2012: end of year review

 

 

This is going to be a long post! It’s something of a wrap-up of my year – what I read and watched.

 

I kept a simple record of the books I read this year. Most of my friends seem to be using Goodreads online – I get invitations on facebook all the time and facebook kindly showed me the pictures of all of my friends who were using their service. I’m not sure about that. I’m getting quite wary of everything being connected to facebook… So I was able to keep a list of the books I read the low tech way – I wrote down the name of the book I was reading each day in my diary. Yep, pen and paper. I had to type up the list to post it here and I had to look up a some of the nonfiction books on amazon to get their subtitles but that wasn’t so much trouble. As much as I might like to see a virtual bookshelf of what I read this year, I have my book pile instagrams…

book piles

Most of my books were from the library, some were kindle books, some were even kindle books borrowed from the library!

January:

Tears of the Giraffe, The Tipping Point, I am Half Sick of Shadows, Taking the Leap, The Descendants, Half Broke Horses, Morality for Beautiful Girls, The Glass Castle (re-read), Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Live in North Korea, The Gentleman from Finland, Poisoned: The True Story that Changed the Way Americans Eat, Kalahari Typing School for Men.

February:

Lamb, The End of Overeating, Lady of the Rivers, The Full Cupboard of Life, Buying the Right Photo Equipment, The Lost Art of Reading.

March:

Behind the Palace Doors, Gourmet Rhapsody, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay.

April:

Ancestors and Relatives, Savage Girl, Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything- Anytime- Anywhere Future — and Locked Us In, Discardia: More Life, Less Stuff.

May:

Asleep: The Forgotten Epidemic that Remains One of Medicine’s Greatest Mysteries,  Repacking your Bags, Dirty Little Secrets, Under the Mountain, Mr Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonders (got really stuck on this), What Language Is.

June:

Cholesterol Down, Teach Yourself Visually PSE 10, Scrapbooking Digitally, The Authenticity Hoax, Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey.

July:

The Hoarder in You, Uglies, Pretties, Specials, This I Know.

August:

Way off the Road, Extras, Mr Monster, Whitewash, I Don’t Want to Kill You.

September:

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (at last!), Bumped, Thumped, The Outsourced Self, The World of Downton Abbey.

October:

Deluxe: How Luxury Lost its Luster, Drop Dead Healthy, Coraline.

November:

Kiwis Might Fly, The Psychopath Test, The Life You Can Save, Unfamiliar Fishes, The Insider’s Guide to Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.

December:

The Peep Diaries: How we’re Learning to Love Watching Ourselves and our Neighbors, Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. (I have 2 or 3 more books in the pile right now – Women in the Material World, Connected, and another one I can’t remember the name of… And I have a few more books I own that I haven’t gotten to read yet, but I don’t expect to by the end of the year, not while I have library books due.)

You’ll have noticed that I read less and less as the year went on. But I was reading more online… Truth is I was spending more and more time online, and reading less and less. But, even if I only read 2-4 books a month, I feel like that’s still a good amount.

And I do tend to read some pretty intensive books. The Peep Diaries, which I’m reading right now, is about reality TV, blogging, surveillance and social networking, and looks at how notions of privacy, individuality and security have shifted as we embrace “peep culture.” Not exactly light reading. But the previous book I read about fashion and the consequences of our love affair with fast, cheap, trendy clothing was a very quick read. You never know how long a book is going to take to read. I got stuck on a few books this year, taking weeks to read them instead of days. I took a few books back unread or unfinished, and some other books you can see in the piles are not on the list because I didn’t really read them.

I read a couple of dystopian teen fiction series this year – The Hunger Games series which everyone was reading, which was OK but not great. The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld was much better. I even loved Extras, which was not the 4th book in the trilogy, but more like an encore. Perhaps because of the Japanese setting, or because it spoke to me so much in the age of facebook, twitter and “peep culture” I enjoyed it as much as Uglies and Pretties. I had a hard time with Specials, but that might have had more to do with trying to read it when I was too busy to devote time to it. Since I was enjoying YA fiction I picked up Bumped and Thumped (by Megan McCafferty) about a world where adults have lost the ability to reproduce, so teenagers are paid surrogates and teen sex is glorified. Lots of ways that can go wrong! It was a very intriguing concept and quite well written.

Another series I read that had a teen protagonist (but was possibly not intended for a teen audience) was by Dan Wells. I read I am Not a Serial Killer a couple of years ago, but I hadn’t realized that it was the beginning of a trilogy. I found Mr Monster and I Don’t Want to Kill You in August, and for all that they were quite disturbing, they were very good. The author had some very interesting ideas for his serial killer villains and what they were missing which caused them to kill. I don’t usually read supernatural or horror stories, but the protagonist was so intriguing – a young man who shows all the signs of becoming a serial killer who has decided he doesn’t want to follow that path.

One of the best, least known, books I read this year was Nothing to Envy, which was based on interviews with a number of North Koreans about their lives and how they came to defect to the South. They all came from a northern town near the Chinese border, far from Pyongyang and the powerful elites there, and were devoted citizens for most of their lives, gradually losing their faith in their country, each for different reasons. I haven’t read anything about North Korea before, and I learned so much about how people live in a repressive society and why they don’t necessarily revolt. Highly recommended!

2012 in other media…

Magazines:

I read Wired and GQ every month, and I enjoy the writing in both. I always learn something new. Especially from Wired. I can’t tolerate women’s magazines… they just don’t have any substance. I want to have to turn to the back of the magazine to read the rest of the story. I like Atlantic as well, but haven’t read it for a while.

TV:

Downton Abbey!! love it love it love it!

Bones (we took a break, but we’re liking it again), NCIS “regular” =) and NCIS LA =(

Raising Hope, New Girl, The Big Bang Theory, Parks and Rec, 30 Rock, Suburgatory, The Neighbors, Modern Family (which we only recently discovered).

Gold Rush, Bering Sea Gold, Moonshiners, Flying Wild Alaska, Alaska the Last Frontier, American Guns, Sons of Guns – love the Discovery Channel!

and Ellen! the only talk show I like. Even though I don’t care about celebrities, Ellen makes them seem more interesting. And she is so funny.

Shows we sometimes watch that we used to love, but now I think they need to go away (and they will soon): The Office, How I Met Your Mother. Biggest disappointment: the second season of Upstairs Downstairs.

Movies we saw at the theater:

Prometheus, The Hobbit

Sad that we didn’t see any other movies, but even sadder to think that this is way better than in past years… The last movie I think hubby and I saw together at the theater was Sweet Home Alabama! Thank goodness we have a really nice movie theater in our town now. And our library has a new movie premiere club that screened The Hobbit in the VIP room (big cushy seats and beer and wine available) at 7pm – before the midnight opening night screenings! and not only that, but we supported our Library Foundation too.

I haven’t kept lists of the movies we’ve seen on DVD… we don’t watch much. We don’t have netflix or anything like that. We borrow movies from the library. But we usually find something good to watch on TV.

I used to keep lists of the books I read and the movies I saw when I was in college, but I haven’t kept it up regularly since then. One year I tried to keep a notebook of the books I read with short reviews of each. I gave it up after a few months, and then the notebook got stolen from a display at the library! I have no idea why anybody would steal such a thing, but never mind. I think I will keep lists in the future. It’s fun to remember what you’ve seen and read, and telling when you can barely remember a book.

Do you like to keep lists?

Jo:)

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