2012 Books Read

Last year I kept a list of the books I’ve read, as so very many pasty nerds with blogs do, and this is about the time of year that I share this thrilling list with my many dedicated readers.

I’m a little disheartened by how many of the following are comics rather than books, not because I think one medium has less inherent value than the other but because I know that this list is a bit of a cheat. A full graphic novel can be read in an hour whereas even a short novel requires several times that investment.

The bold highlight signifies the best of what I read last year, whereas the faded grey signifies something that I felt was a waste of my time.

1. Geoff Dyer – The Missing of the Somme
2. Nick Mamatas – Sensation
3. Various – Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 (comics)
4. Richard Seymour – The Meaning of David Cameron
5. Peter Nicholls (ed) – The Science in Science Fiction
6. Various – Angel: After the Fall (comics) & associated short series
7. Warren Ellis & Juan Jose Ryp – Black Summer
7. Warren Ellis & Juan Jose Ryp – No Hero
8. Tricia Sullivan – Sound Mind
9. Various (ed. Ian Whates) – Time Pieces
10. Douglas Coupland – Microserfs
11. J. G. Ballard – Empire of the Sun
12. Paul Stapleton & Alice Sharp – CAMRA Sutra
13. Paul Stapleton – Mr. Bethnal & Mr. Ongar
14. Maureen Kincaid Speller (Jonathan McCalmont ed) – …And Another Thing (chapbook)
15. Andy West / Kim Lakin-Smith – NewCon Press Sampler (chapbook)
16. Into the Woods: Robert Holdstock Remembered (chapbook)
17. Harry Sidebottom – Ancient Warfare: A Very Short Introduction
18. Warren Ellis & Simone Bianchi/Phil Jimenez – Astonishing X-Men (Ellis’s run only)
19. Brian Clevinger & Scott Wegener – Atomic Robo Vol. 1
20. Warren Ellis & Stuart Immonen – NextWave: Agents of HATE Vols. 1 & 2
21. Warren Ellis & various artists – Global Frequency #1 – #12
22. Warren Ellis & Bryan Hitch – The Authority #1 – #12
23. Warren Ellis & Brian Cassaday – Planetary #1 – #27
24. Warren Ellis & Garrie Gastonny – Supergod #1
25. Warren Ellis & Adi Granov – Iron Man v4 #1 – #6
26. Warren Ellis & Stuart Immonen – Ultimate Fantastic Four #7 – #18
27. Michael Howard – The First World War: A Very Short Introduction
28. Various – Serenity: Better Days, Downtime, Float Out, The Other Half, Those Left Behind, The Shepherd’s Tale
29. Warren Ellis & Ken Meyer Jr – Atmospherics
30. Warren Ellis & Jacen Burrows – Bad World #1 – #3
31. Warren Ellis & Max Fieumara – Black Gas Vols. 1 + 2
32. Warren Ellis & Raulo Caceres – Crecy
33. Warren Ellis & Tony Harris – Down #1 – #3
34. Warren Ellis, Steve Rolston & Al Gordon – Mek #1 – #3
35. Warren Ellis & Cully Hamner – Red #1 – #3
36. Warren Ellis, Paul Gulacy & Jimmy Palmiotti – Reload #1 – #3
37. Warren Ellis & Chris Weston – Ministry of Space #1 – #3
38. Warren Ellis, James Raiz & Andrew Currie – Tokyo Storm Warning #1 – #3
39. Warren Ellis, Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti – Two-Step #1 – #3
40. Warren Ellis & J.H. Williams III / Danijel Zezelj – Desolation Jones #1 – #8
41. Warren Ellis, Chris Sprouse & Karl Story – Ocean #1 – #6
42. Jason Aaron & R. M. Guéra – Scalped #1 – #20
43. Warren Ellis & Collean Doran – Orbiter
44. Warren Ellis & Ivan Rodriguez – Doktor Sleepless #1 – #13
45. Naomi Klein – The Shock Doctrine
46. Mark Verheiden & Sam Keith – Aliens: Female War
47. Mike Richardson, John Arcudi & Damon Willis – Aliens: Genocide
48. Zen Cho – The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo
49. Nick Mamatas – Under My Roof
50. Jeff Lemire – The Underwater Welder
51. China Mieville – The City & The City
52. Brendan Keogh – Killing is Harmless

My reading resolutions for 2013 are:

  • Aim to read a book a week
  • Stop drip-feeding myself China Mieville novels
  • Pick up the rest of Nick Mamatas’s books
  • Read more books by women
  • Read more books by authors of colour
  • Read more non-fiction

The first resolution stands to reason. My unread shelves groan with books. A lot of this is non-fiction. For example, I was given a book called Salonica: City of Ghosts six years ago. I am very keen to read it. Have I? Have I fuck.

Previously I’ve always rationed China Mieville’s books because I enjoy them so much. However, I’m now several novels behind, and it’s a bit annoying to be unable to discuss Railsea because I haven’t even read Embassytown yet. Similarly, I knew years ago that I really liked Nick Mamatas’s fiction, but I’ve generally picked up his novels very slowly (Move Under GroundSensationUnder My Roof).

Enough with all of these stupid traditions.

Like many readers who grew up with SF there’s a tremendous preponderance toward white, male authors in both my past reading and in the habits that have emerged from it. I’ve made a few deliberate forays away from this in recent months and they have been extremely rewarding.

I’m in the process of reading Elif Shafak’s The Bastard of Istanbul at the moment, and that along with Zen Cho’s novelette The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo has reopened my eyes to writing that is flush with liveliness and exuberance. It is an absolute joy to read and worlds apart from the staid and plodding prose of so much of the genre fiction I’ve spent most of my life reading.

This is not to say that there aren’t many exceptions to that generality. I mentioned several above and there are more in the review archives of this very site. But I would rather read one or fifty Perilous Life of Jade Yeo‘s than another doorstop tome by an author of high fantasy. So this is not me swearing off the generic traditions. Just stepping towards more stories that are beautifully written and told. On that note, I see that Aliette de Bodard has a new novella out. This sounds ideal, as I was always a fan of her stories in Interzone.

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