A long time ago, way back at the beginning of the year (which now feels like months ago, doesn’t it?) I tweeted about how many books I had read in 2012 and that I’d do a blog post about it. The grand total was 63, which included 19 non-fiction books.
I love knowing what other people are reading (please share in the comments), so I thought I’d give a quick re-cap of some of the books I read last year in case you’re looking to add to your TBR (to be read) pile.
I love series books. Sometimes it’s so hard to finish a book and think that it’s over – there’s no more story. But with series, the story can go on for a long time.
The Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes Series by Laurie King
I discovered the old Granada Television Series Sherlock Holmes a few years ago and finally read all the stories. So I was intrigued by the idea behind King’s series: An aging Holmes, now retired and a beekeeper, meets and marries a woman nearly 40 years his junior. They embark on a series of adventures together.
I started these early last year and read all the books available. The early ones were good, but I soured a bit on the series by the end. Holmes and his wife seemed to spend less and less time together, each going off to solve mysteries separately – and sometimes even separate mysteries. I have not picked up the one just published last fall, but I might re-read the early ones again.
Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
Loved, loved, loved. We’re not talking highly intellectual stuff here, but the story is amazing. The numbers of characters, lands, languages, cultures, storylines, etc., are truly overwhelming – in a good way. You can get lost in these books for hours, and I happily did just that. The only down side is that Martin is very slow to release the next book. The next one won’t be coming out until 2015!
Lady Julia Grey by Deanna Raybourne
I’m not even sure how I stumbled onto these. I bought them all on my Kindle. They are also mysteries, set in the very late 19th century. The snob in me was a little dismayed when I discovered these actually come from a Harlequin imprint – you know, romance! But really, they are very well written, with a clever, sexy hero and the very un-Victorian woman he loves. They are just fun, and everyone needs a fun book every once in a while.
(Just remembered that I found this series using FictFact. It’s a fun site to keep track of all the series books you read and lets you know when new volumes are coming up. Very helpful!)
I also re-read a lot of older Stephen King material. I started reading Stephen King when I was about 14 years old and I still remember how much some of his early worked scared me. Re-reading those is like catching up with an old friend. I also read some more Agatha Christie, devouring over a dozen Hercule Poirot mysteries. They are also fun and easy reads. I usually don’t like mysteries because I can never solve them, but with Hercule Poirot, I don’t seem to mind.
There were a few standouts in non-fiction. First, without question, is The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. I love history, but tend to focus less on modern history. So I decided to tackle this one. It took weeks and some of it was so depressing I could barely stand it. But if you want to understand – in some way – how such atrocities could happen, this at least attempts an explanation.
Another eye-opening book was J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and His Secrets. Again, since I don’t know as much about modern history as I should, my knowledge of Hoover was nominal at best. I was simply astounded at the accusations leveled against him in this book; the number of people whose rights he blatantly ignored is staggering. It was actually difficult to read thinking about how many lives he ruined during his decades of running the FBI. He certainly proved the adage that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Finally, the other non-fiction piece that deserves special attention is Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking. While it came out in January of last year, I never got to it until December. It’s a cutting indictment of our extrovert-centric culture and how the loudest person in the room isn’t always the smartest or the one with the best ideas. It should be required reading for every MBA student – and probably their professors as well!
So there’s a little peek into what I spent time on last year. It’s fun to keep track every year and see how my reading patterns and habits change.
What’s on your reading table right now? Please share!