Books read, 2012

In 2012 I read an even 80 books, a new personal best as an adult. Friday’s column is about this, and about books, long and short. Since I began reading intensively again, I’ve logged 60 in 2011, 52 in 2010 and 58 in 2009. In four years, then, I’ve read 250 books. Mostly I read fiction, often classic science fiction, with some pulp and literary stuff thrown into the mix, but a few nonfiction and art books crept in.

Authors most represented in 2012: two each by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sean Howe, Jonathan Lethem and Mike Royko; three each by A. Conan Doyle and Robert A. Heinlein; four each by Philip K. Dick and Sax Rohmer; five by Ray Bradbury; and eight by Harlan Ellison. (How many people read eight Ellisons last year?) Embarrassingly, I didn’t get to any by my boy Mark Twain last year, other than about 70 pages of essays, but I plan to start “A Tramp Abroad” any day now.

1. “I, Robot,” Isaac Asimov

2. “Like I Was Sayin’,” Mike Royko

3. “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It,” Ogden Nash

4. “Soon I Will Be Invincible,” Austin Grossman

5. “I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon,” Philip K. Dick

6. “I’ll Mature When I’m Dead,” Dave Barry

7. “I, Robot: The Illustrated Screenplay,” Harlan Ellison

8. “As I Lay Dying,” William Faulkner

9. “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream,” Harlan Ellison

10. “Take My Picture Gary Leonard,” Gary Leonard

11. “Party of One: A Loner’s Manifesto,” Anneli Rufus

12. “The Pleasure of My Company,” Steve Martin

13. “This Shape We’re In,” Jonathan Lethem

14. “Common Ground: Ceramics in Southern California 1945-1975,” AMOCA

15. “Aldo Casanova: A Retrospective,” Scripps College

16. “The Valley of Fear,” A. Conan Doyle

17. “The Space Merchants,” Frederick Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth

18. “Starburst,” Alfred Bester

19. “If on a winter’s night a traveler,” Italo Calvino

20. “Summer Morning, Summer Night,” Ray Bradbury

21. “Switch on the Night,” Ray Bradbury

22. “Like the Night (revisited),” C.P. Lee

23. “Sleepless Nights in the Procrustean Bed,” Harlan Ellison

24. “Last Night at the Lobster,” Stewart O’Nan

25. “Night,” Elie Wiesel

26. “One More Time: The Best of Mike Royko,” Mike Royko

27. “Double Star,” Robert Heinlein

28. “The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch,” Philip K. Dick

29. “The Man With Nine Lives,” Harlan Ellison

30. “My Ten Years in a Quandary and How They Grew,” Robert Benchley

31. “Going Like Sixty,” Richard Armour

32. “1000 Record Covers,” Michael Ochs

33. “Robert Fawcett, the Illustrator’s Illustrator,” Manuel Auad, ed.

34. “Grand Master of Fantasy: The Paintings of J. Allen St. John,” Stephen Korshak

35. “Doonesbury and the Art of G.B. Trudeau,” Brian Walker

36. “His Last Bow,” A. Conan Doyle

37. “Fear of Music,” Jonathan Lethem

38. “Paul’s Boutique,” Dan LeRoy

39. “The Devil’s Advocate, an Ambrose Bierce Reader,” Brian St. Pierre, ed.

40. “Press Boners,” Earle Tempel

41. “Bugf#ck: The Useless Wit and Wisdom of Harlan Ellison,” Arnie Fenner, ed.

42. “Barrel Fever,” David Sedaris

43. “Children of the Streets,” Harlan Ellison

44. “The Son of Tarzan,” Edgar Rice Burroughs

45. “Daughter of Fu Manchu,” Sax Rohmer

46. “Methuselah’s Children,” Robert A. Heinlein

47. “Orphans of the Sky,” Robert A. Heinlein

48. “A Memory of Murder,” Ray Bradbury

49. “A Medicine for Melancholy,” Ray Bradbury

50. “At the Mountains of Madness,” H.P. Lovecraft

51. “Mail-Order Mysteries,” Kirk Demarais

52. “The Mad Morality,” Vernard Eller

53. “Of Mice and Men,” John Steinbeck

54. “The Marx Brothers at the Movies,” Paul Zimmerman and Burt Goldblatt

55. “The Mask of Fu Manchu,” Sax Rohmer

56. “Men Without Women,” Ernest Hemingway

57. “The Illustrated Man,” Ray Bradbury

58. “The Bride of Fu Manchu,” Sax Rohmer

59. “Partners in Wonder,” Harlan Ellison

60. “Family Man,” Calvin Trillin

61. “The Man in the Maze,” Robert Silverberg

62. “A Maze of Death,” Philip K. Dick

63. “The Man in the High Castle,” Philip K. Dick

64. “The Trail of Fu Manchu,” Sax Rohmer

65. “Lost and Found,” Elizabeth Pomeroy

66. “Lost and Found 2,” Elizabeth Pomeroy

67. “Weird Heroes Vol. 1,” Byron Preiss, ed.

68. “Zorro,” Isabel Allende

69. “The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes,” A. Conan Doyle

70. “Tarzan and the Jewels of Opar,” Edgar Rice Burroughs

71. “Doomsman/Telepower,” Harlan Ellison/Lee Hoffman

72. “My L.A.,” Matt Weinstock

73. “Orange County,” Gustavo Arellano

74. “Farewell to Manzanar,” Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James Houston

75. “Translating L.A.,” Peter Theroux

76. “This is Claremont,” Harold Davis, editor

77. “Ancient L.A.,” Michael Rochlin

78. “Give Our Regards to the Atomsmashers!,” Sean Howe, ed.

79. “Marvel Comics: The Untold Story,” Sean Howe

80. “Marvel Comics in the 1970s,” Pierre Comtois

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  • Impressive stack! My total… 34 for the year… Proud of that! (And I would have had no idea of the number if I hadn’t been keeping track here on this blog!)

    A question I’ve been meaning to ask… Several years ago, you bought the Kobo e-reader, but the little guy hasn’t shown up in your pictures for a long time. Have you decided that you prefer actual books, or you already have enough books that you don’t need to download any on the Kobo, or is it simply that he’s not photogenic enough for the blog? I’ve found myself wanting and reading real-life books, but I often download the same book (if it’s cheap enough, or free for public domain books like Dickens) to my Kindle app to read on my iPad or iPhone (and now my actual Kindle, a gift from my brother last summer) when convenient.

    • davidallen909

      That’s a good nickname for my e-reader: “the little guy.” Aww.

      To answer your question, all three are correct. I prefer print and I own so many unread books that I’ll be reading print for many years to come.

      What I use my Kobo for are free downloads of public-domain classics. I read “Valley of Fear” and began “Around the World in 80 Days” on it during my London-Paris vacation, which saved me some packing, and later read another Sherlock Holmes book, “His Last Bow.” In the case of the two Holmes books, I own paperback copies and those were more photogenic. In the case of “80 Days,” it’s not grabbing me, and 11 months later I’m still reading it — although I expect to finish this month!

      • John Clifford

        so it’s around the world in over a year?

        • davidallen909

          That would be a good alternate title.