The Best Book … of Venice:
Monumental Venice by Jacques Boulay (photos) & Jean-Philippe Follet (text)
The Best Reprint:
Tottel’s Miscellany, edited by Amanda Holton
The Best Nature Book:
The Last Walk by Jessica Pierce
The Best Fiction Debut:
The People of Forever Are Not Afraid by Shani Boianjiu
The Best Biography:
Clover Adams by Natalie Dykstra
The Best History:
The President’s Club by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy
The Worst Fiction:
Dear Life by Alice Munro
The Worst Nonfiction:
When I Was a Child, I Read Books by Marilynne Robinson
The Best Fiction:
The Street Sweeper by Elliot Perlman
The Best Nonfiction:
Far from the Tree by Andrew Solomon
Thanks very much to all of you who’ve commented (so many privately, of course – after all, what would I want with anything so recherche as a thriving Comments field? Sigh) on this year’s bigger-than-ever Year End spectacular – and on all the other posts that have made up Stevereads this year. 2012 was the single most active reading-year (if that’s not a contradiction!) of my life, both in terms of reading (as of this warm, rainy Boston night, my yearly tally stands somewhere near 725 books) and in terms of writing: between all of my different venues – but mainly, of course, by virtue of the wonderful bully pulpit my colleagues give me at Open Letters Weekly – I wrote about somewhere in the neighborhood of 320 books over the course of the year.
That was a singularly thrilling experience for a book-lover such as myself, and of course it can be improved! Imagine a book review every single day – or even two a day, one on Stevereads and one on Open Letters Weekly (on the latter, for instance, I wrote only about 207 1000-word reviews – shocking sloth, when you consider how many days off that means I had!). I imagine such things – I imagine a year in which I write a review of every single major book published in English in any of the genres I know and love (so: the business and self-help books will still largely need to fend for themselves). I imagine an even full engagement with the book-world in the only really meaningful way: by reading everything, and writing about it all for a smart audience.
No matter what the future brings, however, I wanted to take a minute here in my last entry for 2012 to thank you all for agreeing, disagreeing, counter-arguing, counter-suggesting, and most of all for reading me, not just in 2012 but for the last wonderful six years here at Stevereads. Honestly, it’s a thrill such as I never thought to have – and of course it’s been a huge amount of fun. Here’s wishing all of you much happy reading in the new year.