Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014 reading

Poor neglected blog.  Still, I did complete my PhD this year as planned, so something had to give. Here's this year's reading summary.

How many books read in 2014?
Only 30 books this year, which may be the lowest ever; there have been reading droughts if not actual incidences of the dreaded reader's block.

Fiction/Non-Fiction ratio?
23 fiction and 7 non-fiction; one of the non-fiction books was David Miles's vast but very enjoyable The Tribes of Britain, which ought to count as about 3 books.

Male/Female authors?
13 books by male authors, and 17 by female authors.

Favourite book read?
Ali Smith's How to be Both and Evie Wyld's All the Birds Singing were both wonderful.  Rebecca Solnit's The Faraway Nearby is an absorbing blend of memoir and travel writing and extremely moving.  Andrey Kurkov's Death and the Penguin was full of the unexpected.  Honourable mention to Penelope Fitzgerald's The Bookshop, a terribly sad book about the hideous politics of small town life, and to Hilary Mantel's astonishing Beyond Black.

Least favourite?
No real stinkers this year.  A couple of slightly dull novels, but I didn't hate them enough to name them here.

Oldest book read?
Pilgrimage 1, by Dorothy Richardson - Pointed Roofs was first published in 1911.

Ali Smith's How to be Both and Michael Cunningham's haunting The Snow Queen, both published this year.

Longest book title?
The Man Who Went Into the West, a life of the irascible poet and priest R.S. Thomas by Byron Rodgers.

Shortest title?
Sylvia Townsend Warner's witty account of Somerset.

How many re-reads?
Just one - Alison Bechdel's Are You My Mother?

Most books read by one author this year?
A December binge on Phil Rickman's marvellous Merrily Watkins books means I've read five books by him this year.

Any in translation?
Death and the Penguin, and Tove Jansson's story collection Travelling Light.

And how many of this year’s books were from the library?
Six library books, four of those borrowed as e-books.

Resolutions next year are to read more, and definitely to blog more.