In 2012, for the first time, I recorded what I was reading. It’s a weird sort of exercise! I didn’t record unfinished books, of which there were quite a few. I tried to read more comics/graphic novels. Novel-wise, I tried (and mostly failed) to keep up with SF/F, while reading various murder mysteries for comfort. This year, I’m going to try (and fail) to keep up with literary fiction (while reading murder mysteries for comfort). Anyway.
I read 53 books (novels and some novellas, some non-fiction) last year, 5 graphic novels, 13 stand-alone comics and 35 short stories.
Possibly the best book was The Lonely Londoners, by Samuel Selwin, about West Indies immigrants to London in the 1950s. Beautifully written in West Indies English, really mind blowing.
Of the SF I read, it was the translated stuff that really blew me away: Kawamata Chiaki‘s Death Sentences I thought was mind-blowingly good, as was the Strugatsky Brothers‘ Roadside Picnic. I also read, in the Hebrew, Yoav Avni’s Herzl Said, which I thought was fascinating.
I’ve read the early novels of Christopher Priest in their Hebrew translations, a long time ago (The Space Machine, Inverted World, A Dream of Wessex) but I took the opportunity to read some of his later stuff last year, and particularly loved The Affirmation.
I also loved Richard Calder‘s 2005 novel, Babylon, which provided inspiration for my story, “The Red Menace” in the Rip-Off! anthology released on Audible. I also liked Calder’s graphic novel adaptation of Dead Girls, of which I have the first 3 released issues.
Novella-wise, I liked Ian Sales‘ Adrift on the Sea of Rains a lot, and am pleased to see it nominated for an award this year.
Most barmy book of 2012 had to be Christopher Farnsworth‘s Blood Oath (and sequel, The President’s Vampire). I thoroughly enjoyed Ben Aaronovitch‘s Rivers of London series, and Chris Wooding‘s Ketty Jay books.
China Mieville‘s Railsea was fantastic.
If my SF reading was dominated by men, my crime reading continues to be mostly women. I keep making my way through both Susanna Gregory‘s Matthew Bartholomew series, and Lindsey Davis‘s Falco. I (almost) caught up with Janet Evanovich‘s Stephanie Plum series.
And I finally realised last year that perhaps my favourite crime writer, the great Carol O’Connell, wrote a new Mallory novel! I thought she was done after the magnificent Find Me, but no – there was The Chalk Girl just waiting for me to devour.
In comics, I liked China Mieville’s new Dial H For Hero, and Richard Calder’s Dead Girls.
In short stories, I loved Aimee Bender‘s “Among Us”, “Sunshine” by Nina Allan, “An Account Of A Voyage From World To World Again, By Way Of The Moon, 1726″, by Adam Roberts, and “The Gypsies in the Wood” by Kim Newman.
For 2013, my reading habits are changing with the acquisition of a Kindle at long last, giving me more choice in my reading material (despite my love for the local library). I am currently reading Boxer, Beetle by Ned Beauman (loving it so far) and Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, while my short fiction reading is going to be pretty much focused on possible material for The Apex Book of World SF 3.