I haven’t finalised my list of goals for 2012 but one of them is going to be keeping a track of every book I read.

The first finish of the year was a pop history book: Britain’s Rottenest Years by Derek Wilson. It covers ten separate years from the past 2000 that that make 21st century recession and riots look like fairy stories of the over-enthusiastic media. It was a bit of a random pick-up from Shipley Library – I don’t usually like list books but it sounded more interesting than the others there.

Because it covers ten different time periods/situations, it’s inevitable that some are going to be more interesting to me/the reader than others. I’m usually considerably more interested in post-industrial revolution/20th century history but after reading the excellent Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England (a horrible title but essentially just a fab social history of the 14th century) last month, I was more interested in the earlier chapters of Rottenest Years – Boudicca (who I haven’t read about since primary school), the harrowing of the North, the Black Death and the mysterious dry fog of 1783. The latter chapters – 1812, 1936-7 and 1981 – actually left me pretty cold (the latter especially as it felt a little … held back).

As expected, it was an easy read and like all these overview books should do, it’s inspired me to look further into the bits that did interest me. I am glad that I borrowed it from the library rather than bought it though – it’s not the type of thing I’d properly read a second time.