2012 Wrap Up / 2013 Preview – Reading

As seems to be the custom at this time of the year, I’ve decided to do a bit of summary of my year in reading followed by a few thoughts on the year to come. Being an engineer by training, I’m breaking this post down into a couple of logical sub sections. Well, they are logical to me. Go find your own damn logic if you don’t like mine…

I’ve also published a companion post on my year in writing.

Reading in 2012

Probably the biggest influence on my reading year has been joining the Australian Women Writers’ 2012 Reading Challenge. The challenge forced me out of my comfort zone. Not too far out – I stuck with speculative fiction of course – but it did push me to seek out more authors. The results of my reading/reviewing can be found at my “Mission Accomplished?” post from a while back – in total I read and reviewed 17 books by Australian women speculative fiction authors in 2012.

I’ve looked back over this blog at reviews published in 2012 and come up with some statistics. Note: Given the number of novels, novellas, multi-author publications, anthologies etc, I’ve used a whim based system for counting up things I’ve read. Sloppy workmanship may also be a factor. It is highly unlikely that anyone who could be bothered going through my back catalogue of reviews would come up with exactly the same numbers, however the percentages should be roughly correct. Stop complaining. What are you – perfect?

Stuff in book form:

  • Total number of books read: 42
  • Total by female authors: 25 (60%)
  • Total by male authors: 17 (40%)
  • Total by Australian/New Zealanders: 27 (64%)

Sean the Bookonaut has put up a post describing a gender audit of his 2012 reading recently. He has graphs. They are very impressive. As a homage, I am also including the following graph:

2012 gender reading

Stuff in magazine form:

  • Total number of short story magazines read: 21

On the short fiction side of things, in 2012 I tried to read AurealisAndromeda Spaceways Inflight MagazineAsimov’s and Analog. I failed, but I did keep up with Aurealis and ASIM (I have a lot of Asimov’s and Analog to get through).

It wasn’t included in my review statistics above, but I also read every monthly edition of the online magazine Antipodean SF. This is partly because AntiSF was where all my flash fiction from 2012 was published. It was also because I like keeping in touch with what new and emerging authors are writing and AntiSF is an excellent venue for that. It was also also because I create the ePub version of AntiSF each month and get advanced access to the stories.

In 2011 I started broadening the base of authors I read, this trend continued in 2012. I also tried to become a lot more familiar with the Australian speculative fiction scene.

Looking back over my Goodreads reviews, my 5 star reviews included two books by Deborah Biancotti (Bad Power and A Book of Endings), Madigan Mine by Kirstyn McDermott, The Silver Wind by Nina Allan, The Last Days of Kali Yuga by Paul Haines, the Sprawl anthology edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Pyrotechnicon by Adam Browne. So, I guess that constitutes my reading recommendations for the year that was.

2013 Reading

I’ve joined the Australian Women Writers’ 2013 Challenge, so expect more reviews of Australian speculative fiction from some of our fantastic writers (starting with Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott – review coming soon).

There are quite a few “must read” books from 2012 that I haven’t actually read yet (e.g. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson). I also intend to have read the Ditmar and Aurealis Award short lists before the respective award ceremonies, especially so I can vote intelligently in the Ditmars.

In 2012 I completely failed to read the Hugo short list. I intend to fail to do so again this year.

I’m currently rethinking my short story approach, but I will look to read Jonathan Strahan’s Best of the Year for 2012 to catch up on the good quality short fiction from 2012 that I missed. I’m also considering committing to Strahan’s Eclipse Online series of short stories which I think is an excellent forum. I will continue reading Antipodean SF, Aurealis and ASIM in 2013, and will give Asimov’s and Analog a red hot go. Apparently I can only commit to publications starting with ‘A’.

Apart from that, I suspect my short fiction reading will be spotty.

In terms of books:

  • I am really looking forward to Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott, Blood and Dust by Jason Nahrung and Quiver by Jason Fischer. They are all loaded up on the Kindle ready to read and get my year off to an Australian start.
  • I also should mention the last volume of the Wheel of Time series is coming out in a few days. I started reading this series when I was a teenager and now sheer bloody mindedness is keeping me going. Having said that the last three books did lead me to the writing of Brandon Sanderson and I do quite like his work. But mostly I just need to see how the damn thing ends.
  • I’m also hanging out to see what Deborah Biancotti does next. Given how much I’ve enjoyed all her work so far, I don’t even really mind what it is that she writes, but I am secretly hoping for something longer set in the Bad Power universe.
  • I’ve just received the Library of America 1950s Sci-Fi collection curated by Gary K Wolfe – I think there are 9 novels in there, which will constitute the “learning more about the history of the genre” phase of my reading this year.

That’s about if for now – I’m sure there is more to say but my spidey-sense is telling me that you, dear reader, have run out of patience for reading this post. Stay tuned for a brief discussion of my writing year in review and thoughts for 2013.

Hope you all had a great 2012 and will have an even better 2013.

I’d love to hear your reading suggestions/hopes for 2013 – feel free to comment below or provide links to your own blog posts on the issue.

Author: mark

A writer of speculative fiction and all round good egg. Well, mostly good. OK, sometimes good.

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