(2012 is getting included as I skipped out on doing this last year)

Unlike virtuous, self-improving people with social lives like RC2, I tend to stick to novels, and I tend to be a pretty easy mark on books so if I read something about one or read an interview with an author suddenly I find myself on Amazon ordering it. I don’t actually get many as gifts, and I hardly ever get recommendations. So anything I read is very much a product of my own rather scattered online influences. In fact, I’m even on Goodreads, and hardly ever go after something one of my friends reads (says something perhaps about my limited social circle). (Incidentally, if you know me in Real Life and you’re on Good Reads, I’m pretty good at keeping that up.) Some of you who may pay attention to these things or have a keen sense of the passage of time as marked by book reviews might sense a theme, but really there isn’t much. It’s all over the place.

Once again, the rules: I don’t include here anything I’ve read before (although my rereading abilities have dwindled DRASTICALLY since those halcyon days of my youth (you may think I’m referring to time before The Child, but I think we all really know I mean time before Twitter)) or cookbooks or the sort of thing you pick up for reference, rather than read cover-to-cover.

I’m actually kind of excited about this list, because I feel like in 2012 I discovered foreign literary awards shortlists, which I would buy and add to my to-read pile, which, I might add, is HUGE, and I still have stuff there that I ordered when this list begins. But, here we go:


Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
Fiction, 2011

Stephen Kelman, Pigeon English
Fiction, 2011

Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games (treated here as a set since I read the all at once and, really let’s face it, don’t see a point in actually owning them (borrowed from a coworker))
Distopian Young Adult Fiction, 2008, 2009, 2010

Ali Smith, There But For The
Fiction, 2011

Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles
Fiction, 2011

George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, A Feast for Crows, and A Dance with Dragons
Historical Fantasy Fiction; 1991, 1998, 2000, 2005, 2011 (yeah I read them all at once and yeah it took me about six weeks of HELL) (I recommend reading them, I don’t recommend buying anything better than the Mass Market Paperback)

Patrick Dennis, Auntie Mame
Fiction, 1954


Hillary Mantel, Bring Up the Bodies
Historical Fiction, 2012 (rarely for me, I didn’t read the first one first, but it had just won the Man Booker Prize)

Kate Mosse, Labyrinth
Historical Fiction, 2005

Geraldine Brooks, Caleb’s Crossing
Historical Fiction, 2011

India Knight, Mutton
Fiction, 2012

Winifred Watson, Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Fiction, 1938

P.D. James, Death Comes to Pemberley
Historical Mystery, 2011

Tracey Thorn, Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star
Memoir, 2013

Jilly Cooper, Jump!
Fiction, 2010

Jane Harris, Gillespie and I
Historical Fiction, 2011

Giles Coren, How to Eat Out
Memoir, 2012

Compton Mackenzie, Whisky Galore
Fiction, 1947

Hannah Kent, Burial Rites
Historical Fiction, 2013

Ian Rankin, Standing in Another Man’s Grave
Mystery, 2012

Agatha Christie, Poirot’s Early Cases
Mystery Short Stories, 1937

Agatha Christie, Hallowe’en Party
Mystery, 1969

Agatha Christie, Three Act Tragedy
Mystery, 1935

Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot’s Christmas (I usually get my Agatha Christies from a used bookstore so mine has a different title from the one on Amazon because it’s very much of Yore)
Mystery, 1939

Barbara Pym, Excellent Women
Fiction, 1952

The Awards!

Best Book of 2012: Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

Best Book of 2013: Hannah Kent, Burial Rites

Best Nonfiction: Tracey Thorn, Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star

Most Funniest Like OMG: Giles Coren, How to Eat Out

Most Funniest Fiction Like OMG (but the above was funnier so wins overall): Patrick Dennis, Auntie Mame

Most Irritatingly Spotty But Could Have Been Good With A Decent Editor Damnit But I Mean Really What Were They Thinking And Yet I Still Want To Complete The Series: Kate Mosse, Labyrinth

Most Depressing Because Oh Lawdy The Lives Of The Puritans Were Unrelentless But Come On It’s A Novel Innit But Hey Still Totes Worth Reading: Geraldine Brooks, Caleb’s Crossing

I Don’t Do Cookbooks But Honourable Mention Goes To:

• Jamie Oliver, 15 Minute Meals
I bought this via Amazon from the UK over a year ago and I recommend getting it now before the Americanized version comes out (the show is due to broadcast here soon and they can’t have been using those 18 months for good). If you don’t have it and use it basically all the time, you’re just plain doing it wrong.

• Gwyneth Paltrow, It’s All Good
I know, it’s Gwynnie, but I bought this pretty soon after it came out last spring (Caitlin Moran convinced me since she was tweeting pretty endlessly about how it was actually good) so I gave it a shot and honest to god I’ve barely made anything else from outside of it since. Again, I know it’s Gwynnie, but it’s a really good cookbook.

And just to wrap up the Desert Island Food and Drink Category:

• Harry Craddock, The Savoy Cocktail Book
I bought this from Anthropologie years ago, actually, but then a couple of years back Peter went on a cocktail-course at a swish bar in SF for a work fun thing which happily coincided with us moving into a place with an actual ice maker and it got dusted off. It is SO good. There are other cocktail books which are really useful and lovely but this one is basically the totes-best-evs-I’m-not-even-joking perfect.