For Christmas last year I received a Kindle. My enthusiasm about reading was kick started largely because of the Song of Ice and Fire series. With a change in jobs and spending nearly two hours on the bus each day the Kindle got a lot more use in 2012 than I originally anticipated. Over the year I read some really good books, and some not so good ones.
With the help of Goodreads.com I was able to keep track of what I read and what I wanted to read next. According to my stats I am on pace to read 35 books this year. Some were short (“The Stranger”, “Lord of the Flies”), some were graphic novels (“The Dark Knight Returns”) but for the most part they were fairly large reads that took me a few weeks to get through.
Some highlights included the Hunger Game series, Lord of the Rings trilogy and several books from the Orson Scott Card “Ender’s Game” universe. It was nice to settle into a few books and binge on them. The week and a half Jenna and I read the Hunger Game series together was compulsive and very fun. We kept pace with each other while reading and were able to look up and go “can you believe this happened?” to each other and keep on reading.
Going into this year I didn’t know what kind of books I liked. Growing up I read a lot of Michael Crichton, John Grisham, Chuck Palahniuk and that was it. If I hadn’t been introduced to the author through a movie adaptation of one of their other books I was probably not interested. Now, 12 months later I can safely say that I prefer science fiction/fantasy, but I went through a bit of a strange path to realize this.
Reading “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” was engaging but “Life of Pi” failed to earn accolades from me that others easily throw to the book. I also like single story books, which I contradict with A Song of Ice and Fire and Lord of the Rings but I dropped “Oryx and Crake”, “Hyperion” and “Dark Tower” after the first book because of what laid ahead and how I felt about the first book. I should be a little more lenient on this rule because I know I am missing out on some epic fantasy sagas (ie: The Wheel of Time) but multiple books, let alone something that you need three hands to count the number in a series, may be a little too ambitious for me.
Throughout the year I kept thinking about “Ender’s Game”. I enjoyed “Ender’s Shadow”, and to an extent “Speaker of the Dead”, but “Ender’s Game” was something else. The story, the world and the characters were captivating and the book just made me happy. I didn’t expect a book like that to stick with him for this long and it’s surprises like that which make reading a book you have no knowledge of beforehand kind of fun.
Speaking of characters JK Rowling’s characters in “A Casual Vacancy” were amazing. Each character had a unique voice in their chapter and some were so flawed that you became upset at their actions, or lack thereof. Rowling has a way of writing a world that you feel like you’re witnessing as a passer-by on the street and I hope she continues to release more books like this at her own pace.
I am finishing the year the same way I started it: reading a book from A Song of Ice and Fire by re-reading “A Storm of Swords”. I will continue to read in 2013, perhaps explore some books on my “to read” shelf and maybe start on some larger fantasy series.