What I read in 2014 in numbers, and goals for 2015…

Yes! It’s my annual stats post. Apologies if it’s not your thing, but analysing the numbers of what I read each year and comparing them to previous ones always flings up some interesting figures. I have kept a master spreadsheet since 2007.

This year I read more books than in any year since I used to commute by train to work (when I got through 3 or 4 books a week). 129 is my actual total this year – however … that did include quite a lot of shorter novels and novellas which is clear if I look at my chart of Books v Pages over the years …

Books & Pages 2014

So pages read are a better measure of how much I read?  Perhaps, although of course, ignoring any discussion of quality vs quantity, that premise is not without its flaws too!

TARGET: Aim to keep up a good reading rate in 2015.

Moving on to date of publication.

Books v date

This year I surpassed myself in the number of ‘Shiny New Books’ I read with 57% of them published this year (it was 42% last year).

TARGET:  I really MUST try harder to read from my TBR in 2015 when not reading for Shiny!

One area of true success is reading more in translation.
Books v nationality 2014
I read 22 novels originally published in other languages this year.

Of those books published in English, I read more by UK authors this year than last at 58%. American authors accounted for 20% this year, 5% or so down on 2013.

TARGET: To keep up reading books in translation.

Last graph now – looking at categories.  I didn’t read a lot of crime novels or thrillers this year, and slightly more Young Adult books – otherwise it is my usual mix, with Non-fiction remaining around the 10% mark.

Books v genres
I didn’t read a lot of crime novels or thrillers or classics this year, making up for them with slightly more Young Adult books – otherwise it is my usual mix, with non-fiction remaining around the 10% mark.

TARGET: Read a bit more non-fiction in 2015, but aim to read eclectically across a wide range of categories and genres as always.

Two last stats for you:

Male / Female Author Ratio – This year it’s 67:62 – ie 52% male, 48% female so very close after having been 70:30 last year. I never choose my reading based on gender, and this ratio goes up and down each year – so it doesn’t mean a lot in terms of my reading but I do follow it at year end in case a trend does start to appear!

And finally, a new stat – that of ‘New to me’ authors, complementing my post yesterday on my best finds of the year. I was amazed to find that 76 (approx 60%) of the books I read this year were by authors I’d not read before – and as you saw yesterday, I’ve discovered some fabulous ones to follow up.

That’s all folks!  I’ll be back with book reviews in the New Year.

All the best for 2015!

My Books of the Year 2014 – Part Two – The Blog edit

Yesterday I shared my best reads of 2014 as reviewed for Shiny New Books. Today, I turn my attention to titles reviewed here. The links will return you to my full reviews:

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Best Retro-Subversive Laugh-Out-Loud Book

scarfolkDiscovering Scarfolk by Richard Littler

So nearly my book of the year, Discovering Scarfolk is just hilarious! Stuck firmly in the 1970s world of public information films and Cold War paranoia, every page of this little book which is designed from front to back yields gems of parody and references in its tale of a missing man who got stuck in the unique town of Scarfolk.

There is also an comic twist to each illustration too, which ironically does make you look again to see if you missed anything…

For more information please reread this poster.

Best Illustrations

sleeper spindle 1The Sleeper and the Spindle by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell

sleeper spindle 2Gaiman’s reworked fairy tale is fabulous on its own, but with Chris Riddell’s illustrations it reaches a new height.

Inked in black and white with gold highlights, Riddell’s characteristic strong-browed young women, cheerful groteseques and skull-like gargoyles are simply gorgeous.



Horrorstor_final_300dpiBest Cover Art

Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

And whilst we’re on the subject of illustration, I must mention the best cover concept of the year – in this horror spoof of the IKEA catalogue.

The graphic design extends to the inside of the novel too with lots of attention to detail, but the story itself, although entertaining, is standard horror fare.

