fiction probably helped.
How many fiction and non fiction? 12 nonfiction and the rest fiction. So it's almost like I read the same amount of fiction as total books read last year and all the additional books were nonfiction.
Male/Female author ratio?
A huge difference for me this year- 63 books by male authors versus 31 by women. Usually it's split down the middle or favors the women. I don't have an explanation for this but I'll be picking more women writers off my TBR pile when I get a chance.
Favorite book of 2012?
My favorite 2012 release was Absolution by Patrick Flanery. The story of Clare Wald and Sam Leroux and the secrets, lies and truths that bind them and tear at them is riveting and beautifully written; Patrick Flanery may be a debut author but he writes like a seasoned vet tackling tough social, historical and personal issues. A biographer faces off against a seemingly unwilling writer; it's not so much a battle of wits as a slow unraveling. The perspective shifts between the two and the book that Clare is writing about her dead daughter Laura, a disappeared activist who was taking care of the child Sam just before she vanished. It's a staggering, wonderful and accomplished book. I hope his subsequent books live up to the promise of his astonishing debut.
Couldn't tell you. I don't finish books I'm not enjoying these days.
Any that you simply couldn’t finish and why?
A few. Victorine, by Maude Hutchins. Just couldn't get into it. More I've forgotten about and already weeded.
Oldest book read:
The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, published originally in 1910.
The Twelve Tribes of Hattie, by Ayana Mathis. It came out in mid-December and I bought it the first day.
Longest and shortest book titles?
Lovers by Daniel Arsand; From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant by Alex Gilvarry.
Longest and shortest books?
State of the Union by Howard Zinn was probably the shortest; Little, Big, by John Crowley was probably the longest. It felt like the longest!
How many books from the library?
Well, I'm listening to The Secret History of MI6 right now, an audio I borrowed. That might be it!
Any translated books?
Season of Migration to the North (Arabic); Lovers (French); The Shape of Water (Italian); 70% Acrylic 30% Wool (Italian); How I Became a Nun (Spanish); My Brilliant Friend (Italian); Tyrant Memory (Spanish); Garage Band (Italian); I Hadn't Understood (Italian); Drowned (Swedish); Singing from the Well (Spanish); Before Night Falls (Spanish); Second Person Singular (Hebrew); Limassol (Hebrew); Days of Abandonment (Italian); Pinocchio (Italian); Divorce Islamic Style (Italian); Happy Birthday, Turk! (German); Tropic Moon (French); The Secret in Their Eyes (Spanish); The Art of Hearing Heartbeats (German); Me and You (Italian); The Nun (Italian); The Goodbye Kiss (Italian); Varamo (Spanish); Obabakoak (Basque and Spanish); Bandit Love (Italian).
Most read author of the year, and how many books by that author?
Two each from César Aira (How I Became a Nun and Varamo), Massimo Carlotto (Bandit Love and The Goodbye Kiss), Elena Ferrante (Days of Abandonment and My Brilliant Friend) and Reinaldo Arenas (Before Night Falls and Singing from the Well).
No re-reads this year! But I won't consider myself done with Christopher Priest's The Islanders, which I'm still reading, until I've re-read it at least once.
Favorite character of the year?
Varamo of César Aira's eponymous book. Oh my goodness I loved that book! I also loved, in the love-to-hate sense, Giorgio Pellegrini, the gleeful psychopath at the center of The Goodbye Kiss by Massimo Carlotto.
Which countries did you go to through the page in your year of reading?
Through books I went to Russia, Iraq, England, Argentina, France, Italy, Morocco, Ireland, Hungary, Sweden, Cuba, Nigeria, Tibet, Germany, Australia, Gabon, Burma, India, Afghanistan, Israel, South Africa, the Netherlands, Jamaica, Guantanamo Bay, Basque Spain, Sudan and the United States. I also visited the imaginary countries of Panem, Mollisan Town, the Dream Archipelago, the Homeland and the Railsea.
Which book wouldn’t you have read without someone’s specific recommendation?
The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt, thanks to the extraordinary Ann Kingman of Books on the Nightstand.
Which author was new to you in 2012 that you now want to read the entire works of?
César Aira. I'm obsessed!
Which books are you annoyed you didn’t read?
None really. I mean, there are dozens I should have read but annoyed? I'm not annoyed I didn't get to anything this year. I do the best I can! I think I would have liked to have gotten to Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson. And I still haven't read Skippy Dies by Paul Murray.
Did you read any books you have always been meaning to read?
Before Night Falls, by Reinaldo Arenas, an amazing autobiography everyone should read.
2012 TOP TEN Book Events in Marie's Book Life - in no particular order:
- Working at Porter Square Books and getting to know the great staff and customers- really number one!
- Going to the Europa Editions head office in Rome and meeting owners Sandro and Sandra Ferri and the team.
- Bookhunting in Florence, Rome and Sorrento.
- Seeing the Life of Pi movie.
- Participating in World Book Night. I passed out Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried.
- A quick trip to New York for my birthday and more book hunting.
- Hosting a book blogger night at Porter Square Books.
- Meeting Jeanette Winterson after she read from her autobiography.
- Interviewing Marc Fitten, Alex Gilvarry and Dan Wilbur for the blog. I don't do many interviews these days and these were fun.
- 2 guest stints on the Literary New England podcast.