Books I Read in 2012

I didn’t start the year out with a goal of reading 52 books – honest! But, I had wanted to increase my reading. As a child and teen, I would read any time, any place, often getting in trouble for reading in class when I should have been doing school work.  Then, life and work happened, and somewhere along the way I lost my love of reading.

2012 was the year I got it back.

I  read 52 books: 31 by female authors, 20 by male authors, and one anthology.  The list includes fiction, non-fiction, short stories, memoirs, books by Canadian authors, books in translation, and books I didn’t finish.

Some of my favourites were A Hero’s Walk by Anita Rau Badami (author of Tamarind Mem, another favourite) and Scribbling the Cat by Alexandra Fuller.  I worked my way through Emma Donoghue’s grueling Room, and enjoyed Hood and Astray (her recent short story collection) but was not taken with her historical fiction.  I’ve been a fan of David Bezmozgis since Natasha, and was happy to find his novel, In the Free World.  I read more of Colm Toibin (Brooklyn and Empty Family) and discovered Michael Redhill’s Consolation (his play Goodness was part of the Belfry’s SPARK Festival this year).  Movies and movie trailers led to When She Was White, the book behind the film Skin, to E.E. Doctorow’s Sweetland Stories and Carolyn Briggs Higher Ground.  A new Kobo re-introduced me to Margaret Atwood and her Kindle serialized fiction Positron, to the prolific American author Joyce Carol Oates and Rescuer (there’s a whole catalogue to discover with Oates), and the short stories of Dan Chaon (Stay Awake), an author I want to read more of.

The Greater Victoria Public Library had a focus table on biographies this summer and that set me off on a tangent  with My Life in Orange, Child of the Jungle, and Surviving the Shadows. Then I read books by authors on the autism/Asperger’s spectrumBorn on a Blue Day, Nobody Nowhere, Songs of the Gorilla Nation.

I took a look at Governor General’s, Giller, Booker, IMPAC, Saltire and Pulitzer Prize winners and authors on the shorts lists including: Joanna Skibsrud, The Sentamentalists; Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar  Wao (it’s not often I don’t finish a book); David Gilmour, A Perfect Night to Go to China; Andrew Nichol, The Good Mayor;  Gloria Sawai, A Song for Nettie Johnson; Kim Thuy, Ru. I don’t know how I have missed Alistair McLeod (Island) or Ford Francis Coppola’s magazine Zoetrope: All Story.

What did you read in 2012?

Scribbling the Cat, Alexandra Fuller

Room, Emma Donoghue

The Whirlpool, Jane Urquart

Livability, Jon Raymond

Out Stealing Horses, Per Peterson

To Siberia, Per Peterson

It’s Fine By Me, Per Peterson

The Sari Shop, Ruhpa Bajwa

The Forgotten Affairs of Youth, Alexander McCall Smith

the Legend of Colton Bryant, Alexandra Fuller

Lost, Cathy Ostlere

Turtle Nest, Chandani Lokugé

Fierce, Hannah Holborn

Sarah’s Key, Tatiana Rosnay

Our Story, Aboriginal Voices

Men and Boats, Katie Crouch

The Foreigners, Maxine Swann

Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight, Alexandra Fuller

Cocktain Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfullness, Alexandra Fuller

The Mighty Queens of  Freeville, Amy Dickinson

Empty Family, Colm Toibin

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer

The Hero’s Walk, Anita Rau Badami

Brooklyn, Colm Toibin

The Free World, David Bezmozgis

Surviving the Shadows, Caroline Whitehead

Higher Ground, Carolyn Briggs

Songs of the Gorilla Nation: My Journey Through Autism, Dawn Prince-Hughes

Hood, Emma Donoghue

Vagina Monologues, Eve Ensler

The Sentimentalists, Joanna Skibsrud

Stranger Wycott’s Place: Stories of the Cariboo Chilcotin, John Schreiber

Child of the Jungle: A True Story of A Girl Caught Between Two Worlds, Sabine Kruegler

My Life inOrange, Tim Guest

Man Camp, Adrienne Brodeur

Island, Alistair MacLeod

Born on a Blue Day, Daniel Tammett

Nobody Nowhere, Donna Williams

Zoetrope All Story, Francis Ford Coppola

The Red House, Mark Haddon

Consolation, Michael Redhill

The Good Mayor, Andrew Nichol

A Perfect Night to Go ToChina, David Gilmour

Sweetland Stories, E.L. Doctorow

Astray, Emma Donoghue

A Song for Nettie Johnson, Gloria Sawai

VillageofSmallHouses, Ian Ferguson

When She Was White (The True Story of A Family Divided by Race), Judith Stone

Living with Cannibals and Other Women’s Adventures, Michele Slung

Ru, Kim Thuy

Staying Awake (stories), Dan Chaon

Positron, Margaret Atwood


About @lacouvee

Community Builder. Catalyst. Speaker. Writer. Arts Advocate.

Passionate about bridging online and offline communities to effect positive change.

I truly believe that one person can make a difference and that we all have our own lives to live, creatively, while respecting the unique nature of others.


  1. What an awesome list, Janis. Congratulations on getting back to it. I read lots, too, yet I’ve only read one of the books on your list (Island). Like ships passing. I almost had two on your list covered… I confess I did take Songs of the Gorilla Nation out of the library last summer, only to return it unread. Maybe I’ll re-sign it out, and read it. Then it could be two books in common. 🙂

    As far as my faves this past year, a couple local books i liked were 1) The Measure of a Man (a story about father & son tailors/relationship in Vancouver) and 2) NoWhere Else on Earth (an ode to the Great Bear Rainforest, written by my niece and published by Orca Books).

    PS. If you’re not already part of a book club, and decide to start one up, please invite me to join. I like your eye for books. 🙂

    • Thanks Ben and sorry for the late reply. I’ll take a look at your recommendations too. And no book club plans for me as of yet, maybe when I’m officially retired and not so involved – I have very few free evenings.

      I think though that book lists (not necessarily GoodReads) allow us to see what others appreciate and are enjoying.


  1. […] See also:  Books I Read in 2012 […]

Speak Your Mind