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Best in Translation

my brilliant friendMy Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante (trans. Ann Goldstein)

Like many this year, I too have caught ‘Ferrante Fever’. The first in a sequence of four novels by the elusive Italian author captures growing up in backstreet Naples in the 1950s perfectly for two young girls. Volumes two and three are now available, with the fourth to come. I’m so looking forward to catching up with Elena and Lila’s lives.

Best Medical Drama

Dirty WorkDirty Work by Gabriel Weston

The second book by Weston, a surgeon herself,  is a novel that looks at one of the toughest things that obs & gynae surgeons may ever have to do – provide abortions.  It was not an easy book given its subject matter, but it was completely compelling to read and gives a profound insight into this difficult area.

 

Best Sequel

echoThe Echo by James Smythe

My book group will disagree with this choice for they hated the first book (The Explorer) in this planned quartet. However, I loved the utter claustrophobia of outer space in these books, and The Echo takes the central premise of the first book and keeps twisting it further with great effect. Roll on the third volume I say.

 

Best Book-Group Choice?

all-quiet-on-the-western-frontAll Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maris Remarque

Arguably, we read some great books this year including Kate Atkinson’s Life After Life and Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch, but the added poignancy of reading this novel of WWI during the centenary month of August was very fitting and moving too. Our discussions were wide-ranging and everyone enjoyed the book, proving you don’t always need a voice of dissent to have a good book group meeting.

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Best YA Shocker

BunkerThe Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks

I am glad to have read the controversial Carnegie Medal winner to see for myself what it was all about. I can honestly say it is the bleakest novel I have ever read and it is for younger teens and upwards. If it had been written for adults, we wouldn’t find it so shocking at all, but despite its subject, I wouldn’t stop any child from reading it – I would encourage discussion afterwards though!

… And Finally, My ‘Blog’ Book of the Year

hangover squareHangover Square
by Patrick Hamilton

I read this back in January it is still, frankly, the best book I’ve read all year.

Set in 1938 pre-war Earls Court in London, this is the story of George Harvey Bone and his unrequited love for the teasing Netta. This tragic novel is billed as a black comedy, and I suppose it is in a way. The laughs, however are never at George’s expense. When they come, it is Netta and her friends we laugh at, over their outrageously bad behaviour that makes them targets for our scorn. I nearly cried for George, wishing he hadn’t spotted her across a crowded room that day.

Hamilton’s prose is beautiful, incendiary, moving, clinical, full of ennui – everything it needs to be to tell George’s story. I shall be reading more Hamilton in 2015.

* * * * *

So that’s it for my Books of the Year.
Have you read any of these from yesterday or today?
Do share yours too.

My Books of the Year 2014 – Part One – the Shiny Edit…

hollyThis year for the first time, I’ve split my best of list in two. Having read around 130 books this year, there are too many to feature in just one post and there is an obvious split – today’s first part will feature those books that I’ve reviewed over at Shiny New Books

Forgive me for continually banging the drum, but I’m inordinately proud of Shiny and I am immensely grateful to all the lovely bloggers, friends, authors, translators, publishers who have written reviews and features for us. Special thanks to my three co-editors: Victoria, Simon and Harriet.

Tomorrow’s list will feature my favourite books this year reviewed on this blog, which includes many titles not published this year. 

But first over to the Shiny Edit! The links will take you over to my full reviews:

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Best (Auto)biography

bedsit disco queen

Bedsit Disco Queen: How I grew up and tried to be a pop star by Tracey Thorn.

Tracey writes beautifully about life, love and the music business but does it quietly with warmth, wit and wonder at the good luck she’s had along the way. I loved this book so much, that sharing a maiden surname, I wish I was related to her!

Best YA Read for Adults Too

picture me gonePicture me Gone by Meg Rosoff

This novel about a girl and her father who go on holiday to visit his best friend only to find him missing is an understated novel, with a teenager as its reliable narrator who discovers that it’s the adults who are unreliable. Gently told, there are no big shocks but it reveals a lot about how we learn to see the world in shades of grey rather than black and white.

