Monday, October 31, 2011

The Books of 2012

It has been a slightly odd year for books. Thus far I have read 28 books, and with a bit of luck I should finish another 10 or so by the end of the year. This gives a grand total of 38ish. Given that I read 56 books two years ago, and 100 books last year, this seems a rather paltry total. On the other hand, since this year will include both "Les Miserables" and "War and Peace", I don't feel it's too poor a showing. (I should finish "War and Peace" next Monday at the current rate - two days on public transport significantly accelerated my progress there.)

Next year will probably be quite an odd year in many ways, and I'm rather inclined to avoid setting goals at all - I suspect it will probably be best approached with a view to taking it as it comes and just muddling through. Which means that there won't be any reading target for the year.

Which isn't to say I don't have some notion as to how it will look!

I've now reached a point where I've almost completely stopped buying RPG books, and since I tend to read them as I buy them (or, in the past, sometimes not at all), there isn't really any great stack of books waiting to be read. That said, I will need to find an opportunity to read through the "Mutants & Masterminds" rulebook, as I'm planning on running that game briefly next summer. And there will be the usual trickle of "Pathfinder" books. Otherwise, I don't expect many RPG books to appear on the list.

But for the bulk of the year, I expect to be either catching up on, or simply reading the latest novels from, various authors and series.

The most significant of these is probably the "Wheel of Time" series, originally by Robert Jordan. Since Jordan's death, this has now been taken over by Brandon Sanderson, who has been writing the final volume - although that itself has been split into a trilogy of very thick novels (don't ask me how that works!). I currently have the first of these on my to-read pile, while the second was released in paperback earlier this month. The final volume is scheduled for a hardback release at the end of next year, so I won't finish the series until 2013 at the latest.

Next on my list is the "Soldier Son" trilogy by Robin Hobb. Truth is, I didn't particularly enjoy book one of the trilogy, but did enjoy it just enough to read volume two, which was marginally better. Since I hate leaving things partially done (especially trilogies after two volumes!), I have the third volume sitting in my to-read pile. (Actually, there's a decent chance that I'll read this by the end of this year; if not, it will be the first novel I start in 2012.)

And the third and final series that I want to get caught up on is the "Black Company" series by Glen Cook. This is a series I came to fairly recently, and has the advantage of being essentially complete - the author keeps talking about writing more, but never actually seems to do so. There are a total of seven novels remaining, but these days they are only available in compiled volumes - there are therefore three books remaining. The first of these is on my to-read pile (and scheduled to be read immediately after "War and Peace"); the remaining two are waiting for 2012.

Then there are the authors and series I'm caught up on, but who should be publishing new books in the next year. In most cases, they have already published the next volume in hardback, so it's just a case of waiting for the paperback. And so, in 2012 I should read through the next novel in the "Song of Ice and Fire" series, and the "Krondor" series by Raymond E. Feist, and the next novel from Bernard Cornwell, from Conn Iggulden, and from Terry Pratchett. (The other author I follow is J.V. Jones, but apparently the fifth and final volume in her "Sword of Shadows" trilogy won't be released in hardback until 2012, so I'll need to wait for 2013 for the paperback. And, no, don't ask me how that one works, either!)

That accounts for between 20 and 25 of my books for the year, depending on how many I get through this year. The remainder of my reading for next year, if any, will probably be from The List.


Kezzie said...

I'm a little ahead of you as I'm on number 54 at the moment but am quite sure some are not as long as yours (er- like the Louis Sachar books for 7-year olds). I am soo impressed about War and Peace- it's been on my classics shelf for the last couple of years and I can't quite bring myself to begin in (not least it's too bloomin heavy to carry around as I don't drive!). This year I didn't set a specific target or any restrictions such as 'only one book per author' and it is curiously liberating- I read so much quicker if I read several of an author in one go. But I think that 28 books is pretty good going-that's more than lots of people!

Steph/ven said...

I think the key with "War and Peace" is that I got into a pattern of reading about 10 pages a day, every single day. Until I did that, I was having real trouble making any progress. As soon as I did that, it became pretty easy.

Unfortunately, it's just not a book that I can sit and read for hours at a time - between the tiny text and the style of the language (and the occasional French bits), it's just too hard to do that (four recent bus trips notwithstanding).

But reading it a little every day meant that the plot was actually unfolding at a reasonable pace, that I was always making clear progress (which is really important with a book like that), and that I was never trying to do too much all at once.

Incidentally, I did much the same thing with "Les Miserables", although I think it was 20 pages per day I read of that one.