Everyone else in the blogosphere seems to keep track of their reading stats far better than I, but I have stolen a meme from Savidge Reads. Check it.
How many books read in 2009?
200. More or less. I counted from my books read page – some books I didn’t finish, and some I reviewed all at once (like Fables), and some I read but didn’t review. 200 is a nice friendly number, isn’t it? I’m sticking with it. Hooray for approximations.
How many fiction and nonfiction?
This was trickier to count than I was expecting. Do Noel Streatfeild’s autobiographical stories count as nonfiction? Do plays? I decided no to both and came up with 47 nonfiction, which means 153 fiction. Not as bad as I was expecting – I thought I read almost no nonfiction this year, which doesn’t prove to be the case at all. Hurrah!
Male/female author ratio?
86 males and two halves, so then 112 women and two halves. This is relatively balanced and I feel pleased about it.
Favourite book of 2009?
Joan Wyndham’s Love Lessons. Sister was screwed up, but her wartime diaries are a complete joy to read. I am particularly pleased because I found it all on my own. I love finding books all on my own. It makes me feel like a pioneer. Other highlights include Patrick Ness’s two Chaos Walking books, Ordinary Victories and The Mask of Apollo.
Leaving out books I didn’t finish, probably Juniper, Gentian, and Rosemary, because not only did I dislike it, it felt very self-indulgent, and it made me angry when she was snotty about the South. So.
Any that you simply couldn’t finish, and why?
Several, and for various reasons. I talked about some of them on this blog, then decided it wasn’t right to say mean things about books I didn’t even finish; and now I’ve decided I’ll probably post about future books I couldn’t finish, because I don’t like not being able to remember why I gave up on a book. Like Alias Grace – why on earth didn’t I finish that one? Did I not like it? Surely I liked it! What happened there?
Oldest book read?
Must be Henry VI, Part 3, assuming the scholars have got the chronology of Shakespeare’s plays right. The next oldest after that is hundreds of years later, which makes me feel I should be reading some older things now and again.
Her Fearful Symmetry – when I read it, it wasn’t even published yet. Hurrah for books!
Longest and shortest book titles?
Longest is The Letters of Dorothy Sayers: 1899-1936. In totting up characters, I’ve counted punctuation but not spaces, and I’ve not included the business that comes after the inevitable colon in many titles; you may notice this one has the business after the semicolon, which I think is legitimate because you can’t identify the book without that. Shortest title, using the same rules, is Gig.
Longest and shortest books?
No idea. I don’t keep track of pages. I don’t think I read anything really massive; Odd and the Frost Giants was quite short but I wouldn’t swear to its being the shortest.
How many books from the library?
I would have guessed a dramatic majority of them. It turns out only 119. A lot of the books I read, though, I borrowed from other people or read (this is shameful!) in the chair at the bookshop.
Any translated books?
Six altogether, predominantly graphic novels: The Elegance of the Hedgehog, The Witch of Portobello, Ordinary Victories, Persepolis, Censoring an Iranian Love Story, and Chicken with Plums. Three comics, three regular books, and all of them read in the summertime for some reason.
Most read author of the year, and number of books by that author?
Oh bother. I forgot about this question, or I might have counted my books of the year slightly differently. Well, it’s Bill Willingham – I posted about him four times, but in fact I read twelve volumes of Fables, plus 1001 Nights of Snowfall, plus Taller Tales. Fourteen altogether.
Startlingly few: 39. But I reread loads of books I didn’t review – either because I had reviewed them previously, or because they were in a series and it’s hard to do individual reviews of books in a series, or because I just didn’t find the time.
Favourite character of the year?
I liked Dion in The Mask of Apollo quite a lot; Patrick Ness’s Viola is very good also; and there was Merricat from We Have Always Lived in the Castle. But in fact it’s the nonfictional characters I’ve read about this year that have meant the most to me – Edward Murrow, in the superb Sperber biography I read; and Joan Wyndham from her diaries Love Lessons and Love is Blue (dull titles for really superb books).
Which countries did you go to through the pages of your reading?
Oh, gosh, this is where my reading proves undiverse! Britain, of course (lots and lots of Britain), America, and several fantasy worlds; ancient Greece, Kenya, myth-time Scandinavia, some fictional South Pacific islands, Denmark, Iran, Italy, India, France, Japan, Kuwait, Egypt, and Germany. I guess that’s not terrible really.
Which book wouldn’t you have read without someone’s specific recommendation?
Many. I wouldn’t have read Can Any Mother Help Me? without Tara’s recommendation; The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher without Jackie & an adventure in reading; any of my DogEar Reading Challenge books without Jeane; Fool on the Hill without Nicki; the extremely hilarious Ballerina without Schatzi; or Patrick Ness without Nymeth. That is a very incomplete list. Just the ones that popped into my mind.
Which author was new to you in 2009 that you now want to read the entire works of?
Joan Wyndham. I love her. But she has only written four books, and I have read two of them; and they are apparently the best two. So even if I can find her books, it is all downhill from here. Bill Willingham was new to me this year, but I’ve read all of Fables now and feel quite content until more Fables appears (plus I am getting Peter and Max from Cecelia & very excited for it to arrive!). Shirley Jackson was new to me, but I’ve read her two best books and am not sure about her others. Patrick Ness is new to me this year and I want to read all his books but again, there aren’t very many. Hm.
Which books are you annoyed you didn’t read?
I’m cross I couldn’t get Joan Wyndham’s other books. She is featuring heavily in this meme, but I cannot help it. I love her so much.
Did you read any books you’ve always been meaning to read?
I don’t know about “always” but I did read several things I have been meaning to read for some time. Some were box-tick reads (The Handmaid’s Tale, Revolutionary Road, The Witch of Portobello, and some of Shakespeare’s early plays); some I’ve been saving as a treat for myself (The Mask of Apollo, The Enchantress of Florence); and some I’ve been meaning to read since I started blogging because the blogosphere seems to love them so (The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, and Bill Willingham’s Fables books).
So there you go. My year in books.