Best Coming of Age

american sycamoreAmerican Sycamore by Karen Fielding.

A tale of siblings growing up by the banks of the Suequehanna river in north-eastern USA. Billy Sycamore’s life may start off as a modern day Huck Finn but something terrible happens that affects his whole life and family. Narrated by his young sister, it is both funny and sad, and has some transcendant turns of phrase.  Loved it.

She was beautiful, our mother; an extrovert yet flammable, a walking can of gasoline just waiting for a match.

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Best Woods

into the treesInto the Trees by Robert Williams

Forests play a huge part in mythology, yet can a modern family find their own enchanted life living in one?  The very first paragraph of this novel tells us that the forest may be a safe sanctuary one moment, a dangerous and lonely wild place the next. This is a powerful drama of families, finding a life-work balance, true friendship … and trees.

Best Totally Un-PC Book

BonfiglioliDon’t Point That Thing At Me by Kyril Bonfiglioli

Imagine a 1970s Jeeves and Wooster crossed with James Bond, an upped double-entendres quotient and totally un-PC and you’ve got the Charlie Mortdecai books, of which this is the first. Written in the late 1970s, these capers narrated by the art-dealing aristo are great fun.

 

A Quick Mention for These Two

Mother Island by Bethan Roberts and Tigerman by Nick Harkaway.

The former a drama about child abduction and growing up on Anglesey in Wales, the latter an eco-thriller set on an island paradise that is ‘full of win’. Totally different, but both fab.

… And Finally, My ‘Shiny’ Book of the Year

StationelevenUKHCStation Eleven
by Emily St.John Mandel.

I loved this elegant dystopian novel that takes place in the aftermath of a flu pandemic and following the links from former lives that persist between some of its survivors.

Awful things happen, yet seen through the journey of the Travelling Symphony – a collective of musicians and actors who struggle to keep the canon alive – there is positivity instead of despair for the fate of mankind.

Speculative fiction is possibly my favourite sub-genre of reading and this book is superb.

Read my review at SNBks.

 

 

 

2014 in First Lines

I did this meme the previous two years too. A bit of fun for pre-Christmas. It originated at The Indextrious Reader.

The “rules” are simple: Take the first line of each month’s first post over the past year and see what it tells you about your blogging year. Links go back to the original posts. Here goes:

troublesthrillesblogphotoJanuary: ‘I was amazed to find that this thriller from 1975 was Gerald Seymour’s début novel.’ (from my review of Harry’s Game.)

February: ‘You know how it is, you’re reading a book when something – often just a single word or phrase – spooks you.’ (from my opinion piece Anachronism or not? And a potted history of plastics.

March: ‘It’s the start of March. Last year, when James launched this year’s TBR Dare, I gaily signed up again.’ from my report on my progress in The TBR Triple Dog Dare.

frog musicApril: ‘I haven’t read Donoghue’s famous, or even infamous novel Room. I own a copy, but its dark subject matter requires a certain frame of mind to read and we haven’t coincided yet.’ from my blog post on her novel Frog Music.

May: ‘Last night I went to see the live screening of Sam Mendes’ production of King Lear beamed live from the National Theatre to a cinema near you – Didcot in my case.’ (from my write-up of said film.

June: ‘I blame Simon for this! :D’ from my post shamelessly copying his ask me anything idea.

UK cover

UK cover

July: ‘Some readers may already be familiar with David Downing; the six books of his ‘Station’ series of spy thrillers set in WWII Berlin are highly regarded.’ from my review of Jack of Spies by David Downing.

August: ‘Although I only studied it up to O-level, possibly my favourite subject at school was Latin. I continue to surprise myself by the amount of Latin I’ve retained over the years, but I do try to use it whenever I can.’ from my post on the Latin translations available of children’s novels.

