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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The 206 books of 2012

Last year I had a sabbatical in the Spring.  Partly to keep a record for my official sabbatical report and partly because I was curious, I kept a record of everything I read from the beginning of my sabbatical on January first through the end of it in mid May.  At that point, though, I decided to keep going and ended up keeping a record through the whole year.  Here is a quick report on what I read:

Total number of books read:  206

Graphic Novels read:  79

The best of the lot were probably George O'Connor's series about the Greek gods and goddesses.  O'Connor does an excellent job using the graphic novel form to tell stories.  I also liked the book Town Boy by Lat (that is, apparently, his whole name) which concerns a boy and his friend growing up in Malaysia. 

Adolescent Non-fiction read:  3

Okay, so I don't read a lot of non-fiction.  By far the best, though, was Elizabeth Partridge's This Land was made for you and me:  Life and songs of Woody Guthrie.  My brother Tom is the music critic in the family, and so this isn't a subject I know much about, but the book did an amazing job of presenting Guthrie's life with all of its triumphs, contradictions, challenges, and changes in a way that was gripping.  And it is a non-fiction book.  Well worth checking out.

Adolescent Novels read:  44

The best one, hands down, was Michael Chabon's Wonderland.  The review of that book is actually the first review on this blog, and consequently is somewhere underneath us, I think.  (I still haven't mastered all this blog ruckus)

Books about education theory and practice read:  29

A lot of this was pretty dry and esoteric and though I found it a great deal of fun to read as a literacy researcher, I am not so deluded that I believe that normal human beings would have nuch interest in it.  Having said that, the book I enjoyed the most (which might also have the widest appeal) was Nerds: Who they are and why we need more of them, by David Andereg.  I always like reading about my people.

General Interest books read:  30

This was a catch-all category that included both fiction and non-fiction.  The book that stuck with me the most, though, was Louise Erdrich's The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse.  It is a hard book to summarize because it covers so much territory, but essentailly it is about a frontier woman who disguises herself as a priest and serves for many years in a small outpost village.  It is amazingly well written, and the story, voice, and images all stay with you long after you have finished the book. 

Picture books read:  9

Well, new ones anyway.  I read some good ones, but none of the new ones really grabbed me.

Books on Children's Literature criticism read:  12

There were a bunch of these that were interesting in terms of the research I do but again, not so much for normal people.  By far the most interesting one, though, had a pretty wide appeal.  That book was  Neil Gaiman's Don't Panic:  Douglas Adamas and the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.  This book taught me a lot about Adams, about children's literature and literature in general, and it also reminded me why I love the Hitchhiker's Guide books so much. 

A few minutes ago I finished my first book of 2013.  If you'll excuse me, I need to go start a list.

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