I set a goal for myself each year to read a book a week. They say as a writer you need to keep reading as well, to help develop new ideas and learn how all types of writing are done and I've embraced that philosophy. I read mostly fiction, since that is what I want to write, but while I will tend towards writing novels considered noir/thrillers/suspense, that's not all I read. I read a lot of YA, some romance and the occasional fantasy or sci-fi in addition to plenty of violent thrillers. I think getting all those perspectives from quality writers in different genres will help me when I develop my own characters in new projects.
In 2011 I managed to read 63 books. I didn't get to quite that many in 2012 (54), but I still bested my goal. Below is the entire list, divided into three categories. The Fiction and Nonfiction categories are books I read in their entirety, while the Other section I would consider more the reference variety - predominantly cookbooks. Some of them have stories in them, but that's not the point of their existence.
I recommend any of these for any reader. Great characters, great world-building and fantastic plotting. Or, in the case of the murderous cat just plain hilarious.
Dark inside - Roberts, Jeyn
First in a series - love it.
Diaries of a Misspent Youth - Cameron, Bill
Short stories, very entertaining.
Divergent - Roth, Veronica
Another first in a YA series and I can't wait for more.
How to tell if your cat is plotting to kill you - Inman, Matthew
The Oatmeal. Enough said.
Insurgent - Roth, Veronica
Follow up to Divergent.
Kill you twice - Cain, Chelsea
Might be her best yet.
Looking for Alaska - Green, John
Rage within - Roberts, Jeyn
Follow up to Dark Inside.
The fault in our stars - Green, John
Beautiful and heartbreaking.
The Missus - Cameron, Bill
Whispers in Autumn - Leigh, Trisha
First in a series and highly recommended.
Wild thing : a novel - Bazell, Josh
Gone Girl - Flynn, Gillian
You know how they say you must trust your narrators? What if your narrators are liars?
If you like the genre you will love the book. If you aren't sure about the genre these are decent ones to start with.
Believe it or not - Fenske, Tawna
Dare me : a novel - Abbott, Megan E
Die trying - Child, Lee
Endlessly - White, Kiersten
Last in the Paranormalcy series.
Hollowland (1) - Hocking, Amanda
If I Stay - Forman, Gayle
Fantastic voice and great premise.
Lone wolf : a novel - Picoult, Jodi
Loved the wolf setting and characters.
Never tell : a novel of suspense - Burke, Alafair
Portland noir - Multiple
Send - Blount, Patty
Fantastic debut. Even more poignant post-Newtown.
The whole lie - Ulfelder, Steve
Where She Went - Forman, Gayle
Followup to If I Stay.
Winter Omens - Leigh, Trisha
If you like the author or the genre, check it out. Otherwise may not be the best place to start.
212 - Burke, Alafair
77 Shadow Street : a novel - Koontz, Dean
Chosen - Swank, Denise Grover
Florida roadkill - Dorsey, Tim
Guilty wives - Patterson, James
In a fix - Grimes, Linda
Kill Alex Cross - Patterson, James
Mary, Mary - Patterson, James
Shroud for a Painted Beauty - Kamen, A.C.
The confession - Grisham, John
The litigators - Grisham, John
The third gate : a novel - Child, Lincoln
The twelve : a novel - Cronin, Justin
Disappointed with the followup to The Passage.
The wind through the keyhole - King, Stephen
A retro Dark Tower story that didn't need to be done.
Tripwire - Child, Lee
Where we belong : a novel - Giffin, Emily
Zone One - Whitehead, Colson
These were disappointing, to the point I'm not sure I'd read the next book from that author.
Kill decision - Suarez, Daniel
It's been downhill since his debut, Daemon.
Odd apocalypse : an Odd Thomas novel - Koontz, Dean
Having Koontz on this list hurts - he used to be a favorite.
Ugh. All I can say about this is I managed to finish it.
Robert Ludlum's The Bourne imperative - Lustbader, Eric
Ludlum would not have allowed this to be published.
Normally I read fiction because I like to escape a bit, but real stories can be entertaining too.
Dog Man: An Uncommon Life on a Faraway Mountain - Sherrill, Martha
Story of an Akita breeder in Japan. Great stories, better than the writing.
I suck at girls - Halpern, Justin
Let's pretend this never happened : (a mostly true memoir) - Lawson, Jenny
The sweet life in Paris : delicious adventures in the world's most glorious -- and perplexing -- city - Lebovitz, David
Quite entertaining and educational.
