I have a confession to make: Infinite Jest did not happen.
It’s the weight, I think. That book is a veritable door stop; about 20 times the size of my Kindle. Technology may have made us more efficient, but it has absolutely weakened our wrists.
Aside from my Infinite fail, a LOT of reading was done in 2012. 52 books worth? Not quite. I fell short of my goal and read a mere 34 novels, epic poems, anthologies, and works of nonfiction; I only failed to complete one on that list (I’ll get to that).
Considering how much we travel (and I never do read on vacation; if I get a moment of quiet I’m normally asleep), the medical nonsense of 2012 that ate into my conscious-focusing time, and other time-consuming hobbies like making fun of survivalists I’m impressed that I got that far. I began but did not finish most of Charlotte Mason’s first volume on homeschooling. It drags a bit. I also read two sewing books but since they’re mostly patterns they don’t count. Ditto cookbooks. Overall, I’m really pleased that I undertook this exercise. Having both a Kindle and a Kindle app on my iPod Touch were critical for achieving this list; sneaking 10 minutes here and there in the car while waiting to pick someone up or reading late at night without keeping Tom awake wouldn’t have been possible if I was lugging a typical book around. It’s nice to have physical print but for convenience the e-book format can’t be beat.
And now for the superlatives!
Least favorite book that I couldn’t bring myself to finish: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I spent as much time trying to drag myself through this book as I did actually finishing others, so it has a final place on the list.
Least favorite book that I finished: three-way (naughty) tie between 50 Shades of Grey, 50 Shades Darker, and 50 Shades Freed. Why so much hatred? I’ve gotten into it before and I could write volumes more, but I’ll let this stand for itself:
Book I didn’t expect to enjoy much and loved: The Thirteenth Tale. Total book hangover after that one, and I plan to reread it soon.
Best memoir: Kitchen Confidential. I LOVE Anthony Bourdain.
Most conflicted reaction: I Am In Here. This book about a young autistic girl, as written by her mother, had occasional moments of “Oh. YES. THAT.” sprinkled in amidst about 20,000 other words of “No. NO. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU, WOMAN? Your daughter is not sick or broken; stop trying to fix her.” Maggie is verbal; she struggles less with her communicative and sensory challenges than other children. We are still waiting on an official diagnosis, so we can’t even say autism for sure (even though we’ve been led to expect it). But she, and other children like her, are whole and well and capable of valuable contributions just as she is. “Fixing” her is not an issue because she is not broken; the author praises her daughter for her hard work learning to communicate at the same time that she despairs and rends her metaphorical garments and even brings her nonverbal daughter to a faith healer. Yeah. I can’t. I just can’t. Readjusting your expectations is hard and I know what it is like to be scared for your child; I can’t pretend to know much about her life. But I believe her daughter would be better served by a mother who accepts her without trying to force her into a role that goes against who she is.
Favorite laugh: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened. If you don’t know who Beyonce the Chicken is, you need to.
Most helpful: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. It really is as good as they say, and not just for business. This changed how I parent and communicate with the girls and how Tom and I evaluate our progress and where we want to go. It’s excellent.
Favorite overall: Millennium Trilogy (you know it better as the three-book series that begins with The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo). Interesting, well-plotted, enjoyable, and went fast. That’s my kind of book(s).
Onward for 2013! What are you reading these days?