Well, it’s clear I watched too much TV in 2012, because I completed only 45 books during the year. This is well below the norm. I’m usually in the 50s or 60s.
That said, I read some good ones this year, and a few of them (such as the Stephen King novels) were long. Still, it was an off year overall, and I blame “The Walking Dead,” “Mad Men,” “Big Bang Theory,” “Modern Family” and even, dare I say it, “Vegas.”
The election probably had something to do with it, too. Wasted a lot of time agonizing over a nation with Herman Cain at the helm.
Yet another factor was that I started a number of books that I have not finished and therefore cannot put on the list. Included among these are a couple of whales that I may not even complete in 2013.
Anyway, without further elaboration, here’s the list of books I read in 2012:
11/22/63 by Stephen King (fiction)
Car Tag by H. Lee Barnes (fiction)
The Swerve: How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt (nonfiction)
Pity the Billionaire: The Hard-Times Swindle and the Unlikely Comeback of the Right by Thomas Frank (nonfiction)
God’s Jury: The Inquisition and the Making of the Modern World by Cullen Murphy (nonfiction)
Under the Dome by Stephen King (fiction)
Iowa Boy: Ten Years of Columns by Chuck Offenburger (nonfiction)
Citizenship Papers: Essays by Wendell Berry (nonfiction)
The Empty Copper Sea by John D. MacDonald (fiction)
By the Iowa Sea: A Memoir by Joe Blair (nonfiction)
Reading for My Life: Writings, 1958-2008 by John Leonard (nonfiction)
Sweet Heaven When I Die: Faith, Faithlessness, and the Country in Between by Jeff Sharlet (nonfiction)
When I Was a Child I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson (nonfiction)
These Dreams of You by Steve Erickson (fiction)
Magic Hours: Essays on Creators and Creation by Tom Bissell (nonfiction)
Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories by Algernon Blackwood (fiction)
How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen, James Allworth and Karen Dillon (nonfiction)
Vegas Knockout: A Novel in Stories by P Moss (fiction)
London Peculiar and Other Nonfiction by Michael Moorcock (nonfiction)
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (fiction)
Mythago Wood by Robert Holdstock (fiction)
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes (fiction)
American Gypsy: A Memoir by Oksana Marafioti (nonfiction)
The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (fiction)
In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster (fiction)
Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Rise of Nazi Power by Andrew Nagorski (nonfiction)
More Baths Less Talking by Nick Hornby (nonfiction)
The Way the World Works: Essays by Nicholson Baker (nonfiction)
Battleborn: Stories by Claire Vaye Watkins (fiction)
Examined Lives: From Socrates to Nietzsche by James Miller (nonfiction)
The Green Ripper by John D. MacDonald (fiction)
Free Fall in Crimson by John D. MacDonald (fiction)
Cinnamon Skin by John D. MacDonald (fiction)
The Lonely Silver Rain by John D. MacDonald (fiction)
I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-By Essays by Mark Dery (nonfiction)
The Tenants of Moonbloom by Edward Lewis Wallant (fiction)
Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young (nonfiction)
The Half-Life of an American Essayist by Arthur Krystal (nonfiction)
One for the Books by Joe Queenan (nonfiction)
The Writer Who Stayed by William Zinsser (nonfiction)
Next by James Hynes (fiction)
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (fiction)
The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough (nonfiction)
Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries by Jon Ronson (nonfiction)
Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter (fiction)
My top 5 books published in 2012 (not in order)
– Lost at Sea: The Jon Ronson Mysteries by Jon Ronson (nonfiction).
– I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts: Drive-By Essays by Mark Dery (nonfiction).
– Hitlerland: American Eyewitnesses to the Rise of Nazi Power by Andrew Nagorski (nonfiction).
– Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter (fiction).
– Waging Heavy Peace by Neil Young (nonfiction)
My top 4 books NOT published in 2012
– The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris by David McCullough (nonfiction). Published 2011.
– The Tenants of Moonbloom by Edward Lewis Wallant (fiction). Published 1963.
– In the Country of Last Things by Paul Auster (fiction). Published 1987.
– Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter (fiction). Published in 1966.