The Books of 2012

One might think that the animated parade above of the covers of the fifty-some books (plus a couple I’m partway through at the moment, which I’m counting since they were and will continue to be huge reading projects) is not bad for a year’s reading… but if you look closely at my list of books (there’s a list below), you’ll find a couple of things worth noting.

Some of the books are short; some are game books (which are usually short as well); some are slim tomes of verse. I actually felt like I didn’t get enough reading done this year, yet again… indeed, as I embark on writing a novel, one of the things I feel I need to do is reacquaint myself with the form again.

But I can say that a lot of what I read was really, really good stuff.

I’d say the top books I read this year were the following:

  • Osama by Lavie Tidhar
  • The Gospel of Corax by Paul Park
  • Random Acts of Senseless Violence by Jack Womack
  • Red Dot Irreal by Jason Erik Lundberg (no review yet, as I finished it very recently)
  • Dark Gods by T.E.D. Klein

I very highly recommend all of these books to everyone who reads this blog. They are all worth the time spend seeking them out–and several of them will require seeking-out. But do it. You’ll be glad you did.

As I look at the list of books I read this past year, I see a few problems. Not enough books, for one–though I can partially blame my study of Ezra Pound’s poetry for that, but it was also an insanely busy year at work.

Secondly, my reading is really unbalanced both in terms of the race and the sex of the authors. Sooo many white men. Not enough of anyone else.

I also prefer to be reading more broadly than I did in the past year: more science, more history, more verse as well. I feel like my reading was rather broad this year because all the research I did for Pound’s Cantos forced me to read across a whole bunch of subjects–the occult, pseudoscience, history, economics–but a lot of the time I was bringing myself up to speed on Pound’s convoluted and nonsensical understanding of these subjects, not the real thing.

So while the complete list of all my readings (beneath the cut) probably won’t interest everyone, it’s something I’ll be bearing in mind as I pack the books I plan to bring directly, and the books I plan on having mailed to me, when we leave Korea… specifically in terms of the changes I want to make in my reading habits.

And now, for that list…

Novels/Novellas Published Alone:

  • Osama by Lavie Tidhar.
  • Gospel Of Corax by Paul Park
  • Random Acts of Senseless Violence by Jack Womack
  • No Traveller Returns Paul Park
  • A Short, Sharp Shock by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath by H.P. Lovecraft
  • Nothing Pink by Mark Hardy.
  • Going Under by Kathe Koja
  • Our Twisted Hero by Yi Munyol, translated by Kevin O’Rourke
  • Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin.
  • The Journey to the East by Hermann Hesse
  • It’s Not an All Night Fair by Pramoedya Ananta Toer
  • Fear and Trembling: A Novel by Amelie Nothomb
  • Noise by Hal Clement
  • Forever Peace by Joe Haldeman
  • Mainspring by Jay Lake
  • The Grand Circle (태극) by Don’o Kim
  • Beyond Heaven’s River by Greg Bear
  • The Chandler Collection, Vol. 2 by Raymond Chandler
  • Falling Out of Cars by Jeff Noon
  • Midnight Blue: The Sonja Blue Collection by Nancy A. Collins
  • In the Moons of Borea by Brian Lumley (From Titus Crow, Volume 3)
Short Story Collections:
  • Red Dot Irreal by Jason Erik Lundberg. 
  • Dark Gods  by T.E.D. Klein.
  • Stick Out Your Tongue: Stories by Ma Jian
  • Different Seasons by Stephen King
  • Stories of God: A New Translation by Rainer Maria Rilke
Poetry & Plays:
  • The Pangborn Defence by Norm Sibum
  • The Cantos by Ezra Pound (Cantos I-???) and A Companion to the Cantos of Ezra Pound by Carroll F. Terrell
  • Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T.S. Eliot.
  • Prime Directive by Bryan D. Dietrich
  • Sordello by Robert Browning.
  • Harvest by Manjula Padmanabhan
  • Nested Scrolls – A Writer’s Life by Rudy Rucker.
  • Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China by Rachel de Woskin
Writing Research–Ezra Pound-Related
  • A Walking Tour of Provence  by Ezra Pound
  • A Light From Eleusis by Leon Surette.
  • The Birth of Modernism by Leon Surette.
  • Ezra Pound and Italian Fascism by Tim Redman.
  • Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir by Ezra Pound
  • The Mays of Ventadorn by W.S. Merwin.

Writing Research–Other:

  • Ancient Angkor by Michael Freeman
  • Tania: Memories of a Lost World by Tania Alexander
  • Coltrane: The Story of a Sound by Ben Ratliff

Brewing Books:

  • Belgian Ale (Classic Beer Style Series) by Pierre Rajotte
  • Barley Wine: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes (Classic Beer Style Series, 11) by Fal Allen

RPG Books:

  • Dread by Epidiah Ravachol
  • Fiasco by Jason Morningstar. 
  • Montsegur 1244 by Frederik J. Jensen
  • Don’t Rest Your Head by Fred Hicks

Studying Up: 

  • Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee.
  • Painting With Light by John Alton.
  • The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine H. Pagels (a reread)
  • Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.
  • Shutting Out the Sun: How Japan Created Its Own Lost Generation by Michael Zielenziger
  • Speed Tribes: Children of the Japanese Bubble by Karl Taro Greenfeld (didn’t finish)
  • The Planet That Wasn’t by Isaac Asimov


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