What I Read in 2012

For the third year in a row, my book count is trending in the wrong direction. In 2009, it was 38. In 2010, it was 33. In 2011, that number fell to 29 and this past year, that number plummeted to 21.

Not only do I think reading is important, but it’s also something I enjoy a bunch and probably the closest thing I have to a hobby. However this year the reality is that I just didn’t set aside much time for it. Whereas I used to read at least 30 minutes each night before bed, this past year I spent that time writing my own book and doing a large number of side projects in preparation for starting to work independantly.

There was a point while writing my book that I just didn’t feel like I had the energy to read anything substantial, which is why there is a pretty heavy increase in the number of fiction books this year. I also read a very unusually small number of non-industry related non-fiction, something I plan on remedying next year.

Also of interest, at least to me, was that this was my first year with a Kindle. I had been a paper holdout for a long time, and still enjoy a good paperback or hardcover book from time to time. The Kindle’s influence on my reading is noticeable though. Of the 21 books read, a whopping 17 of them were read on the Kindle.

I’ve found the Kindle really boosts the number of impulse reads. The advantage is that I read things (like Monoculture and Wool) that I probably would have not seen otherwise. The disadvantage is that due to all the impulse buys distracting me, my count of “reading but haven’t finished” has never been higher (I count 8 at the moment, which is just plain silly).

Here, then, is 2012’s list:

  1. Designing Devices by Dan Saffer
  2. Flinch by Julien Smith
  3. Freedom by Daniel Suarez
  4. Monoculture by F S Michaels
  5. The Brain and Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
  6. The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
  7. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  8. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  9. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  10. APIs: A Strategy Guide by Daniel Jacobson, Greg Brail and Dan Woods
  11. Weaving the Web by Tim Berners-Lee
  12. Design is a Job by Mike Monteiro
  13. The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King
  14. The Medium is the Massage by Marshall McLuhan
  15. The Shape of Design by Frank Chimero
  16. Everyware by Adam Greenfield
  17. The Mobile Frontier by Rachel Hinman
  18. The Naked Presenter by Garr Reynolds
  19. SMS Uprising: Mobile Activism in Africa edited by Sokari Ekine
  20. Wool Omnibus Edition by Hugh Howey
  21. Content Strategy for Mobile by Karen McGrane

As with every year, if the book made the list then I enjoyed it on some level—life is too short to waste time on bad books. For fiction, it’s hard to beat Wool and I love me some Patrick Rothfuss (I also have to admit that I enjoyed the Hunger Games much, much more than anticipated).

For non-fiction, Design is a Job is my top choice. It’s a book that I honestly wasn’t very excited for, but given how solid the A Book Apart series has been, I thought I’d give it a go anyway. I’m glad I did. Smart, funny, helpful—it’s just a fantastic read.