Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 reading stats and favorites

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
Mythology: 3
Science fiction: 12
Young adult or children's: 7
Western: 1

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!


  1. Oh, I'm so sorry to hear you had such a rotten time of it the last couple of months. I'd been wondering how you were, since you hadn't been blogging. I know what you mean, too, about illness affecting your reading. I was dealing with some health issues this fall and simply didn't have the brain space for some of the books I normally like, so I picked easy stuff and immediately gave up on anything that didn't work. Rereads would have been a great choice, too, and Cat's Eye is one I'd like to reread.

  2. I always look forward to your blog and noticed you were missing. I can imagine few things worse than the extreme reaction you had to the shrimp (?). Illness is just horrible.

    Glad you're well: what a horrible thing to lose your reading ability Great list of books. The only one I've read on your best list is Wolf Hall.

  3. Oh Susan, how terrible about your allergic reaction! I hope you are feeling better. All-in-all you had a good reading year from the looks of it. I hope 2013 brings more good reading and no more allergic reactions!

  4. I'm glad you're back. I was worried about you.

  5. I don't know how anyone has the energy to count and catalog all they've read, but I like hearing about the favorites--and I haven't read any of your three favorite ones.
    Wishing you health in the new year.

  6. Sorry to hear you have been feeling poorly. I hope you are much better now!

  7. What you describe is kind of scary, so here's hoping you are back into your reading "groove" soon. I'm pulling for you.

  8. So sorry to hear about your sudden attack of extreme illness. Rereads do the trick in those situations, I also find. Glad to hear you're feeling better. And what an interesting collection of reading stats, I like the way you've put them together. April Witch has been on my radar for quite a long time now, so it's nice to see that you thought highly of it.


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