Right after the election in November I had an allergic reaction to either the high-dose antibiotic the doctor had me on for a sinus infection or to the few measly shrimp I'd had for a late supper the night before (the doctor is betting on the shrimp, because that way he's not responsible). Whatever I reacted to, the end results were a long-lasting case of severe joint inflammation and arthritic pain that lingered past the midway point of December, a compromised immune system, and a skewing of my usual allergies.
It also messed me up readingwise. New books that were just my thing before I got sick just weren't after; my eyes would fall right off their first or second page. The ones I did manage to make it through I either didn't get much out of or else hated much more intensely than the poor book probably warranted.
I'd've gone on a reading fast for a few weeks to get myself straightened out if it hadn't been for the fact that I was so close to reaching 100 books for the year.
So I switched to rereading old favorites, reaching 100 this morning with Margaret Atwood's Cat's Eye, one of my all-time favorites, a book I hadn't read in its entirety in more than 20 years. The ending still kicked me in the gut and brought me to tears; can't think of a better way to end the reading year than with that.
My reading stats for the last eight years (this year's in bold):
Books Total 100 / 82 / 101 / 101 / 78 / 81 / 74 / 77
Nonfiction 5 / 12 / 16 / 15 / 13 / 8 / 14 / 13
Novels 80 / 66 / 78 / 79 / 62 / 62 / 50 / 47
Short Story Collections 4 / 2 /7 / 7 / 3 / 4 / 1 / 8
Library Books 29 / 39 /26 / 48 / 27 / 14 / 31
Newly Acquired/Read 21 / 12 / 23 / 32 /32 / 31 / 24
Newly Acquired/Stockpiled 78 / 120+ / 113 / 140 / 88 /141+ / 75+
E-texts Read 20 / 12 /17 / 10 / 12
Free E-texts Read 10 / 6 / 9 / 5 / 7
Just-published books 30 / 21 / 36 / 55 / 41 /34 / 33
Classics 22 / 23 / 21 / 10 / 8 / 23 / 12
Pre-20th Century 8 / 10 / 9 / 7 / 4 / 12 / 11
Written by women 49 / 38 / 46 / 55 / 42 / 33 / 28
Graphic novels: 1
Books of the Bible: 3
Science fiction: 12
Young adult or children's: 7
13 authors with multiple books read: Gillian Flynn (3); George Gissing (3); Olivia Manning (3); Patrick O'Brian (3); David Brin (2); Margaret Drabble (2); Louise Fitzhugh (2); Jonathan Lethem (2); Hilary Mantel (2); Anthony Powell (2); Kim Stanley Robinson (2); Anthony Trollope (2); Anne Tyler (2).
16 rereads (in order read): A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L'Engle); Searching for Caleb (Anne Tyler); The Middle Ground (Margaret Drabble); My Mortal Enemy (Willa Cather); The Last Gentleman (Walker Percy); The Long Secret and Harriet the Spy (Louise Fitzhugh); Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret (Judy Blume); A Candle in Her Room (Ruth M. Arthur); The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger); Cloud Atlas (David Mitchell); Heart of the Matter (Graham Greene); The Realms of Gold (Margaret Drabble); The Long Winter (Laura Ingalls Wilder); The French Lieutenant's Woman (John Fowles); Cat's Eye (Margaret Atwood).
My top three favorite new books of the year were (in order read):
The Wesleyan Anthology of Science Fiction, ed. by Arthur B. Evans et al.
Three Weeks in December by Audrey Shulman
April Witch by Majgull Axelsson
Other books I can see myself rereading:
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
What Happened to Sophie Wilder by Christopher R. Beha
See you in the new year!
As a reader I cherish the fantasy of one day stopping acquiring books, of subsisting only on what is already stashed away in the crammed lar...
Why is Ben Murphy so happy? Because for once in his life, he's on time. He beat Roger Davis, Steve Kanaly and the moderator to the pan...
Last night I read Julian Barnes' The Sense of an Ending . Yes, the night before it went up against Donald Ray Pollock's The Devil Al...
Sherman Alexie cancels book tour for memoir about his mother.