First, before I begin today’s book talk, I want to quickly comment on my coffee this morning. I took my photo on the mantle where I keep family photos because my desk is insanely messy this morning. I did not at all mean to include something for each member of my family here (Jason & me at our wedding, old school photos of Morrigan and Ambrose, and Laurence’s art on my coffee mug!). It was pure coincidence but I love this photo so much. 😀
Now. 2012. That was an interesting year in both reading and blogging, and a time of a great shift for me in a lot of ways. In 2011, as I stated last week, I let go of the original Zen Leaf and created a personal blog (Ramblings) where I did still review books from time to time, though not every one I read. In 2012, I kept going this way for about half the year, and then pretty much stopped blogging about books altogether for a few months. Other than my first book of July, I have no real reviews from July or August that year. There are a couple one-paragraph reflections that I’d put up on GoodReads, but otherwise nothing. And some of the books I read in those months were favorites of that year!
I’ve stated before that I have a hard time with writing a catch-all blog. For me, books and personal life are clearly defined and separate. Sometimes I’m more interested in writing about life – health/fitness, personal stuff, my family, cooking, etc – and sometimes I’m more interested in talking about books. Those two things don’t mix well for me, though, and I struggled for the year I wrote at Ramblings. While in 2011, I withdrew from book blogging, 2012 was the year I started to withdraw from blogging altogether. It was a very difficult year for me (in real life, not blogging), and I think I would have been better off NOT withdrawing. Hindsight is 20/20, no?
In books, though, it was actually a really great year. 2012 marked a huge shift in my reading patterns. For most of my adulthood, I’d been a primarily-classics kind of girl. Blogging introduced me to the world of modern fiction, and for awhile there, I was reading mostly modern YA. I shifted back to classics in 2010. In 2012, thanks to Brandon Sanderson and Diana Wynne Jones, I discovered fantasy. Also thanks to them, I rediscovered the joys of multi-reads (books read multiple times in a row because you just can’t get enough of them with one read!).
The year really started with Howl’s Moving Castle, which I ended up reading half a dozen times in a row. I could not get enough of Diana Wynne Jones after that, and quickly read through about a dozen of her books, many of them read more than once. Then came Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy, then a bunch of group reads for other Sanderson novels, and by the end of the year, these two new authors topped my list for most-books-read-by. It was the first year in forever that I’d read an author more times than JK Rowling in a year. In the end, every single one of my favorite books that year were fantasy novels, and my percentage of speculative novels jumped from the 45% it had averaged for years to about 75%. It has stayed that high ever since.
So while it was a year of turmoil in real life and in blogging, it was a fantastic year for reading. Some of the books I read that year remain favorites of all time, including Howl’s Moving Castle, the Mistborn trilogy, the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor, and Leigh Bardugo’s Shadow and Bone. Now if only I’d written real reviews for most of those…sigh.