Saturday, December 29, 2012

Reading Stats for 2012

It's that time of year again when people do year-end lists and wrap up the old year to begin the new afresh. I've never done one of these before but I thought it was time.

Number of books read:

A paltry, measly 11. Here's hoping next year will be far more productive in the reading department.


Fiction — 7
Non-fiction — 4

Male/Female writers

Male — 9
Female — 2

I hope to remedy this unbalanced section with my Reader's Resolution post. There are a ton of amazing female authors that I've never read.

Genres read

Classics — 5
Fantasy and Sci-fi — 0
Plays — 2
Children’s books — 1
Short story collections — 0
Historical Fiction - 1
Science and Nature - 2

Again, a poor performance but things can only go up from here in 2013.

Books re-read:

I only reread one book this year and it was "Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper - Case Closed" by Patricia Cornwall. I reread this after discovering that the show "Whitechapel" had two more seasons I hadn't seen. Of course, me being me I had to start from the beginning and I thought the book would be the perfect way to reintroduce me to Jack the Ripper. I have yet to post a review about this book so it's on my list of things to do in the new year.

Other formats

Audio books — 0
E-books — 0

I'm not very big on audio or e-books. I suppose they're good for traveling but I like a real book far too much to give them up. I like writing notes to myself, I like the smell of books, I like turning the pages, feeling the paper between my fingers.

I think perhaps I will try listening to audio books when I go on walks and see how that goes. I'll let you know if it works out.

Most books read by an author this year

This answer is easily Bill Shakespeare. Of the measly 11 books I read this year, two were written by him. I'm still working on my Reading Shakespeare project, despite the project being abandoned and the website shut down by the creator so that number should go up for next year.

Pages Read

Many years ago when I first began cataloging the books I read every year I also decided to write down how many pages long the books were. I can only attribute this to my somewhat ocd personality.

3338(ish) pages consumed.

The Best and the Worst

Best book(s) read

I heartily enjoyed "Macbeth" and of what little I've read of Shakespeare it is my favourite.

Most disappointing book(s) read

After having read "The Inimitable Jeeves" I imagined that "Thank you Jeeves" would be an amazing followup. Instead of being several short stories it was one long story which was one of the many problems I found with the book. Written later in his career, I found this book to be lacking that sparkle and whimsy I had come to love about his writing. There was no fresh slang or modern-feeling dialogue. Instead I was left with a lackluster and frankly boring story with several racist scenes thrown in to further diminish anything I might have liked about the book.

Most surprising (in a good way) books

I expected "The Trial and Death of Socrates" to be a fairly dry and boring book. It was on my list of classics to read, was on my bookshelf and not a chunkster. I imagined I was going to power through it and have the book done in an afternoon. Separated into four parts I found myself getting immersed in the dialogues and alternately hating and pitying Socrates. It took time to wrap my brain around some of his philosophical arguments but I finished the book with a new appreciation for both Greek philosophers and literature.

Favourite new writers discovered

The title is a bit of a misnomer as I've discovered I love Shakespeare, despite the fact that he's been dead for almost 400 years. I had to read several of his plays in high school and had no appreciation for his diction, his wordplay or his sense of humour.

Best book that was out of my comfort zone

I didn't go very far out of my comfort zone this year. The book that was most out of my comfort zone was "Liftoff" and it was most because of all the technical aspects of the book. Those parts were dry and meant nothing to me but they made the book a bit of a slog in the middle and I believe I mention this in my review.

Most thrilling, unputdownable book

"Lost Moon" was pretty exciting. My problems came when they were right in the middle of the action and the next chapter would jump back in time to one of the Mercury missions of the beginning of NASA. It was so frustrating and pulled me out of the story.

Book I most anticipated reading

I had big expectations for "Thank you Jeeves". In the end though I was disappointed and perhaps in the future when I pick up a Wodehouse I'll make sure it's one of his earlier works before I crack it open.

Favourite cover of a book read

The version of Macbeth that I read didn't have this particular cover but of everything I've read, this would be my favourite.

Most memorable character

I thought Fuschia Groan from "Titus Groan" was a very sad character. She just wanted to be loved but no one ever gave her a second glance because she was a woman and therefore not the heir of Gormenghast.

I also thought Oberon from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" was a total jerk. He messes in the lives of mortals to 'teach his wife a lesson'. What a maroon.

Most poetic writing in book read

This would be "macbeth" as well.

Book that had the greatest impact on you

I'll put this down for "The Trial and Death of Socrates". This book made me think long after I'd finished it.

Favourite passage/quote from a book read

"Macbeth" had the best language of any book I've read this year, "Titus Groan" was close but there were too many scenes without any noteworthy diction.

"Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck,
Till thou applaud the deed - Come, seeling night,
Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day,
And with thy bloody and invisible hand
Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond
Which keeps me pale. Light thickens,
And the crow makes wing to th' rooky wood;
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,
Whiles night's black agents to their preys do rouse.
- Thou marvell'st at my words; but hold thee still,
Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill -
So prithee go with me."

Book read this year that I am most likely to re-read next year

Ultimate I would like to reread "Macbeth". I feel I understand the story now and get the gist of how Shakespeare works. I don't forsee myself rereading the book however as I don't think I'll have time.

Book that had a scene that had you reeling and dying to talk about it

There weren't really any scenes that had me dying to talk about them.

Books I have read this year because of another blogger

I read both of my Shakespeare plays thanks to Breadcrumb Reads holding a Reading Shakespeare challenge. It was meant to be a year long challenge with a play a month. Unfortunately after the first month the challenge collapsed from the inside. I soldiered on into February and March but other commitments managed to get in the way. I do plan on finishing all of the plays voted on but in my own time.

