Last year I gave myself the goal of reading 20 books, a reasonable goal considering I had read 17 books in 2011. The year started off great, and by the month of August, I had read 17 books. August, however, was also the month in which I went back to school, and the intensity of my program meant that I was only able to read 1 last book in the final four months of 2012 (during a speed reading class of all places).
Nonetheless, 18 books in one year is definitively a new record for me, and I wanted to celebrate this new record by sharing with you my Top 3 reads of 2012. The only rule for this list: it must only contain books that I have read in 2012. So, with that baseline set, let’s jump right into it:
Book #1 – Hyperion by Dan Simmons
Hyperion by Dan Simmons is undoubtedly the best book I had the pleasure of reading this year. Set in humanity’s future, the book mixes science fiction and fantasy in a way that kept me hooked until the last page.
The book is the first in a series of four novels written by Simmons, and as such you may find that the book leaves many questions unanswered as it ends. I’ve completed the second book of the series (The Fall of Hyperion) and am currently in the process of reading the third (Endymion), and can say without a doubt that this is a series you should definitively invest some time into.
Back in April I complained about the lack of good science fiction in today’s media. Although the Hyperion Cantos was published in the last century, it gives me hope that good sci-fi is out there, you just need to look hard to find it.
Book #2 – Les Trois Mousquetaires by Alexandre Dumas
My native tongue is French, and as such I try every year to read a handful of french novels. This year I read 3 such novels, and was greatly influenced by Les Trois Mousquetaires (The Three Musketeers) by Alexandre Dumas.
At 890 pages, this thing is a beast of a book, and easily took me more than a month to read. The book contains quite a convoluted story of love, mystery, and betrayal. It was also eye opening to follow the story of characters from 17th century France, a time when life expectancy was not as it is today, and people lived life as though there were no tomorrow.
Equally eye opening was the manner in which this novel was initially published: as a serial in a newspaper. The 234,096 word novel was published in parts over 5 months. In comparison, my short story Equanimity is currently at 12,580 words after 17 months. I may not be at Dumas’ level, but I now know that writing a novel in such a manner is possible!
Book 3 - The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Don’t Panic. I’ve heard of Douglas Adams and the infamous Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy before 2012.
In fact, I’d seen the BBC TV Series, the 2005 movie, and listened to the audiobook read by Stephen Fry all prior to reading the novel.
Although a little outdated (who wears a digital watch anymore?) the novel’s writing style is light, refreshing, and funny.
I’ve since read the second book in the six-part trilogy (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe) and felt somewhat underwhelmed.
Here’s hoping that things pickup in part 3!
Most of the books I read last year were good, so trying to pick only three was somewhat difficult. That said, I am looking forward to 2013 (well, at least the part of 2013 when I won’t be in school) to keep on discovering stories. My ‘to-read’ list is getting quite large (at almost 50 titles) so hopefully I’ll be able to find some time and bring that number down a bit.