Wednesday, 30 December 2009

A Reading Year

As I was composing my end-of-year statistics I spied this meme on Savidge Reads and borrowed it.

How many books read in 2009?

I have beaten my own personal best by reading 133 books this year and I'll finish another before midnight on New Year's Eve.

How many fiction and non fiction?

I have only read eight works of non-fiction this year but that is actually rather good for me. I foresee me reading more non-fiction titles in 2010, with a few lined up already for the beginning of the year.

Male/Female author ratio?

35 male authors (two books at least but a few of them) and 78 female authors, which doesn't surprise me at all.

Favourite book of 2009?

The Group by Mary McCarthy, published in 1963 but reissued in 2009. For my favourite new book of the year, check back tomorrow.

Least favourite?

Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill.

Any that you simply couldn’t finish and why?

I've been lucky (for the most part) with my choices this year and haven't picked anything up that I couldn't finish although I'm still stunned that I managed to finish The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt and there were definite moments when I suspected that it would never end.

Oldest book read?

I finally read my last remaining unread Jane Austen novel, Persuasion, this year and that was published posthumously in 1817 and the oldest book that I had this year.


After the Fire, A Still Small Voice was most likely the most recently published that I have read but I have read 24 new titles this year

Longest and shortest book titles?

After the Fire, A Still Small Voice and Mort.

Longest and shortest books?

Wolf Hall was the longest (even if The Children's Book felt like it) and I read a number of novellas.

How many books from the library?

I've utilised the library as much as possible this year and 38 of the books read were borrowed from the library.

Any translated books?

Fourteen books, predominantly French.

Most read author of the year, and how many books by that author?

Seven Terry Pratchett novels, six of them set in the Discworld.

Any re-reads?

I reread some Angela Carter, a number of children's books and a few titles that came up as book group choices that I had read years before.

Favourite character of the year?

Terry Pratchett's Death.

Which countries did you go to through the page in your year of reading?

Perhaps a world tour? London through the ages, Scotland, Ireland, The Czech Republic, the Deep South, North America, Domincan Republic, Colombia, Spain, Poland, Brazil, France, Russia, Australia, India, Japan, Afghanistan, Switzerland, Egypt, Iceland, Sweden, China, Australia, Brazil, Africa, a couple of deserted islands and the Disc.

Which book wouldn’t you have read without someone’s specific recommendation?

It being my first year blogging, there have been several!

Which author was new to you in 2009 that you now want to read the entire works of?

Esther Freud, John Wyndham, Mary McCarthy, Jhumpa Lahiri, James Scudamore, J.M. Coetzee, Sam Taylor and a few debut novelists who I will seek out future writings from.

Which books are you annoyed you didn’t read?

There are a few books that I have been wanting to read for some time that I am annoyed with myself for not reading - look out for those in 2010! On the plus side, I read more new fiction this year than I ever have any other year but next year I would like to strike a balance between new fiction and those books that I have been meaning to read.

Did you read any books you have always been meaning to read?

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, I Am a Cat by Soseki Natsume, Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (pre-blogging) and Brighton Rock by Graham Greene


Mrs. B. said...

Interesting answers Claire. I also read more books by women and it wasn't intentional at all. So it wasn't surprising that my top ten are all female writers.
The Hunger Games made my list and I would never have read it if I hadn't read your review. Reading book blogs has certainly enriched my reading life. And I finally got my copy of the Group yesterday. I'm so looking forward to it after you have glowingly mentioned it several times! Happy New Year!

Kals said...

Love your made for good reading :) I've started reading Persuasion. How did you like it?

Jackie (Farm Lane Books) said...

I loved reading your answers!

I think 8 non-fiction books is a good number - I think I have only read 2. The rest of our answers are quite similar. I think I have read roughly the same number of books as you and enjoyed many of the same books as you.

I hope to read a copy of The Group soon nd look forward to sharing many more book gems in 2010.

Paperback Reader said...

Mrs. B. I do tend towards fiction by women although I have so many favourite male writers too. I prefer reading about women's issues but love good writing. A lot, but not all, of my favourite books of 2009 were written by women.
I'm behind in my blog reading but so glad that Hunger Games made your list! I wouldn't have come across it if it hadn't been for blogging; blogging has indeed enriched my reading life too.
I hope you enjoy both The Group and your New Year!