September: ‘This remarkable novel about young German soldiers in WWI was our book group’s read for August; I had pushed strongly for a WWI-related choice for the month of the 100th anniversary of the war’s start.’ from my review of All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.

pursuit of love 2October: ‘Last week you may have seen my post about ephemera reporting my finding of some marginalia in an old book – well it made me want to read said book instantly – so I did!’ from my review of The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford.

November: ‘I wanted to write a post about my reactions to a film I saw on TV the other night. It’s not one I would have chosen to see in the cinema, or buy the DVD of – it was just ‘on’…’ from my reactions on seeing the film Drive.

December: ‘A while ago, I was approached by a publicist from the USA who was trying to get some exposure for her client’s book in the UK/Europe – it’s a debut novel, but by an author with an awesome pedigree in the TV world.’ from my review of These Things Happen by Richard Kramer.

As always, it does sort of represent what I’ve written about – 6 book reviews, 2 memes, 2 film/theatre reviews and 2 opinion/misc book pieces.  Feel free to do it yourself.

Book Stats 2013 and Reading Resolutions for 2014

Following hard on the heels of my Books of the Year – it’s time for bookstats.  Many of you may know that I keep a spreadsheet of everything I read so I can analyse my reading at the end of each year.  Don’t groan – it’s not that bad!

I had a really good year statswise, managing to finish over 100 books for the first time in a couple of years. The pagecount is holding up too (although see how many chunky books I must have read in 2011!). NB: The stats are based on 101 books read as at 24.12.13 – I’ve managed to read five more books since then to make 106 books read in total. Book Stats Books Read & Pagecount

Each year I say I plan to read more books from before I was born and the 20th Century in general.  I’ve failed yet again!  Last year 44% of books read were from 2011-12, this year 2012-13 account for even more at 55%. I am such a sucker for new books, (although this year I read more review copies which probably accounts for the increase).
Book Stats 2013 Date of Pub

Then I like to look at author nationality, and I have managed to read a little more widely from around the world, but only managed to increase the total in translation by 3 from 10 last year to 13. Less by American authors too, and more by UK ones.Book Stats 2013 Author Nationality

This year I’ve added a genre chart. The mix is much the same though – a smattering of SF, historical, crime/thrillers, children’s/YA, a few more modern classics, but the largest part is what I call contemporary fiction. Non-fiction remained at the same level around the 10% mark.Book Stats 2013 GenreOne last stat for you before I make my Reading Resolutions – that of male/female author ratio.  Last year I almost reached parity for the first time ever, reading as many books by women authors as by men. This year it returned to 70/30, despite having read my first books by Barbara Pym, Margaret Forster and Penelope Mortimer for instance. I never knowingly consider an author’s gender when I’m choosing what to read, within the constraints of any review copies, I largely go by whim (which is a big  reason that I’m really crap at challenges apart from the TBR dare).

READING RESOLUTIONS FOR 2014…

Triple Dog Dare

  • Again – to read more from my TBR. Initially by participating in The TBR Triple Dog Dare as hosted by James at Ready when you are, C.B. until the end of March. Only exceptions are book club books, plus one I have pre-ordered for January.
  • To read as much as I can, from as wide a choice of books as I can.
  • To only read books I want to read – when I want to read them – that means being tougher on accepting review copies, and that unsolicited books will not get read at all unless they fit my mood.

That’s it really!

Do you make reading resolutions?  

How has your reading year been in stats?

BRING ON THE NEW YEAR OF READING!

My Books of the Year 2013

I’ve had a great reading year in 2013. I’ve managed to read more books than the past few years, topping the hundred mark, and at the time of review thirteen of those scored ten out of ten. Not all of those will make my list below though, as the score is just a snapshot – a useful guide, but not definitive, for often it is those books that initially may not have the instant wow factor, but stay with you and keep you thinking about them that become treasured reads later on.

So here we go with my usual mix of categories – both serious and fun. Links will take you to my original review …

Best sense of place: The Cleaner of Chartres by Salley Vickers
A quiet novel with emotional depth set around the great cathedral. I was lucky enough to hear Salley talk about the novel too which was fascinating.

