Books of 2012

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I star­ted using Goodreads this year to keep track of my read­ing. Here’s my list of books. It looks like a lot, but over a year it’s only just over 1 a week, which isn’t that good going, seeing as I’m a fast read­er (more visu­al than audit­ory).

1) Jonath­an Strange and Mr Norell- Susanna Clarke (re-read)
2) The Ladies of Grace Adieu- Susanna Clarke (re-read)
I really hope Susanna Clarke comes up with the sequel she’s prom­ised soon.
3) Prob­lem at Pollensa Bay- Agatha Christie
4) Crooked House- Agatha Christie
5) Puffin by Design- Phil Baines
6) How to Make Jewellery with Tatty Devine
7) Love- Angela Carter

8) Who Paid the Piper? the CIA and the Cultur­al Cold War- Frances Stonor Saun­ders
This book was not half as excit­ing as it soun­ded. I was disap­poin­ted.

9) A Life Like Other People’s- Alan Bennett

10) The Pillow Book- Sei Shon­agon
The diary/​book of lists of a woman in the Imper­i­al Court in 10th Century Japan

11) A Prop­er Educa­tion for Girls- Elaine di Rollo

12) Ulysses- James Joyce
I seri­ously read the whole thing for univer­sity. It’s more fun if you read it separ­ately chapter by chapter and have a firm grasp of the story of the Odys­sey.

13) How to be an Illus­trat­or- Darrel Rees

14) Wolf Hall- Hilary Mantel
As good as they say. I was in the Nation­al Portrait Gallery soon after, and I found myself only want­ing to look at paint­ings from that time peri­od.

15) Reflec­tions on the Magic of Writ­ing- Diana Wynne Jones
I bought it soon after attend­ing her memori­al, which was a little sad

16) On Monsters: an Unnat­ur­al History of Our Worst Fears- Steph­en T. Asma

17) Oulipo Compen­di­um- Alastair Brotch­ie
Surreal­ist word games

18) The New Moon With the Old- Dodie Smith
19) The Town in Bloom- Dodie Smith
There’s a reas­on her other books have been totally forgot­ten.

20) The Time of the Ghost- Diana Wynne Jones (re-read)

21) After Effects Hands on Train­ing- Chad Fahs
This book is incred­ibly tedi­ous, but useful.

22) The Spell­coats – Diana Wynne Jones (re-read)
I went on a spate of re-read­ing Diana Wynne Jones books after attend­ing her memori­al

23) The God Beneath the Sea- Leon Garfield

24) Orph­eus- Ann Wroe

25) It Ends with Revel­a­tions- Dodie Smith

26) Unseen Academ­ic­als- Terry Pratch­ett
I didn’t have to pay for this, and I didn’t really enjoy it, so it’s prob­ably a good thing I didn’t buy it. I used to really like Terry Pratch­ett when I was a kid, and partic­u­larly like the fact that he always had a new book ready for Christ­mas, but when I was about 13 or so I suddenly spot­ted how simil­ar most of his books are, and it was never really the same after that. This one was about foot­ball, and I don’t like sports, and most of the jokes went over my head.

27) Tales from Earth­sea- Ursula K. Le Guin
I loved these books when I was a kid, and I never real­ised this book of short stor­ies exis­ted. The Studio Ghib­li film is ok, it has lovely visu­als, but they jumbled up the plots of three books and it just didn’t work. The less said about the shit, white-washed tv show version the better.

28) The Tombs of Atuan- Ursula K. Le Guin (re-read) 
This was always my favour­ite out of the series

29) The Farthest Shore- Ursula K. Le Guin (re-read)

30) Tehanu- Ursula K. Le Guin (re-read)

31) The Other Wind-Ursula K. Le Guin (re-read)

32) The Space Trilogy- C.S. Lewis
These 3 books are the most ludicrous thing ever. C.S. Lewis tries to do Chris­ti­an space travel stor­ies with a univer­sity profess­or hero. Has giant otters, a room with a spotty ceil­ing full of modern art designed to send you mad, a ridicu­lously over the top s&m butch police­wo­man villain and all sorts of weird stuff (espe­cially in the third book)

33) Sleep­ing Murder- Agatha Christie

34) Cat Among the Pigeons- Agatha Christie
Look, I like unchal­len­ging detect­ive stor­ies, ok?

