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January 2nd, 2013

2011 Summary

I have literally only just had a chance to do this, so I'm going to do my 2011 summary, then my 2012 and I'll go back and do reviews of 2012 during this year.

1. Priceless
by Nicole Richie – 291 pages
2. How to Make Gravy
by Paul Kelly – 552 pages
3. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner – 307 pages
4. A Series of Unfortunate Events: Book the Second: The Reptile Room
by Lemony Snicket – 190 pages
5. Nobody’s Prize
by Esther Friesner – 306 pages
6. The Star King
by Susan Grant – 358 pages
7. The Star Prince
by Susan Grant – 395 pages
8. The Star Princess
by Susan Grant – 371 pages
9. Jennifer Government
by Max Barry – 335 pages
10. Angelology
by Danielle Trussoni – 453 pages
11. Beyond the Elastic Limit: An Epic Fable
by Howard Loring – 375 pages
12. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella
by Stephenie Meyer – 178 pages
13. Under the Dome
by Stephen King – 877 pages
14. The Davinci Code
by Dan Brown – 593 pages
15. Goddess of Spring
by P.C. Cast – 360 pages
16. Bare Bones
by Kathy Reichs – 417 pages
17. Goddess of Light
by P.C. Cast – 329 pages
18. Abandon
by Meg Cabot – 304 pages
19. Goddess of the Rose
by P.C. Cast – 342 pages
20. Monday Mourning
by Kathy Reichs – 300 pages
21. Goddess of Love
by P.C. Cast – 292 pages
22. Beastly
by Alex Flinn – 304 pages
23. Warrior Rising
by P.C. Cast – 340 pages
24. Cross Bones
by Kathy Reichs – 348 pages
25. Break No Bones
by Kathy Reichs – 334 pages
26. Goddess of Legend
by P.C. Cast – 309 pages
27. The Legend of Banzai Maguire
by Susan Grant – 327 pages
28. Day of Fire
by Kathleen Nance – 372 pages
29. The Shadow Runners
by Liz Maverick – 327 pages
30. The Power of Two
by Patti O’Shea – 358 pages
31. The Scarlet Empress
by Susan Grant – 356 pages


31 / 50 books. 62% done!

11300 / 15000 pages. 75% done!

Comparison to 2010:

31 / 35 books. 89% done!

11300 / 12261 pages. 92% done!

Top 5 books (not including re-reads):
5.The Power of Two
3.Jennifer Government
2.Under the Dome
1.The Star Princess

Interesting Facts:
Improvement on last year: -4 books (-961 pages)
Library books: 4
Non-fiction: 2
Most read author: P.C. Cast - 6 books/1972 pages
Followed by: Susan Grant - 5 books/1789 pages
Kathy Reichs - 4 books/1399 pages
Books with a fantasy element: 21
Re-reads: 0
Sequels/Not a stand-alone or the first in a series: 20

Goals for 2011:
- Beat 2010 – read at least 36 books/12500 pages - FAILED
- Read at least three classics, those being:
o Wuthering Heights - FAILED
o The Iliad - FAILED Though I did start it.
o The Odyssey - FAILED
- Read at least 5 non-fiction books - FAILED - I only read 2
- Read/finish off the following:
o Finish the last Tudor Court novel (The Other Queen) - FAILED
o Finish reading all of Susan Grant’s books (The Star Trilogy, and the 2176 series) - ACHIEVED
o Finish reading the Robert Langdon books (The Davinci Code and The Lost Symbol) - FAILED - I only read The Davinci Code
o Read the next four Kathy Reichs books (Bare Bones, Monday Mourning, Cross Bones, Break No Bones) - ACHIEVED
o Read the Howl & Sophie series by Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Air, House of Many Ways) - FAILED
o Read the Wicked trilogy (Wicked, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men) - FAILED
o Read the next four Goddess Summoning books (Goddess of Spring, Goddess of Light, Goddess of the Rose, Warrior Rising) - ACHIEVED - In fact I completed the entire series.

So all in all a pretty bad year from a goal perspective. Oh well. That pretty much summed up the year in general, so no hard feelings.

I set myself absolutely no goals for 2012 as I was aware at the time that I would be spending three months living overseas and that this event was likely to disrupt my reading time. In the end, it worked great because I got lots of reading time whilst travelling, but I'm glad I didn't set myself any goals because I would have struggled to meet them.

I will put up a 2012 Summary now and then go back and do reviews, because otherwise, we'll be here forever!