Best at messing with your mind – The Explorer by James Smythe
More than just SF, this is a claustrophobic psychothriller that just happens to be set in deep space. I shall be re-reading it for book group in January before turning to the sequel The Echo – out in the New Year.

Best novel that’s been in the movies this year – The Great Gatsby
The critics may have thought Baz Luhrman’s GG too flashy, but I loved it. I loved re-reading the novel again even more.

Best by a newly mourned author (R.I.P.) – The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
I had been planning a project to re-read all of Banks novels this year, when the shock announcment came of his terminal illness. I re-read his debut novel – and the power of it blew me away again. He is deeply missed.

Best portrait of American life – Mrs Bridge (& Mr Bridge) by Evan S Connell
Told in a series of vignettes, this pair of novels, each from the PoV of half of a couple, capture the minutiae of suburban life just before the war so perfectly. The personalities of Mr and Mrs Bridge are quite different, so Mrs Bridge is frothy, Mr Bridge is rather stoic. You must read both.Books of the year 1

Best portrait of English life – Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes
There were many novels I could have chosen here including ones by Elizabeth Taylor, Barbara Pym and not forgetting The Diary of a Provincial Lady by EM Delafield, however I plumped for MacInnes because of its youth and optimistic outlook.

Best witchy novel set in Paris – Babayaga by Toby Barlow
Russian witches in fin de siècle Paris, American spies and a police inspector who is transformed into a flea – What’s not to like. Fabulous fun.

Best rediscovery of a childhood favourite – The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner
Going to the Bodleian for it’s Magical Worlds exhibition, and then a lecture by Alan Garner at Magdalen College, rekindled my love of his children’s books from the 1960s, and has made me want to read everything he’s written.

Best historical monster – Magda by Meike Ziervogel
This short work of fiction packs such an emotional punch – telling the story of Magda Goebbels through the eyes of her mother and oldest daughter as well as herself. Meike manages to get inside Magda’s mind to understand without condoning her actions. Simply stunning.

Best one-sitting read – Glaciers by Alexis M Smith
A young woman, who works in a library, muses about her life – her friends and family, her dreams of travelling, finding the perfect dress for a party, and the man she hopes will notice her there. Dreamy and delicate prose, but strong themes of losing people – through distance, break-ups and war.

Books of the year 2
Best comic novel – The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
The story of an Australian professor with Aspergers who sets out to find a wife, and ends up on a voyage of self-discovery. Simsion manages never makes fun of him – but Don is so matter of fact, he can’t help but make you laugh out loud. A delight!

Best memoir – Born Standing Up by Steve Martin
In the 1970s, Steve Martin was one of the US’s top comedians, playing sell-out tours to huge audiences. After eighteen years, worn out by it, and noticing the first empty seats in an audiences appearing again, he turned his back on stand-up. This book is part comedy masterclass and part memoir – and a fine read indeed.

Best book group discussion – Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut
This is my pick of the books we’ve read this year as the one which generated the most meaningful discussion. It may not have been a novel that everyone liked, but we all had something to say about it – which suggests it is a good book group choice.

Best book group read of the year – The 100 year old man who climbed out of a window and disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
This is the book our group voted for as our fave of the year. This hit book in translation contains some of the most novel ways to die we’ve encountered, and was hilarious to boot.

Books of the year 3

… and finally – My Book of the Year is …

Mr Loverman by Bernardine Evaristo

mr loverman

Mr Loverman is the story of Barrington Walker, who emigrated from Antigua in the 1960s. Barry has a big secret. His friend Morris has been his lover for decades. His wife Carmel is at her wits’ end thinking he’s a philandering womaniser, while Morris is putting pressure on Barry to do the right thing. In Mr Loverman, Evaristo has created a memorable family with a magnificent patriarch whom you can’t help falling for. Hilariously funny and exhuberant, yet compassionate and bittersweet in its portrayal of the difficulties of family life – I loved every single page.

