Tuesday, 11 December 2012
deciding on my books of the year
One of my favourite jobs of the year is coming up - and that's announcing my favourite books of the year, here on my blog! I've done this three (four?) years in a row, and this year i thought i'd make it easier by keeping a master list of absolute favourites as I went along. i'm not sure that's helped at all, though. I'll wrangle with the list of everything i've read for a little while yet, i think.
it was a year that began for me with a rereading of the Hobbit - a book that's been scorched on my memory since we read it at school when i was about seven. I think our class only read highlights together, and I sat at home with our fake leatherbound bookclub edition. So much of it was still so vivid - the ogres and the spider and gollum! but were all these endless battle scenes always here? i guess they were. And i bet they're in the blummin' fillum, too.
looking through the list of books through the year i can see a recent hankering for historical fiction. This was probably set off by last year's christmas discovery of Phllippa Gregory - who held me captive all the holiday season. Through the year i've dipped into a few different epochs and historical adventures, it seems, by a range of different writers. This year has also been a year for exploring historical and contemporary romance novels. It's been a very romantic year, i think.
i also did a fair amount of rereading and comfort reading - which is always handy when i've a lot of my own writing to do. So i went back to those favourites from susan coper and c s lewis - and this time i went as far back as Enid Blyton's Faraway Tree trilogy - and i think that was all for a fantasy novel i half wrote this year and put aside for a while when other commitments called.
I can see patches of classic science fiction and golden age detective fiction in my reading patterns this year, as i went to fill in patches i'd previously missed. I also had crazes on certain people - like when i started reading a whole chunk of sequential kids' novels by Penelope Lively, or rediscovered my adoration of the books of writing guru Natalie Goldberg and needed to catch up with her more recent work.
Oh, and of course I read some stinkers, too. Sometimes by accident, something - even - on purpose! Maybe i'll talk about some of those when I come to present my review of 2012. At the moment i'm looking at a scribbled list of about 122 books i've spent time with this year and it seems like a lifetime's endless supply. A gloriously disorganised mish mash. I feel the need to sort it out somehow, and find a narrative through my reading this year...
at this point, i think i'd go so far as to say that it's been a year all about favourite characters. Following old ones and finding new ones... and reading has been about spending more and more time with particular friendly faces.