I read less in 2012 than I have in a long time, for obvious reasons – infants are not conducive to uninterrupted time with a book. 61 books in total – in comparison, I read 85 in 2011, 70 in 2010, 135 in 2009 and 183 in 2008. Apparently you get less free time that you don’t feel the need to do anything but read in as you get older. Who knew.
Best new authors of the year were KJ Parker and Frances Hardinge. KJ Parker writes vaguely speculative (only in the sense of their time and place) novels which are wonderfully written and generally horrifically depressing. My favourites were The Folding Knife and The Hammer, both the sort of novels where you finish reading and then sit around glowering for a while and contemplating the hopelessness of life. I enjoy books like that, in limited doses. Frances Hardinge, on the other hand, writes fantasy YA novels, and I do wish she would write a novel for adults, because her YA novels are just stunning – gorgeously realised, detailed worlds and the most wonderful use of language. I think I read almost everything she’s published, and my favourite was The Lost Conspiracy.
Other excellent books of the year – Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, which a book about wartime that will make you weep hysterically (good times, good times), and The Rook by Daniel O’Malley, which is a terrifically exciting (urban? somewhat) fantasy.
Worst books of the year were the usual selection of dreadful fantasy books, which I should really be more discerning about. Goals for 2013 – to avoid said dreadful fantasy books, to read more books than 2012, and to read some of the books I own that have been sitting unread on my bookshelves for several years.