So those are my picks of the year. It’s true to say that both Magda and The Explorer came very close to being my book of the year, but the ability of Mr Loverman to put a big smile on my face won out in the end.

Have you read any of these books?
What were your stand-out reads in 2013?
Do tell me …

2013 in First Lines

I did this meme last year too, a bit of fun for pre-Christmas. It originated at The Indextrious Reader, and you can see Jane at Fleur Fisher in her World’s post here.

The “rules” are simple: Take the first line of each month’s first post over the past year and see what it tells you about your blogging year. Links back to the original posts. Here goes:

January: ‘Shakespeare’s question from The Two Gentlemen of Verona is an apposite one to ask of Dawn French’s new novel, for the title character never says a word, being in a coma after a fall from a third floor balcony.’ (from my review of Oh Dear Silvia

February: ‘Written ten years after his 1959 novel Mrs Bridge, Connell’s companion piece Mr Bridge tells the story of the Bridge family through the same time period from the 1930s into WWII, but from the husband’s point of view.’ (from my review of Mr Bridge

March: ‘I have shelves full of proper non-fiction books all awaiting my attention. Books historical, geographical, biographical, scientific, and so on – you get the picture.’ from my post on Non-Fiction and Me

April: ‘Well today is the start of the second quarter of 2013 and the official end of this year’s TBR Double Dog Dare hosted by James at Ready When You Are, C.B.

May: ‘Distractions! I had hoped to read or re-read more Banks books by now.’ (from my re-read of Iain Banks debut novel The Wasp Factory

June: ‘Playing with my books this morning, I spotted my pile of Ladybird books from my childhood.’ from my post on The Joy of Ladybird Books

July: ‘In the UK, it’s Independent Bookseller’s Week. Indie bookshops all over the country are running special events and promotions.’

August: ‘It’s lovely when you get a nice little surprise (or ‘pleasing’ as Lynne at DGR would call them). I’ve had a couple of good bookish ones this morning.’ on buying a second-hand book and discovering it to be signed by the author. (here).

September: ‘I was sad to hear of the death of Elmore Leonard a week and a half ago.’ Celebrating Elmore Leonard and reviewing Glitz.

October: ‘Occasionally we like to have a different kind of reading experience in our Book Group, and for this month’s read, we chose a play.’ from my Book Group Report on reading The Weir by Conor McPherson

November: ‘It’s a rare thing for me to read a graphic novel – in fact the only one I’ve read since starting this blog was The Crow by James O’Barr.’ from my review of graphic novel Dark Satanic Mills.

December: ‘This is the second novel in Aaronovitch’s ‘Rivers of London’ series of humorous police procedurals involving magical crimes in contemporary London.’ from my review of Moon over Soho.

I enjoyed that, and actually think the results are pretty representative of my blog this year. Still obsessing about the TBR; missing Iain Banks and Elmore Leonard; book group; and a bit of most of the types of books I usually read.

Because our kittens didn’t manage to be the first posts in any of the months since we got them, I shall leave you with a couple of Christmas kitty photos. Both are of Ginny, as Harry has been too busy sleeping somewhere else to be photographed…

Good Kitty…Christmas kitty 2Bad Kitty!…Christmas Kitty

2012 in First Lines

In my reading, I’m still straddling the years – finishing two books started in 2012.  The historical epic The Game of Kings for my Doing Dunnett readalong, and Hardy’s Jude the Obscure for book group. Once I’ve finished those, I’ll enjoy reading something totally different (from my TBR of course).

So it’s nice that a meme has turned up to straddle the years too. This came via Simon T from Jane, originating at The Indextrious Reader.

The “rules” are simple: Take the first line of each month’s post over the past year and see what it tells you about your blogging year. Clicking on the month will take you to the original post.  Here goes:

January: I am deliberately not making any Reading Resolutions this year other than to tackle my TBR in all ways – through reading and culling. Participating in the TBR Double Dare as already discussed here should get me well on the way.

