Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reading Stats and 2013 Favorites

I can't say I'm sorry to see the end of 2013. There were lots of health issues affecting various members in both our families this year and it was near impossible to keep the stress created by all this at bay. I'm hoping for a calmer, healthier 2014 for all of us.

I didn't make it through as many books as I'd hoped to, particularly not as many classics, I didn't use 2013 as a catch-up reading year as I'd planned, I basically became a little sheep and read the same new books everyone else was reading instead of charting my own path, but that's okay. I enjoyed what I read. The older books are still there. Last night I finished Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits--Wendy gave it to me probably a decade back and I couldn't be bothered to read it before now, but it didn't become any less wonderful in the interim.

My reading stats for the last nine years (this year's in bold):

Books Total 74 / 100 / 82 / 101 / 101 / 78 / 81 / 74 / 77
Nonfiction 13 / 5 / 12 / 16 / 15 / 13 / 8 / 14 / 13
Novels 57 / 80 / 66 / 78 / 79 / 62 / 62 / 50 / 47
Short Story Collections 3 / 4 / 2 / 7 / 7 / 3 / 4 / 1 / 8
Library Books 36 / 29 / 39 /26 / 48 / 27 / 14 / 31
Newly Acquired/Read 14 / 21 / 12 / 23 / 32 / 32 / 31 / 24
Newly Acquired/Stockpiled 58 / 78 / 120+ / 113 / 140 / 88 / 141+ / 75+
E-texts Read 12 / 20 / 12 / 17 / 10 / 12
Free E-texts Read 4 / 10 / 6 / 9 / 5 / 7
Just-published books 35 / 30 / 21 / 36 / 55 / 41 / 34 / 33
Classics 7 / 22 / 23 / 21 / 10 / 8 / 23 / 12
Pre-20th Century 1 / 8 / 10 / 9 / 7 / 4 / 12 / 11
Written by women 49 / 38 / 46 / 55 / 42 / 33 / 28

6 authors with multiple books read: Margaret Atwood (3); E.L. Doctorow (2); Jennifer Egan (2); Karen Joy Fowler (2); Doris Lessing (2); Iris Murdoch (2)

8 rereads (in order read): Breakfast of Champions (Kurt Vonnegut); The Judge (Rebecca West); Ragtime (E.L. Doctorow); The Sense of an Ending (Julian Barnes); Oryx and Crake (Margaret Atwood); In the Woods (Tana French); Life After Life (Kate Atkinson); We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Karen Joy Fowler).

My favorites for the year, which you might can guess, since I've already reread them, are:

Life After Life. Kate Atkinson
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. Karen Joy Fowler.

Other books I'm very happy I read, in no particular order:
The Pure Gold Baby. Margaret Drabble (just a matter of time before I read it again)
A Suitable Boy. Vikram Seth. (at 1474 pages, this is the longest book I've ever read. While I cannot image reading it again from cover to cover, I am most anxious to read the sequel.)
The Interestings. Meg Wolitzer
The Woman Upstairs. Claire Messud
The Diaries of Jane Somers. Doris Lessing
Tumbledown. Robert Boswell.
The House of the Spirits. Isabel Allende
May We Be Forgiven. A.M. Homes.
The Burgess Boys. Elizabeth Strout
& Sons. David Gilbert


  1. I just Life After Life for Christmas and am very excited to get it. Here's hoping it won't take the whole year for that to happen. :)

  2. Great stats! Fascinating that you keep track of e-books and library books and what a great list of books. I should read the Atkinson. I've heard so many raves about her.

    And I might just join in with your Scottish reads. Well, at least one! I have read very little Scottish lit. Lewis Grassic Gibbon's A Scot's Quair was probably the last.:)

  3. I also loved Life After Life. I thought it was wonderful. I'm also very impressed you read A Suitable Boy, the length has always put me off a bit -- though I'm not sure quite why, as my fave read this year was about 1600 pages... oh well, it's still something to look forward to anyhow!

  4. Isn't the Allende great? I went though a bit Isabel Allende phase years ago and I think that is my favorite of hers. It would seem that a lot of us had less than happy 2013s--and my own reading was off for a variety of reasons (mostly work related stress as you might imagine...). That won't go away I suspect, but I still hope next year is a better reading year for me. I started (for the second time by the way) A Suitable Boy, but I haven't cracked it open in weeks and weeks so I guess this will be another failed attempt unless I can motivate myself to pick it up again. And I really need to read Kate Atkinson--she keeps popping up on favorites lists. Did you read Donna Tartt's new book? Have a great 2014--and a healthy one, too!!

  5. Danielle, I didn't even mention all the work-related stress, but I know you understand how bad it's been and will continue to be. . . I started the new Tartt last night and am loving it so far. I've only read one other Allende, and didn't like it near as well as House of the Spirits.

    Melwyk, I tried several times last night to leave a comment on your blog and failed. . . I really hate Blogger sometimes. I'll keep trying. I put off reading A Suitable Boy for years because of the length, so I understand. I'm stalled midway in Gaddis' The Recognitions right now, but I do want to continue; it's another book that goes on forever.

    Kat, I think if you've read A Scot's Quair you've probably read the most Scottish book of all? I'm of the opinion that all my reading in the Scotland Challenge will be mere build-up to the Quair. . .

    Suey, whenever you get around to Life After Life, I'm sure you'll love it. Just find the best time for you.

    Happy New Year's, everyone!

  6. I'm currently reading The Woman Upstairs and am really enjoying it. It's so hard to deal with health concerns. Wishing you a healthier year and a lot of good books!

  7. Your stockpiled number dropped quite a lot, must work on that in 2014 ;) I hope to read both of your favorites at some point this year. I hope you have a healthy and happy 2014!


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...