Kals, thanks! Persuasion actually made my top reads of 2009! I loved it; my review is back in August I think, if you want to read it. It's a more mature P&P.

Jackie, I'm glad you enjoyed them.
I'm quite proud of my 8 NF, especially when none of those are biographies/autobiographies. My other book group read a lot of NF, which is why I am reading more than I used to and there have been a few books that I have come across via blogging.
Here's to a great reading 2010! I'm very excited as my other book group have chosen The Group to read and discuss in January (and not at my coercion!)

StuckInABook said...

I love the questions Simon added to my meme, and your answers are fab. Happy 2010 reading!

Anonymous said...

Oh I do love this post, am thrilled so many people around the book blogging world are having a go at this. Its my nosey nature no question, and the fact its all about books. I must read some Pratchett and I have to try and get a copy of The Group.

Danielle said...

I love this meme and wish I had seen it before I did my own end of the year stats--this is much more fun! I read The Group ages ago and would love to read it again--I think I would appreciate it more now that I am a bit older. And Persuasion is one of my favorite books! Happy reading in 2010! :)

Karen said...

This is a great way to wrap up your reading year. I'm still doing lots of thinking about my best books from the past year - so many to choose from! I know most of my reads will be from female authors too - and this is intentional from me. For some reason (and of course there are exceptions to this rule) I just usually enjoy books written by women more.

Tony said...

Not sure how my gender division stacks up - probably sightly more weighted towards male writers than yours ;) -, but my reading in translation count was good: 39, of which thirteen were read in the original language (and one other was read in German although originally written in Italian).

I was just wondering how Susan Hill fared on the foreign book front in 2009...

Anonymous said...

Pratchett's Death is one of my favourite characters too! I didn't get to read many of his books this year, but I'm reading Unseen Academicals now and loving it.

JoAnn said...

You've had a fantastic year - congratulations! The Group is a must-read for me in 2010. Happy New Year, Claire!

Vivienne said...

The Group looks interesting. I will have to look that one up. I love reading everyone's stats for the year. I haven't really kept a record,so I have got a clue. I hope you have a fabulous New Year.

Paperback Reader said...

Simon, thanks for the meme! I read the other Simon's post first before realising it was adapted.
Happy 2010 reading to you too! May we share great books.

Simon, I love reading people's answers as well; I also have an inquisitive nature!
Pratchett and The Group are both wonderful.

Danielle, I have a strong feeling that The Group and Persuasion will both remain all-time favourites for me. Have a wonderful reading year in 2010!

Karen, although I have many favourite male writers I do love female writers and seem to gravitate towards them more especially those published by feminist presses. It was hard to whittle down my favourites.

Tony, I am in awe of your German reading! That's impressive - were they all male?

I imagine that the foreign book count for that writer was particularly low...

Sakura, 2009 was my first year reading books devoted to Death as opposed to just featuring him in a cameo. Unseen Academicals was fun!

JoAnn, I'm delighted with some of my finds this year; I have read some fantastic books. Happy New Year to you too!

Vivienne, I only started keeping a record in 2007 but I like to keep track for my own self. The Group is VERY interesting!

Christy said...

I'm absolutely in awe! I averaged that out to 11 books per month, or between 3 and 4 books per week.

I am enthused to strive for higher goals of reading. But what is important is the joy and love of reading and sharing a good book, what is better than that?

Thank you for sharing.


Steph said...

I really enjoyed your review of The Group, but didn't know that you enjoyed it so much as to name it your favourite book of 2009! It's a book that's been on my radar for a while, but this has definitely boosted it in my mind. You read so many great books this year (so impressed that you read 133!), so the fact that this topped all others definitely means something.

verity said...

Ooh, I like this meme better than the one I did. Happy reading in 2010.

Paperback Reader said...

Christy, I had a good year! I've had a great year but it was mainly as a result of more time; at the beginning of the year I was averaging 6 books and one month later in the year I managed 16! It's more about quality than quantity though and you are right that there is nothing better than reading and sharing a good book.

Steph, The Group is the one that stands out most in my reading experience this year; the prose and themes elevated it for me although the plot is also good. Of course I highly recommend it!

Thanks, Verity, and happy 2010 reading to you too!

Rebecca Reid said...

what a great year for you. I do like that meme!

Paperback Reader said...

Rebecca, it's an enjoyable all-encompassing meme and I plan on using it at the end of this year! Hopefully after another successful twelve months of reading.

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