Summary of year 2012

Originally posted by audrey_e at Summary of year 2012
2012 was overall a good reading year. I managed to reach the 50 mark for the first time in three years, and that's because I graduated and also included a lot of plays ;).
For the first time ever, there is a significant portion of non-fiction, which makes me happy because it used to be a New Year's resolution of mine that was never accomplished. I intend to keep reading more non-fiction in 2013
Finally, I'm happy that I managed to read books that had been on my list for years, such as Moby-Dick, American Gods, Slaughterhouse-Five or Nineteen Eighty-Four
Best books of 2012:


Biggest disappointments of 201 (Not necessarily the worst books of the year, but I thought they would be great books and they turned out to be boring and/or very flawed

2012 Summary

So, 2012 is over. The world didn't end as 'prophesied' by the Mayans. The Olympics went off without a hitch - over for another four years (Summer Olympics obviously; in my part of the world the Winter Olympics are a non-event). The Queen had her Diamond Jubilee, and I got to be living in London for it. I spent ten weeks working in Uxbridge, UK - almost as far away as one can get from my home in the Great Southern Land. I got to see some new parts of Europe and a lot of the British Isles. I went to my new favourite country, the U.S of A for a third time, made some new friends while there, and got to see the Atlantic City Boardwalk before Hurricane Sandy blew it all away. Closer to home, my family's house renovations finally got completed, Queensland, my lovely little home state welcomed a new premier and a lot of people lost their jobs. After a horror year in 2011, I somehow found my mojo again and started killing it at work. My book is still up in the air and I haven't found myself a man yet, but 2013 is a new year, and as such, and without a single book review as of yet posted, please find below my 2012 book list!

1. The Pilot’s Wife
by Anita Shreve – 293 pages
2. Great Big Beautiful Doll: The Anna Nicole Smith Story
by Eric & D’eva Redding – 239 pages
3. The Last Warrior
by Susan Grant – 378 pages
4. The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins – 454 pages
5. Catching Fire
by Suzanne Collins – 472 pages
6. Mockingjay
by Suzanne Collins – 455 pages
7. The Penelopiad
by Margaret Atwood – 198 pages
8. Bones to Ashes
by Kathy Reichs – 310 pages
9. Beauty Queens
by Libba Bray – 390 pages
10. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
by Jonathan Safran Foer – 326 pages
11. Devil Bones
by Kathy Reichs – 304 pages
12. Graceling
by Kristin Cashore – 370 pages
13. Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell – 296 pages
14. The Last Anniversary
by Liane Moriarty – 388 pages
15. Hatter M: Volume 3: The Nature of Wonder
by Frank Beddor and Liz Cavalier; illustrated by Sami Makkonen – 187 pages
16. Fire
by Kristin Cashore – 384 pages
17. Bitterblue
by Kristin Cashore – 559 pages
18. Culture Smart! Britain: the essential guide to customs & culture
by Paul Norbury – 164 pages
19. Flat Earth News: An award-winning reporter exposes falsehood, distortion and propaganda in the global media
by Nick Davies – 397 pages
20. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
by Stieg Larsson – 533 pages
21. Radiant Darkness
by Emily Whitman – 274 pages
22. Queen Mary’s Dolls’ House: Office Souvenir Guide
by John Martin Robinson – 56 pages
23. Stonehenge: English Heritage Guidebook
by Julian Richards – 48 pages
24. Experience the Tower of London: Souvenir Guidebook
by Brett Dolman, Susan Holmes, Edward Impey & Jane Spooner – 72 pages
25. Edinburgh Castle: The Official Souvenir Guide
by Chris Tabraham – 64 pages
26. The Essential Roman Baths
by Stephen Bird & Barry Cunliffe – 47 pages
27. The Tenth Circle
by Jodi Picoult – 388 pages
28. Alice I have been
by Melanie Benjamin – 365 pages
29. Going Bovine
by Libba Bray – 480 pages
30. How to Survive a Garden Gnome Attack: Defend Yourself When the Lawn Warriors Strike (and They Will)
by Chuck Sambuchino – 106 pages
31. Explore Hampton Court Palace: Souvenir Guidebook
by Brett Dolman, Sebastian Edwards, Susanne Groom & Marc Meltonville – 75 pages
32. Eilean Donan Castle: Official Guide
by The Conchra Charitable Trust – 24 pages
33. The Girl who played with fire
by Stieg Larsson – 569 pages
34. Harvesting the Heart
by Jodi Picoult – 453 pages
35. Windsor Castle: Official Souvenir Guide
by Jonathan Marsden – 72 pages
36. Ave Judas
by Cassian Brown – 208 pages
37. Delete this at your peril: The Bob Servant Emails
by Neil Forsyth – 210 pages
38. Psyche in a Dress
by Francesca Lia Block – 116 pages
39. The Pact
by Jodi Picoult – 451 pages
40. Size 12 and Ready to Rock
by Meg Cabot – 361 pages
41. Royal Observatory Greenwich: Souvenir Guide
by National Maritime Museum, Greenwich – 78 pages
42. The Accidental Billionaires: Sex, Money, Betrayal and the Founding of Facebook
by Ben Mezrich – 255 pages


42 / 50 books. 84% done!

11869 / 15000 pages. 79% done!

Comparison to 2011:

42 / 31 books. 135% done!

11869 / 11300 pages. 105% done!

Top 5 books (not including re-reads):
I couldn't pick amongst the trilogies I read, so I've included them as one entry each - the order of the books of the trilogy represent my ranking.

5. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
4. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
3. The Tenth Circle
2. Catching Fire/The Hunger Games/Mockingjay
1. Fire/Bitterblue/Graceling

Interesting Facts:
Improvement on last year: +11 (+569 pages)
Library books: 1
Non-fiction: 14
Most read author: Suzanne Collins - 3 books/1381 pages
Followed by: Kristin Cashore - 3 books/1313 pages
Jodi Picoult - 3 books/1292 pages
Books with a fantasy element: 14
Re-reads: 0
Sequels/Not a stand-alone or the first in a series: 9

I had not set myself goals for 2012 having been aware at the beginning of the year that I would be living overseas for three months of the year, and therefore would probably have a disrupted reading year. In the end, I got a lot of reading down, more than I think I would have had I been home, simply because I was always on trains, going on adventures or just on my three hour daily commute. This is the best year I have with my reading since 2005 (my first year of uni) when I managed 44. I had set myself a private goal of 38 on goodreads which I smashed quite nicely though I think its quite clear that part of this was because I read so many tour guides. I am disappointed, I didn't get my pages up (again with the tour guides) but it was still a good effort. I also noticed in looking at this year that I read a lot differently than I have in the past. Much less fantasy than I've ever read, more non-fiction (even if we take out the tour guides), a less books from somewhere in the middle of a series. I still have books from series to read, but I think this year definitely represented a change in my reading patterns. I was less restrictive on what I read and when - I just let myself pick up a book because I wanted to read it. I read a Jodi Picoult book, found I really enjoyed and picked up a few more as a result. I read Graceling, discovered I loved it so got the rest of the series. Same with the Hunger Games. I read books because the movie was coming out, or because for whatever reason, something had made me think that I might want to read about that topic (Accidental Billionaires, for example). It was an enjoyable reading year, all in all.

I'm not going to set a whole heap of goals this coming year, as again I'd like to see where the wind takes me. I have set myself a private goal of 25 on goodreads, though I'll obviously aim for the 50 this community refers to. The 25 is linked to my one and only goal - I would like to read a few of the books on my list that are over 500 pages. I generally avoid such long books, not because they aren't good (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series and Bitterblue are prime examples of absolutely fantastic long books - and I read both in a week despite their lengths) but because I get bored easily. Often, I really struggle through the first 100 pages of a book, as the story itself gets set up. The one thing that frustrates me about both books and films is the 'set-up' stage - that first act, the first 30 minutes or 100 pages, that is aimed at establishing the characters, their place in the world, etc etc. To my mind, the best books/films are the ones that throw you right into the action and then give you the character background as the story progresses, so you're emotionally involved enough to want to know about the characters. Many of my favourite books do this, and I have done the same in my own book. Anyway, in respect of the 500+ pages goal, I realised I was being something of a hypocrite in avoiding these long books when my own book is equally long - over 300 pages in A4 print. So I've put together a list of 15 500+ page books I would like to read this year. I have topped it at 15 because I know I'll end up reading other stuff in between (in line with my 'where the wind takes me' comment above) so I wanted to give myself the time. I think hitting all of these 15 books is quite achievable (it totals to 9245 pages, which is about 2000 pages lower than I normally read in a year), and I've already got started on the first one and am pleased to say have already flown past the first 100 page point.

I have attached a link below to this list here is anyone is interested.

I realise I haven't actually posted reviews to the above books, so I will post 2012 reviews concurrently with 2013 reviews this year - one of my new year's resolutions is to do my book reviews a little earlier than the end of the year :)

Happy New Year to you all!

Number of pages: 280

This book tells a true story that made newspaper headlines, about how the writer, James Bowen, and his cat Bob became minor celebrities.

The story starts with James, who is homeless at the time, returning to his sheltered accommodation to find a cat outside his front door; believing him to belong to a neighbour, he initially ignores the cat, but it soon becomes apparent that the cat is a stray, and he sees James as a new master, and follows him around. Seeing him as a sort of kindred spirit, since both are homeless, James takes in Bob, the cat, and he starts following him out when he goes to busk in Covent Garden, and he finds himself becoming popular because he has bought his cat with him when he performs.

The book recounts all of the highs and lows of the following years, highlighting the incredible friendship between himself and Bob, and also about all the problems he faced, particularly with adversary from staff at the nearby tube station who objected to him busking, and also confrontations with other people and his own problems with his drug addiction; he also talks of his own experiences selling the Big Issue. The book emphasises the whole idea that Bob's arrival actually helped James to turn his entire life around, and it proves to be an uplifting tale.

The whole story made me more aware of issues affecting homeless people in real life, and it is easy to sympathise with James almost straight away. However, the parts of the book that most affected me where moments when Bob got scared into running away in the middle of London, and James' devastation as he frantically searched for his cat. Although I knew it would end happily, these episodes gave a vivid picture of how he felt at the time, and the idea that he might never see his cat again.

Overall, I enjoyed this book a lot and would definitely recommend it to others to read.

Next book: Flow, My Tears, the Policeman Said by Philip K. Dick



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