Books I started but did not finish (but plan to in the new year)

I am in the midst of several books that I have started but have not yet finished. I'm usually a big stickler for finishing books I began, even if they stink. At the moment I've just run out of time to finish these books this year.

"Emma" by Jane Austen

"Les Miserables" by Victor Hugo

"The Invasion of Canada: 1812-1813" by Pierre Berton

"The Guns of August" by Barbara Tuchman

"The Passage" by Justin Cronin

Blogging in Review

Did I complete any reading challenges or goals that I set for myself at the beginning of the year?

I was in the Reading Shakespeare challenge which I began but have not yet finished. This puts me on par for not having finished a single reading challenge I've set myself. I do have a list of all of the books that I am supposed to have completed and I do have plans to one day read everything off of those lists. Until then, it's sort of a badge of honour that I haven't finished one of those darn things.

>Favorite review(s) I wrote?

I'm rather proud of my review of "M" though that's a movie review rather than a book review. I recently went back to read it and couldn't quite believe what I'd written. I actually wrote that? Okay, if I say so, I guess.

My biggest shortcomings as a book blogger?

I don't read much modern Fiction, books written by women or books that aren't Euro-centric. A huge part of my focus has been on Classics, Non Fiction and Fantasy/Sci-fi. I'd like to branch out and read a wider variety of books. My problem is I need suggestions because I don't have time to waste on bad books.

I also don't seem to have the discipline to finish a reading challenge.

Blog posts I am most likely to read by other bloggers?

I usually read reviews by blogger if they're works I've also read and/or seen. If it's an interesting post or say a list, I usually like to add my two cents. Pictures are good and I always like to read posts about people's progression through a challenge of their own or a list or something they were looking to accomplish. Travel posts also get my attention.

Looking Ahead

One book I didn’t get to read that will be a priority next year?

I am going to make sure to read Bill's "Henry V" as well as watch and review the Branagh and now Hiddleston version.

Book(s) I’m most anticipating

Right now I'm anticipating "The Winds of Winter" by George RR Martin but I have doubts about seeing that book anytime before five years from now. Until then I'll pine and obsessively check his blog that is not a blog for updates on his writing.

Five things I hope to accomplish or do in reading/blogging

1. To go back through all my posts, make sure they're formatted properly for my new template as well as labeling everything.

2. Post reviews right after watching a movie or reading a book.

3. Post more consistently about series I'm working on (Bonanza; Twin Peaks)

4. Read a wider variety of books and watch a wider variety of movies.

5. Post about more than just books and movies. (Music, gadgets, science, etc)

Thanking Fellow Bloggers

I would like to thank several bloggers for their comments on my blog and for the posts I've enjoyed reading on their blogs.

27th Street

For all the comments as well as the stellar variety of music posted on their blog.

The Indextrious Reader

For the plethora of book posts that inspire me to read more and to check out books I wouldn't normally read as well as the focus on CanCon literature.

A Mythical Monkey Writes about the Movies

For the excellent posts about various stars and movies, for responding to comments and the Silent Oscar List which I am slowly making my way through.

100 Books in 100 Weeks

For making me get off my butt and get reading, for the great reviews and responding to comments.

Book blogs I have visited regularly this year or kept close tabs on

I'm a very small part of the book blogging community but I love to look in on those whose main focus is books. Here are some of the blogs that I frequent quite regularly.

The Indextrious Reader

Book Snob


100 Books in 100 Weeks

Vintage Reads

Well that's it for me. I'll be posting my Reader's Resolution for the new year in a few days. Until, I hope everyone's enjoying the last few days of the year!


Melwyk said...

Fascinating roundup! I love all the aspects of your reading year that you've covered here. Isn't Shakespeare so much better when you're reading by choice and not for high school? :) I'm not very disciplined about reading challenges either...but that's never stopped me from signing up every January!

theduckthief said...


I feel as if I should have read more over the year than I did but there's always 2013.

I agree about Shakespeare! I used to hate reading him for school because I didn't understand half of what he was saying. Now that I can work through his plays at my own pace and I'm exploring movie adaptations, I find that I can't get enough!

As for reading challenges, I've got a pile of books trailing behind me from all the ones I haven't finished. One of my goals for next year will be to finish some of these off to make more room in my TBR pile.

teflonjedi said...

Did I ever recommend to you "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell", "The Historian", or "The War of Wars: The Epic Struggle Between Britain and France 1793-1815"? I've read these in the past few years and rather enjoyed them. I also read a 2-book biography of Trudeau by John English, which was good.

After seeing Les Mis recently, I am planning to read it. I've also got "The Algebraist" on my list. Not sure what else I should read...I've been flying a lot and I think I'm exhausting the films I can watch on the airplane...

theduckthief said...

teflonjedi - I don't believe you did but I have read and own "Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell" and loved it! I'll have to put those other books on my TBR list. Thanks!

I'm a fanatic when it comes to military history and with the internet it's all at my fingertips. I'm currently working my way through WWII thank to the Twitter account @RealTimeWWII which recounts events in real time with daily posts.

If you're interested in the US Civil War I finished a great book called "Killer Angels" by Michael Shaara last year. It's about the Battle of Gettysburg, which was amazing! Some other people seem to have thought so too as it won the Pulitzer for Fiction.

As for Les Mis, I'd suggest reading from an e-book, that book is hard on the wrists and packs a wallop as part of carry-on luggage.

Eugene Knapik said...

11 books is not bad - 11 more than many people. I haven't counted but I'd guess around the same.

Happy New year.

theduckthief said...

When you put it like that it doesn't seem as disappointing. :) There's always next year!

Happy New Year to you as well!