2012: Recap and Adieu!


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.

9 Comments to 2012: Recap and Adieu!

  1. December 27, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Great to see your choice of The Street Sweeper as Fiction Book of the Year. I thought it was brilliant too:)

  2. Petey's Gravatar Petey
    December 27, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Permalink

    And thank YOU, Mr. Donoghue, for providing me with the most stimulating, sensitive, occasionally exasperating, but always utterly intelligent literary criticism this side of the TLS. I speak sincerely when I say that a new post on Stevereads is a moment of joy on even the most melancholy day.

  3. elle's Gravatar elle
    December 30, 2012 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    You can look at, peruse, scan 725 books in one year, but you cannot read 725 books in one year.

  4. Dorian Stuber's Gravatar Dorian Stuber
    January 2, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    I consider myself pretty well-read, but what I love most about your blog is the sense it gives me of all kinds of as-yet unexplored literary worlds. I second Petey’s comment: I eagerly await new posts, even when they’re about things I don’t think I’m interested in. Thanks for your engaging, irascible, exasperating, and thought-provoking criticism.

    PS I’d love to see a post on how you make the time to read those 725 books.

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