February: This January has been Australian Literature Month, hosted by Kim at Reading Matters, and the interweb has been alive with Aussie Lit.

March: My daughter had to make a poster with ten facts about Abingdon where we live for her Geography homework tonight.

April: It’s April 1st, spring has sprung, and I have been released!  Freed from my self-imposed constraints of only reading books that I physically owned before January 1st 2012.

May: This beautifully illustrated novella by Dominguez, an Argentinian author, is about people who are obsessed by books, and whose houses become libraries, (much like Gaskell Towers then, but I jest).

June: Later this month I’m hosting a Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week (June 18-24). Thanks to everyone who has said they plan to join in so far.

July: Before Beryl Bainbridge Reading week, I posted about how I’d essentially bought this book on the basis of its cover alone which is rather stunning, and how it would be the first book I read after Beryl.

August: When I was little, the books I enjoyed reading the most were fairy tales.

September: I’ve taken my time reading John Saturnall’s feast, the latest novel by Lawrence Norfolk.

October: Sally Nicholls is one of the best new writers of books for older children and teens.

November: I’ve been to the pictures twice this half-term – two very different films and two gooduns.

December: You can read my review of this book here, but I thought I’d share what our book group thought of it too this month.

I enjoyed that, and actually think the results are pretty representative of my blog this year.  Lots of obsessing about the TBR; the joys of reading Beryl Bainbridge and taking part in other reading themed events;  book group; good YA/Children’s books; fairy tales; a smidgeon of non-fiction; and something to prove I do go out occasionally!

I shall leave you today with a photo of my messy bedside bookcase, which may give some hints of what is to come soon at Annabel’s House of Books…Bookcases again 008a

Book Stats – Review of 2012, and aims for 2013

I posted about my books of the year a couple of weeks ago here. Now it’s time, as I always do, to take a light-hearted look at the stats of what I read…

Life must be getting busier, as each year I seem to be reading fewer books. I say that firmly with my tongue in my cheek, as I know that if I diverted some of the time I spend mucking about on Facebook playing games etc. into reading, and also not watching afternoon telly on days when I get home early, I’d get a lot more reading done!

So – having consulted my master spreadsheet, up to the time of writing:

  • 2012 Books NationalityI’ve finished 90 books this year, vs 93 in 2011, 106 in 2010 and 114 in 2009.
  • The page count is still holding up well at just under 26k, vs 29k in 2011, 26k in 2010 and 32k in 2009.
  • I read the same number of books in translation this year – 10.  Again, I’d like to read more in 2013.
  • Due to my hosting Beryl Bainbridge Reading Week, this was the first year in which I’ve read 6 books by the same author. I also read 4 Adrian Mole books by Sue Townsend, and 3 teen books by Sophie McKenzie to impress my daughter and her friends.
  • 2012 Books DateAnother stat I love to look at is when books I read were published.  I didn’t manage to increase my reading of ones published pre-1960 (my d.o.b.) this year, and am always shocked to find how many shiny new books I manage to squeeze in  – a full 44% percent published in 2012, plus 2 yet to hit the shelves.
  • In genre fiction, this must be the first year that I haven’t read any SF proper. I have read more historical fiction though particularly set around WWI & II – there’s a lot of it about!
  • One area I’ve improved upon is to read more non-fiction having read 6 books of memoir/biography and 5 others.
  • Lastly, I’ve redressed the balance between male and female authors this year. Last year my list was 70% by men. This year it’s almost at parity, with 46:44 male:female writers.

My aims for 20132013

  1. Read more!
      1. Read more from my TBR – I’m taking part in the TBR Double Dog Dare, which’ll take me up to the end of March without reading new acquisitions.
      2. Read more old books – particularly those published pre-1960.
      3. Read more in translation.
      4. Read some SF. Mustn’t forget about my first book love.
      5. I’d love to host another author reading week.  I have an idea, possibly for May – more soon!

So, how did your reading year shape up?