Best Reads of 2012

Here are my best reads in English during 2012. I read 50 books this year, six of which were e-books. I flirted with LibraryThing for a while, but lately I've found that Goodreads is more the kind of leisure reading database/community that I enjoy. Find me there.

  • Packing for Mars. Mary Roach 2011. Delving into space exploration history to get a perspective on the gritty realities of a future human-staffed Mars mission. (Let's first do sample return.)
  • My Early Life. Winston Churchill 1930. Scion of power spends his youth trying to get involved in war and trains as a cavalry officer as one of the last generation to do so.
  • Falling Free. Lois McMaster Bujold 1988. Charming and exciting scifi adventure.
  • Good Omens. Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett 1990. Wry contemporary fantasy classic.
  • Collected Fantasies. Avram Davidson 1982. Lovely short stories.
  • The Swerve. Stephen Greenblatt 2012. On the creation and rediscovery of Epicureanism, the ancient philosophy I come closest to espousing, through Lucretius's The Nature of Things.
  • Erotic Refugees. Paddy Kelly 2012. Dick lit / romantic comedy set in Noughties Stockholm, reviewed here.

What were your best reads of the year?

Here’s my list for 2011.

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William Least-Heat Moon, PrairyErth. A.C. Grayling, Among the Dead Cities: the History and Moral Legacy of the WWII Bombing of Civilians in Germany and Japan. Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror. Eric Foner, The Story of American Freedom. Reviel Netz and William Noel, The Archimedes Codex.

By Daniel Murphy (not verified) on 01 Jan 2013 #permalink

Interesting stuff! Particularly the Archimedes book.

Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.
Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies. I have been reading about two of his books a year lately; I think the other one this year was Hogfather.
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion.

I also read Che Guevara's Motorcycle Diaries in the original Spanish.

I started Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra just before the end of the year; I'll probably finish this weekend. Also on the pile: As You Like It, plus Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

By Eric Lund (not verified) on 02 Jan 2013 #permalink

(Yes, yes, I am late to the party)
A publisher to watch: “Spectacular fiction”.
An author to watch: Nick Mamatas, author of “Sensation”.
-Did you know that toxoplasma gondii is not the only organism that alters the behaviour of its host?
Did you know that what we call “human” civilization is just the by-product of an ancient conflict between a social parasitic arachnid* and a parasitic wasp species?
*OK, so the arachnids have a group intelligence, and strive not to harm their human hosts, but it is still creepy if you have tendencies of arachnophobia.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Another book by Spectacular fiction:
“Fire On The Mountain”
It is 1958, the second manned mission to Mars has landed and the Deep South is a socialist republic. A young black person goes on a journy to find the history of a great-grandfather who fought in the guerrilla army after John Brown launched his successful attack a century ago.

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 06 Jan 2013 #permalink

In case you did not notice, "Sensation" is SF. A slim, playful volume with lots of ideas.

By Birger Johansson (not verified) on 07 Jan 2013 #permalink