So another year has flown by and here we are again, looking back and looking forward.
This post is one of my looking back posts, looking back on the books I’ve read throughout 2012 and trying to make some sense of it all through various statistics and more. I’ve already posted a list of the 10 best books I read in 2012 here so this post will focus more on what kinds of books, I read, broken into various categories. For a total list of the 44 books, I’ve read this year, see here.
Women v. Men
So I’ve read 44 books this year which is okay. Of these, 13 were written by women and the other 31 were (of course) written by men. I don’t care all that much about if books are written by men or women just as long as I read something by both genders. I’ve never counted this before so I went back. In 2011, 14 books out of 39 were written by women and in 2010, 26 books out of 58 were by women. So it varies quite a bit how many books I read by female writers – from 30-44%. And that’s okay. I have no need to absolutely read half and half – I’m just interested in reading good books. I would see it as a problem if I only read one gender but since I don’t, it’s not an issue. That being said, I would like to start reading some of the Orange Prize winners – but more on that in a later post.
Own books v. borrowed/rented books
I read three books I rented from the library this year – The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins, The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl and Battle Royale by Koushun Takami. I don’t use the library all that much since after I got the Kindle and … well, because I really love buying books. Of these three books, I would love to own both The Woman in White and Battle Royale.
I read three books borrowed from my friend Henrik – The Message to the Planet by Iris Murdoch and Neverwhere and American Gods by Neil Gaiman. I would definitely like to own the two Neil Gaiman books! I also read three of my boyfriend’s books: The Gunslinger (Dark Tower #1) by Stephen King, The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell and Racing Through the Dark by David Millar.
Kindle books v. dead tree books
I only read three books on my Kindle this year. But one of these was Clarissa, the longest novel in the English language, and it took me almost all year to finish that one so I did actually read a lot on my Kindle – many pages, at least, if not many books. I like reading on the Kindle even though I don’t do it all that much. I like having the option of getting books with a moment’s notice and reading them – especially since it usually takes a couple of weeks to get most books.
Fiction v. non-fiction books
I read five non-fiction books this year: How to Make Your Child a Reader for Life by Paul Kropp, Underground by Haruki Murakami, Racing Through the Dark by David Millar, Den gule trøje i de høje bjerge by Jørgen Leth and It’s Not About the Bike by Lance Armstrong. I’m not a huge non-fiction reader anymore – I simply love fiction too much – but I do like to add a bit of non-fiction to my reading so I’m quite satisfied with having read five.
I signed up for 6 challenges this year, one of which is continuing in 2013. I finished all the five challenges that ended in 2012.
Mount TBR Reading Challenge: I signed up to read 25 books from my TBR pile – that is, books owned prior to January 1, 2012. I ended up reading 31 books bught before 2012 so most of my reads this year was bought earlier and when you then add library books (3), Kindle books (3) and books borrowed from friends (6), that means I only read one book bought in 2012…! I do like getting books read from my shelves but I would like to read more books in 2013 published in 2013 (or some of the many I missed in 2012).
The Chunkster challenge: I signed up for the ‘Do These Books Make My Butt Look Big?’ option and committed to reading 6 chunksters (two which are between 450-550 pages, two which are 551-750 pages and 2 which are greater than 750 pages. I ended up completing this goal in May but ended reading 13 chunksters in total – not counting Clarissa since I read that one on my Kindle, and the Chunkster challenge doesn’t count ebooks… So 14 chunksters in all!
Haruki Murakami challenge: I signed up to read one book by Murakami and I read Underground, so challenge completed.
Neil Gaiman challenge: I signed up to read 1-3 books by Neil Gaiman and I read Neverwhere and American Gods.
Clarissa read-a-long: I count this as a challenge since it took all year long! I signed up for this read-along, really not knowing what I had got myself into and even though it was not always very enjoyable, I did finish this huge novel.
My Private Reading Challenge
This is the challenge, I give myself for the year as well as the books, my boyfriend, our friend Henrik and myself challenge each other to read.
This year, Henrik challenged me to read Message to the Planet by Iris Murdoch and my boyfriend challenged me to read The Kindly Ones by Jonathan Littell. I finished both and liked them, particularly the Murdoch novel.
I challenged myself to read 52 novels. I didn’t quite succeed – finished on a respectable 44 books as well as 6 audiobooks (which I don’t count).
I also challenged myself to read more books than I buy – I think I succeeded in this even though I began the year with 181 books on my to-read shelf and end it with 182 books since I also read borrowed and rented books as well as Kindle books. This challenge made me realize that I need to state my goal clearer so next year, the goal will be to end the year with fewer books on my to-read shelf than I began the year with.
I challenged myself to read a list of 20 novels and 3 non-fiction books – and failed. I read 18 of the novels and 1 of the non-fiction books so I didn’t make it through the last 4.
So I didn’t really succeed in any of the challenges I sat for myself. I blame Clarissa for this …! At least, if I had known that I would read Clarissa in time, I would have put that on my list of challenges for myself – but I didn’t and it took so long to get through the novel that I think I would have finished both the books on my list and the 52 books in total I had challenged myself to read.
So where does that leave me?
Well, after all the numbers and statistics and dry stuff, how do I really feel about my reading in 2012?
I ended up reading 22.845 pages which is quite a high number for me. It’s the third highest number since I started keeping track in (late) 2007. 44 books is only the fourth best year (which means it’s the second worst year) so not all that good. With that being said, I read a lot of good books this year and I really enjoyed my reading of various books related to Charles Dickens and Drood. I also read and liked some intimidating books – Les Misérables, Shalimar the Clown by Salman Rushdie – and I discovered how much I enjoy Neil Gaiman’s novels. I think I had challenged myself to too many things so I felt rather stifled in my reading towards the end of the year so I will try to not decide beforehand on too many books for 2013.
So that’s it for me this year! I hope to see you next year and I hope you have a Happy New Year! 🙂