It is the end of the year, which means it is time for one of my favorite activities…making Top Ten lists!
I did not read as much as last year.
Total Fiction: 43
Total Nonfiction: 20
Total Graphic Novels: 16
Read on iPhone/Kindle Keyboard: 9
Average per month: 6.6
Best Month: February, March, April – tie at 11
Worst Month: July, November – tie at 3
Top 5 Fiction books read this year:
- The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
- Tenth of December by George Saunders
- TransAtlantic by Column McCann
- All That Is by James Salter
- A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
Top 5 Nonfiction books read this year:
- Becoming A Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett
- Running with the Pack by Mark Rowlands
- The Lady and the Monk: Four Seasons in Kyoto by Pico Iyer
- Thrive by Brandon Brazier
- Carnet de Voyage by Craig Thompson
This was a good year for film. There were many movies that I liked a lot and wish I had more space on my list. I think that this is the first year I’ve included so many documentaries too.
- Upstream Color (dir. Shane Caruth)
- Before Midnight (dir. Richard Linklater)
- Computer Chess (dir. Andrew Bujalski)
- Blue is the Warmest Color (dir. Abdellatif Kechiche)
- Spring Breakers (dir. Harmony Korine)
- Stories We Tell (dir. Sarah Polly)
- American Hustle (dir. David O. Russell)
- To the Wonder (dir. Terrence Malick)
- Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (dir. Mike Lerner, Maxim Pozdorovkin)
- Much Ado About Nothing (dir. Joss Whedon)
Honorable Mention (alphabetical order):
- The Act of Killing (dir. Joshua Oppenheimer)
- Blackfish (dir. Gabriela Cowperthwaite)
- Don Jon (dir. Joseph Gordon-Levitt)
- 12 Years a Slave (dir. Steve McQueen)
- The Wolf of Wall Street (dir. Martin Scorsese)
**I still haven’t seen Inside Llewyn Davis or Her yet. They are two of my most anticipated of the year and my list could change once I see them.
Articles & Blog Posts
In 2013 we said goodbye to Google Reader and I opted to let my RSS feeds slip away rather than transfer them to another application – a reboot of my information consumption. In light of that, I did not read as many articles or blog posts this year. Nevertheless, here are a few of my favorites:
- Cosmopolitans: It’s not just me, you and everyone we know. Citizens of the world have moral obligations to a wider circle of humanity by Nigel Warburton, Aeon Magazine
- Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange: our new heroes by Slavoj Žižek, The Guardian
- Ripping Off Young America: The College-Loan Scandal by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone
- What the Hell Are We Doing Here Peter Ludlow interviewed by Richard Marshall, 3A.M. Magazine
- Tennis With Plato by Mark Rowlands, Aeon Magazine
- In the Belly of the Beast by Paul Solotaroff, Rolling Stone
- Thanksgiving in Mongolia by Ariel Levy, New Yorker
- Why Even the Worst Bloggers Make Us Smarter by Clive Thompson, Wired
- Treme as a New Kind of Television by Adam Kotsko, An und für sich
- The Fuzzy Now by Jamais Cascio, Open to the Future
- An Ultrarunner’s Long Road Back by Rachel Levin, Outside Magazine
Read a lot of stories and think about what the stories you encounter mean for your own life and the lives of those you love. In that way, you will not be alone with an empty self; you will have a newly rich life with yourself, and enhanced possibilities of real communication with others. – Martha Nausbaum
2012 was a big year in reading for me. I read a 63 works of fiction, 26 works of non-fiction, and 20 graphic novels.
My New Favorite Author:
This was the year that I discovered the works of Michael Ondaatje, an author that blew my heart out with every sentence. His haunting and dream-like novel Divisadero is my favorite work of fiction read in 2012. I first read it in March and then again in August after I’d cycled through all of his other novels at least once (or in the case of Anil’s Ghost, twice). I also read a lot of his poetry, though not in book form. My favorite poem by him is The Cinnamon Peeler. It makes me long to visit Sri Lanka.
