Sunday, January 6, 2013

2012! 2013!

I don't know about you but the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 snuck up on me. I've passed it well but not with the organization required to have this recap and resolution post up within an hour of the year's end like many other bloggers. My backlog is also a bit scary. Perhaps you're tired of reading these kinds of posts? I don't particularly care, here's my contribution. You could, of course, just look at the graphics and skip the thick block of text but c'mon, this is a reading blog!

In 2012, I read 191 books which is...geez, did I have a lot of free time! I don't make goals of how many books to read but I do find myself somewhat wishing I had scrambled and maybe read 6 novellas before the year's end so I'd have an even 200. No matter, the only person I'm competing with is myself and I can tell you, this year I read more books than in the past 6 years with my closest year being 2006 (116 books).

On average I read books that were 321 pages long which seems a bit high when I think about it because I could have sworn I read tons of books that were 260 pgs long as well as many novellas that fit into my back pocket. Then I remember the numerous 600 pg bricks I plowed through this year, my hands falling asleep from the weight of the corners pressing into the middle of my palms. Ah mathematics, normalizing subjectivity in simple numbers.

My main reading goal was to read more books by women. I succeeded! YAY! I read 59% women writers. The last time I listened to so many more women than men was in 2008 with a mere 44%. Okay, yeah, not much of a significant difference but enough to make me feel better about myself in a feminist way.

As for my attempts to find more non fiction to finish...that was not successful with a 21% non fiction. And that's a definition of non-fiction that includes memoirs and such. Whoops. I abandoned some 57 books this year and I haven't run the numbers but I'm pretty sure a majority of those were non fiction. This is actually my year of the least non fiction since I started crunching numbers annually. Of course, this year I was not aided by any research needs so that's not too much of a surprise (for instance in 2010, I read 45% non fiction-I also wrote an undergraduate thesis and began graduate school).

However, I did continue to enjoy more of the books I read. Partially perhaps because I abandoned books but I have a 58% up satisfaction. Not as good as the years when my satisfaction hit almost 80% but I'd like to think I've become a more sophisticated reader-not, you know, more curmudgeonly. Better news is a mere 3% down rate which makes me happy and more pleased with my year of reading than anything else. Even if you add in the books poised on the edge between ambivalence and dislike (so 11%) that's still exceptionally weighed out by those on the other side of the edge (35%).

Geography 2012

Geography wise, I hit 35 countries and every continent. In making this map I even learned where Mauritius is, something I had not a real clue beforehand. There is still something horrible about an 80% rate of English-dominant countries to me (12% of my books were not originally in English). I get it that I live in English dominant countries but I am multi-lingual. Frankly, I am disappointed with myself. A 10% minority author rate is embarrassing.

A lot less embarrassing but also highly unbalanced statistic is that my most commonly read decade is the 2000s. I mean, I've read most of the must-read classics but I've certainly not read all of them. My earliest book was from the 1880s. Granted I didn't like it very much but still, most years I read something ancient, something from the 1600s, and then mostly 20th and 21st century. Given that I enjoy contemporary literature the most, I'm not very disturbed by this (unlike my geography results) but mayhaps I ought to finally get around to reading at least some Hardy like I've been meaning to for the last, oh, decade.

Top 12 Books of 2012: a difficult list to make & in no particular order! A few of these favorites are from a beloved series or favorites from an amazing writer...or both. I didn't allow China Mieville or Louise Erdrich, for instance, to take over my best books of 2012 like they wanted.

Worst Book of 2012 award goes to Lanark-Alisdair Gray. Unremittingly bleak, depressing, and increasingly even more so as the book becomes dream like I questioned myself for continuing it SO.MANY.TIMES. during its 600+ pages. Like I began to hate and dread reading time. Like I should have abandoned it in the first 100 pages. Whenever I think about it, my skin crawls at the vehemently negative reactions that come back to me. There are other contenders for worst book of 2012 but this one won because it also wins the book I really, really, shouldn't have read award (which is usually not the same thing).

2013-What Am I To Do?
So it's safe to say that I enjoyed reading predominantly women in 2012-let's keep doing that shall we? 

To rectify my geography/authors of color embarassment, I plan on joining a challenge- stay tuned for the post about that.

I have so much spare time I want to spend more of it learning new things so I plan to actively make more of an effort to incorporate non fiction books into my life/reading list. Of course, if I end up a student again, this resolution is moot.

In order to put something of a dent in my TBR list, I should read some of the older stuff I've been meaning to read since forever. 

These ideas seem to be reasonable y/n?

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