Tuesday, 29 December 2015

The year in reading, and the year ahead

2015 in numbers:
  • Total number of books read: 113 (maybe I'll add one more to that before the year's out: TBC)
  • 56 by women, 51 by men, 6 by various authors
  • 15 books originally published in a language other than English (I could've done way better here)
  • 75 adult novels, 28 short stories or collections of short stories, 7 non-fiction, 2 YA novels and 1 graphic novel
  • 1 book published in 2016, 62 from 2015, 11 from 2014, 7 from 2013, 2 from 2010, 10 from the 2000s, 3 from the 1990s, 2 from the 80s, 1 from the 60s, 3 from the 50s, 2 from the 40s, 1 from the 30s, 1 from the 20s, 2 from the 10s, 1 from the 1900s, and 4 from the 19th century
  • 7 books longer than 500 pages, of which the longest was Garth Risk Hallberg's City on Fire at 960 pages 
  • The most liked review of those I posted on Goodreads was The Lake House by Kate Morton
  • The most viewed post on this blog was my review of Day Four by Sarah Lotz
  • My Goodreads ratings break down as follows... 15 5-star books, 58 4-star books, 32 3-star books, 4 2-star books and 4 not rated. That works out as an average rating of 3.77, much better than 2014 which had an average of 3.52.
This was a better reading year than 2014, I think. In 2014, I had a whole post's worth of Worst Books, but this year there's no need for that - no need for extended rants, anyway. Every year I get better at abandoning books I'm not enjoying; I gave ZERO 1-star ratings this year.

I did find, though, that some of my most-anticipated books, often by authors whose previous work I've loved, were the most disappointing. This applies (to various extents) to Scarlett Thomas (The Seed Collectors, probably the most disappointing book of my life, let alone 2015), Sarah Lotz (Day Four), Louise Welsh (Death is a Welcome Guest), Kate Morton (The Lake House), and William Boyd (Sweet Caress, also my least favourite title of the year). In some cases, I think my unreasonable, sky-high expectations were the issue, although that doesn't stop me being equally excited about certain 2016 books...

Counteracting that bit of negativity, I read some really great debuts by authors I will be keen to follow in the future - Tasha Kavanagh (Things We Have in Common), Alex Hourston (In My House), Catie Disabato (The Ghost Network), Catriona Ward (Rawblood), and Andrew Michael Hurley (The Loney), among others. 
And finally, some reading resolutions for 2016:
  • Read more books I already own. I was looking through my Goodreads shelves the other day and was reminded of how many books there've been this year that I've been convinced I'll read 'next' that have been pushed down the list again and again. I'm also slightly embarrassed by how heavily my 2015 reading stats are weighted towards brand-new books...
  • Read more non-fiction. This has been an aim for a while, to be honest, and I did slightly better at it this year (I only read 3 non-fiction books in 2014), but I still need to work on it.
  • No more ratings. This doesn't apply to Goodreads, where star ratings are almost compulsory, but I'm going to stop giving books marks out of 10 on my blog, and just concentrate on what I loved (and, if necessary, what I didn't love) about them. 
  • Credit translators. I've definitely been guilty of writing about translated fiction without mentioning who the translator is. From now on I'm going to make sure I always credit them.
And that just about wraps it up for 2015. Now, on to the many books I'm looking forward to in 2016...


  1. Fascinating reading! Truly. I love reading about people's reading experience over the past year. But I love Scarlett Thomas and was chagrined to see what you said about Seed Collectors. Some of my favorite authors disappoint me from time to time. I figure they were just trying something out and I grant them that. Happy Reading in 2016! My year end report goes up on the blog on New Year's Day (I hope.)

    1. Thank you! Yes, that was a big disappointment - I love some of her other books, with Our Tragic Universe being a particular favourite. It may just be me though, as The Seed Collectors has had a lot of favourable reviews. Happy reading (and new year) to you too!