I also read more contemporary books this year than in years past. There was a lot of good stuff that came out in 2012 and I didn’t get to nearly as much of it as I would have liked. Of particular note were a few debut books from authors like Christopher Beha, G. Willow Wilson, Robin Sloan, Katherine Boo, Lawrence Osbourne, and Kevin Powers. There were also some strong books by established authors like Andrew Miller, Per Petterson, Jami Attenberg, Scott Lasser, Paolo Bacigalupi, and Graham Joyce.
My Top Ten Books published in 2012:
- What Happened to Sophie Wilder by Christopher Beha
- Can Animals Be Moral? by Mark Rowlands
- Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
- Pure by Andrew Miller
- The Yellow Birds by Kevin Powers
- It’s Fine By Me by Per Petterson
- Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
- Wild by Cheryl Strayed
- 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson
- Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo
Honorable Mention: The Forgiven by Lawrence Osbourne, Every Love Story is a Ghost Story by D.T. Max, Eat and Run by Scott Jurek
Full list of stats:
All titles can be found HERE.
Total Fiction: 63
Total Non-Fiction: 26
Total Graphic Novels: 20
# of above read as eBooks: 15
Average per month: 9.1
Average per week: 2.1
Best month: November (13 titles)
Worst month: January (5 titles)
Favorite Fiction Book Read: Divisidero by Michael Ondaatje
Favorite Fiction Book published in 2012: What Happened to Sophie Wilder by Christopher Beha
Favorite Non-Fiction Book Read: *The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film* Michael Ondaatje
Favorite Non-Fiction Book published in 2012: Can Animals Be Moral? by Mark Rowlands
Favorite Graphic Novel Read: Habibi by Craig Thompson
Favorite Graphic Novel published in 2012: any of The Unwritten titles by Mike Carey that came out this year
Cory Doctorow’s recent talk at the EBLIDA-NAPLE 20th annual conference in Copenhagen is worth spending 14 minutes on. He addresses the issues that librarians should be thinking about in regards to the future of e-books in our libraries. The first 13 minutes lead up nicely to his final plea to librarians (emphasis mine).
It is a feature and not a bug of ebooks that two people can read them at the same time…We are the people of the book and it’s time to start acting like it.
In conclusion, I have a simple but radical proposal for you. Stop buying ebooks with DRM on it. Period. I know it’s not easy, librarianship is not easy, librarianship has never been easy – ask the people at Alexandria. You are, after all, the specialists who safeguard information in the information age. Access to information has always been a radical political act. But you wouldn’t accept a publishers demand that its representatives be allowed to put hidden cameras in your collection to discover who was reading which books. You wouldn’t accept a publishers demand for access to your circulation records. You wouldn’t accept a journal publisher who said that your physical copies had to be confiscated and burned if you terminated your subscriptions. The digital equivalents are no more acceptable than the physical ones.
Last night I put up a short post at Tame the Web. Reproduced below:
Clive Thompson recently gave an excellent interview on the findings tumblr as part of their “How We Will Read” series. In the interview, Thompson discusses his ideas on eBooks, social reading and the future of print. But I think that his thoughts about print on demand books are the most interesting.
What you see with print on demand in the last couple of years is that there’s been explosion in the number of things printed, but they’re printed in small quantities: three, four, five copies total. They tend to be things like very specialty books; weird memoirs only three or four people want to read; mementos: people put together photographs of their vacation with a little writeup. You get books that get updated in curious new ways. The University of Calgary hosted the former prime minister of Canada, Kim Campbell, and offered to sell copies of her book at her event. But her book was out of print. So she got the digital file, wrote two new chapters, a new introduction, and they printed 50 copies of it for the event.
Justin Hoenke‘s recent webinar has me thinking about the idea of libraries as “content creators.” This is probably why I get so excited to read Thompson’s thoughts and then connect them with the video from the Sacramento Public Library that I’ve embedded below. The possibilities with a print on demand machine in a library are many, and the programming and communities that could spring up around it would be fun, creative, and informative – for all ages.
I finished reading the fantastic science fiction novel Hyperion last night. Dan Simmons weaves several wonderfully complex and touching narratives within the narrative. It takes all 482 pages to really start to understand the world and the characters that Simmons has carefully crafted.
For anyone who has read or plans to read Simmons inventive and exciting work, this short animation will help immensely with the concept of time dilation, which Simmons uses to great effect in the novel.