35) Heroes and Villains- Angela Carter

36) Breverton’s Naut­ic­al Compen­di­um – Terry Brever­ton

37) The Oxford Book of Ballads- James Kings­ley
Come ye, all maid­ens fair. Ballads as in a certain type of Scot­tish poem, not a cheesy lovesong.

38) Tales of the Unex­pec­ted- Roald Dahl
They’re not so unex­pec­ted if you’ve seen the tv show, which I have. I was also super­vising a kid’s foot­ball game while read­ing this. (Perfectly allowed, I should add- I just had to be there in case of acci­dents). I think it’s one of my all-time favour­ite tv theme tunes.

39) Jane Austen’s England- Maggie Lane
I was expect­ing a social history book, it was more like a guide­book of houses to visit.

40) T.S. Eliot, a Memoir- Robert Sencourt
More like T.S. Eliot, an Arse Kiss­ing. Still, I learnt that Eliot had a habit of bring­ing whoopie cush­ions to boring meet­ings at Faber to liven things up

41) Writ­ing: The Stor­ies of Alpha­bets and Scripts- Georges Jean

42) Syd Barrett- A Very Irreg­u­lar Head
I got this in Cambridge while doing a school trip. I’m firmly against anything Roger Waters has produced. Pompous nonsense.

43) A History of the Vikings- Gwyn Jones

44) The Incas: Empire of Blood and Gold

45) How Maxine Learned to Love Her Legs and Other Tales of Grow­ing Up- ed. Bonnie Greer
I read this while visit­ing my friend Chella up in Shef­field. This book is recom­men­ded.

46) Master­ing the Art of Fabric Print­ing and Design- Laurie Wisbrun

47) How to Create a Port­fo­lio and Get Hired- Fig Taylor

48) Girls to the Front: the True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolu­tion- Sara Marcus
I enjoyed this book, and liked the fact that it tried to tell the story from multiple view­points

49) Noth­ing to Envy: Ordin­ary Lives in North Korea
I find North Korea fascin­at­ing, espe­cially as you don’t get to hear very much from the people them­selves. The end of the regime can’t come soon enough.

50) Death and the Penguin- Andrey Kurkov

51) Mr Norris Changes Trains- Chris­toph­er Isher­wood

52) Good­bye to Berlin- Chris­toph­er Isher­wood
Clas­sic books. I still need to watch the tv drama about Isher­wood with Matt Smith

53) The Pois­on­wood Bible- Barbara King­solv­er
Anoth­er clas­sic. An arrog­ant bible-thump­ing Amer­ic­an preach­er drags his family to the Congo in the 1960s. A great novel about the begin­ning of the end for the European empires.

54) The Aleph and Other Stor­ies- Jorge Luis Borges
I can’t recom­mend Jorge Luis Borges enough

55) Guns, Germs and Steel- Jared Diamond
The books are far better than the docu­ment­ar­ies. Discov­ery Chan­nel docu­ment­ar­ies always seem to re-explain things too many times, and break things down into too-small chunks. Maybe I’m used to the slower, more involved style of BBC docu­ment­ar­ies.

56) The Quest for Arthur’s Britain- Geof­frey Ashe
An archae­ology book rather than a New Age one. Once when I was brows­ing in the book­shop in Tint­a­gel, an Itali­an man asked at the counter if they had a nice edition of the Morte D’Arthur, because he wanted to buy a present for a profess­or of medi­aev­al poetry. The wafty hippy woman at the counter tried to aggress­ively sell him Mists of Avalon instead (ie, slightly trashy 80s novels) because they were “more femin­ine and intu­it­ive”.

57) Why Iceland?- Asgeir Jonsson
This turned out to have more dry descrip­tions of the work­ings of Iceland­ic banks than I was hoping.

58) Ausper­ity: Living the High Life on a Low Budget- Lucy Tobin
I borrowed this, I didn’t really pick up any tips I wasn’t already using. I guess I’m just broke rather than in need of money-saving tips.

59) At Home: A Short History of Private Life- Bill Bryson
I enjoyed this, but Bill Bryson is not always the most trusty purvey­or of facts

60) The Basque History of the World- Mark Kurlansky
The Basques have had far more influ­ence on world history than people real­ise

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