Year’s end: 2012 in review

The year is not over (and I do hope to put in one last book, so I can neatly round off the year at 80) so it’s not time for stats yet, but I spent some time thinking back at how the year has been going, reading-wise and blogging-wise, and I decided to put down some thoughts.

Reading choices

Of 79 books so far, I can honestly say I liked some 20, not more. And I was WOW’ed by only 4 or 5. This is not good. Sometime this year I read an article that made me think about how limited the number of books I can still read in my lifetime is — I really need not to waste those books with poor choices! How do you choose your books to avoid disappointment?

A few of my favorite things: readalongs!

This was my “new thing” for 2012 and it turned out to be a wonderful experience. I read Bleak House and Wuthering Heights with the Unputdownable readalongs hosted by Wallace, Neverwhere as a group read @ Stainless Steel Droppings, O Testamento do Sr. Napumoceno da Silva Araújo with Alex of The Sleepless Reader and Fall of Giants for the Chunky Book Club — and the latter was the only one that didn’t work out (I see the hosts at the Chunky Book Club are considering whether or not to continue the experience, and I am crossing my fingers that they keep it going!) As one who has never taken part in a book club IRL, I loved the chance to discuss while reading! And I do want to continue  “readalonging” in 2013. Do you know of any good group read I should consider?

Reading in a group is always more fun than reading alone. Image credits: Gerg1967 on Flickr

Language diversity

One of my goals for 2012 was to read more in my “minor” languages (German, French, Portuguese). As it was, I realized in November that I had read almost only in English, almost nothing in Italian either! Which resulted in a flurry of  hurriedly Italian reads  😦 For 2013, I want to be more careful on that side: ideally, I want to aim at 6 books each for my minor languages, plus 10 Italian (OV) and 10 translated into Italian. That makes up almost half of my usual fare, so it should leave me plenty of choice for the remaining books. (I am considering quarterly goals for these languages, too. I hope that would help.) The one language that it’s harder for me to get books in is German, so here’s the question: any good German-language books you want to recommend?

A few of my favorite things: classics!

Another thing I appreciated this year was some classic reading: Charles Dickens, Emily Bronte, Jules Verne, Alexandre Dumas… It always takes me longer to actually get to books of this kind, but mostly I find out that they’re worth it. Because I want to read more in this sense, I am working on a list to join the Classics Project — it’s taking me forever to complete it, and I keep reading books from the list before it’s ready so I never actually have 50, but I’m working on it. What classic book should absolutely be on my list?

When you re-read a classic you do not see in the book more than you did before. You see more in you than there was before. Image credits: » Zitona « on Flickr

Challenges… done and not done

I’ve taken reading challenges very loosely this year. I like it better like that, with no pressure, but right now I think I must check myself before I decide which ones to join. I really want to work on what I end up reading, and for 2013 I intend to join mostly challenges that push the limits of my reading: pushing me to read more nonfiction, and more classics, and more books from different cultures….

  • Completed challenges this year:
    1. What’s in a Name
    2. Antonym
    3. Middle East (I intended to write a Jerusalem-related post but never got around to it. Maybe in January)
    4. Back to the Classics
    5. Venice in February
    6. Chunkster
    7. Classic Double: yay!
    8. RIP VII
  • Failed challenges this year:
    1. Medieval challenge: I read one, but was stuck on the second (of four books) so long that it ended up being the only DNF of the year
    2. Reading Round Rome: 3/7, but the host has disappeared halfway through
    3. Greek Classics: 1/2. What was that about liking classics, again?
    4. Aussie Author: 1/3. Ahem
    5. Dewey Decimal: 5/6. Almost.
    6. Africa: I read 4 out of 5, but I guess I understood not one of them. Not sure how to approach this kind of literature.
    7. South Asian: for the second year in a row 😦

What challenges are you taking in 2013? And how was your year in 2012?