These were fine. Nothing new.
The skinny rules : the simple, nonnegotiable principles for getting to thin - Harper, Bob
Underbelly Hoops: Adventures in the CBA - Cunningham, Carson
I may get crap for this, but I couldn't get past page 100. Way too much writer, not nearly enough story about Jobs. The author needed to get out of the way of the story, which is disappointing because I had high expectations.
Steve Jobs - Isaacson, Walter
Wifey and I use the library a lot to review books before we buy them. Usually flipping through them at a bookstore isn't really enough time, so we check them out and take our time deciding if it's a book we want to own, one we want to just review, or one we have no interest in. Typically we do this with cookbooks - a lot of cookbooks - trail guides, and items of that ilk.
These are the ones we skimmed in 2012 according to the library. The ones we decided to purchase are in bold.
Bouchon - Keller, Thomas
Beautiful pics and maybe someday we'll get it, but not right now.
Chocolate obsession : confections and treats to create and savor - Recchiuti, Michael
If we had interest in making confections this would be a home run. Love his chocolate.
Flour Water Salt Yeast - Forkish, Ken
Jeni's splendid ice creams at home - Bauer, Jeni Britton
Momofuku Milk Bar - Tosi, Christina
Portland, Oregon chef's table : extraordinary recipes from the City of Roses - Wolf, Laurie Goldrich
Sugar Cube: 50 Deliciously Satisfying Treats - Jensen, Kir
The Dahlia Bakery cookbook : sweetness in Seattle - Douglas, Tom
The Paley's Place cookbook : recipes and stories from the Pacific Northwest - Paley, Vitaly
Will buy this eventually.
Vintage Cakes - Richardson, Julie
Ruhlman's Twenty: 20 Techniques 100 Recipes - Ruhlman, Michael
Baking Out Loud - Goldsmith, Hedy
Fire in my belly : real cooking - Gillespie, Kevin
Good to the grain : baking with whole-grain flours - Boyce, Kim
Owner of Portland's Bake Shop. Great treats we buy but won't necessarily make.
Make the bread, buy the butter : what you should and shouldn't cook from scratch -- over 120 recipes for the best homemade foods - Reese, Jennifer
Momofuku - Chang, David
Ready for dessert : my best recipes - Lebovitz, David
The thing with Lebovitz's recipes is just about all of them are available online. So why buy a book?
Ripe for dessert : 100 outstanding desserts with fruit--inside, outside, and alongside - Lebovitz, David
Room for dessert : 110 recipes for cakes, custards, souffles, tarts, pies, cobblers, sorbets, ice creams, cookies, candies, and cordials - Lebovitz, David
Rustic fruit desserts : crumbles, buckles, cobblers, pandowdies, and more - Schreiber, Cory
The craft of Stone Brewing Co. : liquid lore, epic recipes, and unabashed arrogance - Koch, Greg
If I were interested in making my own beer I'd buy this in a heartbeat. Maybe someday.
The great book of chocolate : the chocolate lover's guide, with recipes - Lebovitz, David
The Skillet cookbook : a street food manifesto - Henderson, Josh
Dishing Up Oregon
My Pizza - Lahey, Jim
Baking: From My Home to Yours - Greenspan, Dorie
Hubert Keller's Souvenirs : stories & recipes from my life - Keller, Hubert
Wanted to like this but it's beyond what I want to do. Would love to go to one of his restaurants.
Left Coast Roast : A Guide to the Best Coffee and Roasters from San Francisco to Seattle - Neuschwander, Hanna
Mike Isabella's crazy good Italian : big flavors, small plates - Isabella, Mike
Molly Moon's homemade ice cream : sweet seasonal recipes for ice creams, sorbets, and toppings made with local ingredients - Neitzel, Molly Moon
The book of burger - Ray, Rachael
The book of yogurt - Uvezian, Sonia
The cookie dough lover's cookbook - Landis, Lindsay
The truck food cookbook : 150 recipes and ramblings from America's best restaurants on wheels - Edge, John T
The yogurt bible - Crocker, Pat
The Essential James Beard Cookbook - Rodgers, Rick
Beginnings: My Way to Start a Meal - Cosentino, Chris
Wild in the city : exploring the intertwine, the Portland-Vancouver region's network of parks, trails, and natural areas