Monday, December 31, 2012

Wrapping up 2012

My blogging over the last six weeks are obviously not everything I would have hoped for. I found a apartment last month, which is something of a miracle all things considered. Unfortunately I couldn't get any time off work in December or January so I've been forced to pour all my free time into this project. It is almost inhabitable, I expect to move in in January, joined a few weeks later by my girlfriend. That does mean I will be without internet for a while in January so I don't expect great things next month either.

Despite the poor finish I did review 60 works in 2012. They break down into 41 novels, 5 short stories, 7 novellas and 7 collections and anthologies. I had hoped for more, but realistically that is a decent total. One of the goals was to read more works by women and I certainly did better than last year. Of the 60 works I've read, 26 were written by women, 31 by men and the remaining 3 contained work by both men and women. I hope to do a little better still in 2013. Next year's challenge over at Worlds Without End might help in that respect.

Which brings me to the 2012 Grand Master Reading Challenge. I managed to read all 12 books and review 11 of them. Ten of them were posted on the Worlds Without End blog as well. The rules only required me to write 6 so that is another goal achieved. The complete list:
  1. Tau Zero - Poul Anderson
  2. Prelude to Space - Arthur C. Clarke
  3. Forerunner - Andre Norton
  4. I, Robot - Isaac Asimov
  5. The Wind's Twelve Quarters  - Ursula K. Le Guin
  6. Dying Inside - Robert Silverberg
  7. Beyond the Blue Event Horizon - Frederik Pohl
  8. White Mars - Brian Aldiss
  9. Dragonsdawn - Anne McCaffrey
  10. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
  11. The Listeners - James E. Gunn
  12. All About Emily - Connie Willis (not reviewed)
Books I've read but not reviewed in 2012 (some of them might still get a review later on) are What Kings Ate and Wizards Drank by Krista D. Ball, The Wurms of Blearmouth by Steven Erikson, Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang by Kate Wilhelm and the aforementioned All About Emily by Connie Wills. I don't have a page total for 2012 handy right now but it should be around 17,000. Significantly down form last year.

Best of 2012
I'll limit myself to five books this year, ten seems too many on a total of 60. The best books I've read this year (not necessarily in that order) are:
  1. Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear. I'm very impressed by this first volume in Bear's Eternal Sky trilogy. She tackles Epic Fantasy in her own unique way.
  2. Wizard of the Pigeons by Megan Lindholm. Somewhere between urban fantasy (sans sparkling vampires) and magical realism, this is probably her most underrated novel.
  3. Crack'd Pot Trail by Steven Erikson. Not what you'd expect from a Korbal Broach and Bauchelain. You'll think it either dreadful of brilliant.
  4. The Man Who Ended History: A Documentary by Ken Liu. This novella should have won some of the awards it was nominated for.
  5. Moxyland by Lauren Beukes. Complex and chillingly plausible, this novel is one hell of a d├ębut. I prefer it over Zoo City.
Interesting list now that I look at it.

My traffic this year has grown considerably compared to 2011 but not as much as last year. I think it could have been a little better if I had continued posting. I've had a couple of very popular reviews this year, mostly tied to movie or TV releases. The most popular reviews this year are:
  1. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
  2. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
  3. Roadside Picnic - Arkady and Boris Strugatsky
  4. A Storm of Swords - George R.R. Martin
  5. A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin
  6. Green Mars - Kim Stanley Robinson
  7. The Ice Dragon - George R.R. Martin
  8. The Clan of the Cave Bear - Jean M. Auel
  9. Reaper's Gale - Steven Erikson
  10. The Valley of the Horses - Jean M. Auel

Four reviews showed up on last year's list as well. I wonder if any of them can keep going. The Hunger Games book reviews are way more popular than anything else I've written. Despite being up less than a year they are way ahead of any other reviews in number of pageviews. The Hunger Games has almost five times as many hits as Roadside Picnic got in 2012 and Catching Fire isn't far behind. What is more interesting is that Mockingjay didn't catch on. Nor did A Clash of Kings. Still, generally speaking making it to TV or the big screen does wonders for your sales (and traffic). I'd hate to think what would happen if I reviewed Fifty Shades of Grey :P

I don't dare make too many given the current circumstances. I want to take part in the reading challenge over at Worlds Without End again and make progress on my Frank Herbert and Kim Stanley Robinson projects (I did manage a few of those last year). Other than that it will be a challenge to keep this blog going. If I manage that I'll be happy.

That wraps up 2012. I wish you all a happy 2013 and I hope to see you on Random Comments again.