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text 2018-01-03 20:03
2017 in Review -- and Consequences for 2018

 

2017 Statistics

Total number of books read in 2017: 287

Number of (as-yet unread) books added to "owned books" TBR in 2017: 250

 

So, looks like overall 2017 was a pretty good reading year for me -- and certainly, even without having participated in BooklikesOpoly, the two games during the last four months of the year helped a lot.  The above total numbers don't tell the full story, however (in fact, in some respects they're more than a little deceptive).

 

In 2017, especially in the first couple of months, I had to do a lot of driving -- as well as having to cope with a lot of stress.  To compensate and for on-the-road entertainment, I took to revisiting my favorite classics and my favorite mysteries on audio; and the amount of my comfort reading (or rather: listening) clearly shows in my yearly reading stats -- not only in the number of new books read vs. rereads, but even more so in the number of audiobooks vs. print books read: 2017 was unquestionably the year when I discovered the  audiobook:

(Note: 2 books out of the total of 287 were Christmas classics I revisit every year, and where I chose the DVD version in 2017.)

 

Similarly, while my reading year was a pretty good one if you only take into account the new books I read (average: 3.95 stars), it improves even more if you factor in all the favourite-book rereads:

 

And of course, my comfort reading also impacts -- big time -- the genre breakdown of my 2017 reading:

(Note: "Nonfiction", for purposes of this exercise, comprises biographies, memoirs, historical nonfiction, science and popular science, reference books, and assorted general nonfiction. -- The category "Historical Fiction" includes a number of historical mysteries, which are included only once in the above chart for purposes of consistency in total number of books read, but which are included in the genre-specific analysis further below under both "Mysteries" and "Historical Fiction", and which I've also analyzed separately.)

 

However, the area where my inordinate amount of comfort reading most significantly shows up is in the author gender breakdown.  It looks pretty evenly spread, with a slight pro-female bias, if you just look at the total figures:

("m & f" are anthologies featuring contributions from both male and female authors or male-female author teams.)

 

But the vast majority of my comfort reads (or rather: audio revisits) were books written by female authors, and if you eliminate those, there's a clear male author bias, except solely in the subgenre of historical mysteries.  In other words, almost all across the board, roughly 2 out of 3 new books I read were by male authors. (And it's even more embarrassingly one-sided with regard to the six fantasy and five literary fiction titles I managed to squeeze in: they were all written by men.)  As all of this very much will have to change in 2018, I suppose the Women Authors Challenge / Bingo is coming just in time for me!

 

By Format:

(All but 2 of the print books were new reads, so the stats are almost exactly identical for all print books and new print books read.)

 

By Major Genres Read:

 (All nonfiction books I read in 2017 were new reads.)

 

 

 

(Note: For purposes of these last charts, the books qualifying as "historical mysteries" were included in both the charts for "historical fiction" and for "mysteries", respectively.)

 

So, even in the mysteries and historical fiction tallies, despite the clear pro-women author bias in historical mysteries that remains even after eliminating the rereads, both "mysteries" and "historical fiction" flip from a pro-female to a pro-male author bias once the rereads are taken out of the consideration. 

 

 

2018 Outlook

In addition to the Women Authors Challenge / Bingo, which is hopefully going to help me put books written by women on a bit more of an equal footing with books written by men in the year just begun, I'm planning to

 

* continue whittling away at that impossible amount of books I added to my owned books TBR in 2017 alone (not to mention those already lingering on it from previous years),

* continue reading science and popular science with the Flat Book Society (the current read, Helen Czerski's Storm in a Teacup, is of course an excellent way of killing two birds with one stone -- a popular science book written by a woman),

* continue filling my Detection Club Bingo card and continue my exploration of Golden Age detective fiction, (which will hopefully also go some way towards both reducing my phyiscal TBR and augmenting the number of books written by women that I'm reading this year)

* and to the extent time allows, participate in the 2018 Booklikes games!

 

If in addition to / as part of the above I also manage to balance out my genre intake a little more and include more literary fiction and fantasy, I'll color myself more than happy by the end of the year!

 

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text 2016-05-02 21:06
#boutofbooks 16: Next week is another readathon week
Bout of Books

The #boutofbooks readathon is happening again. Here is the schedule.

My plans are simple this time, as I'm not planning to join in with any of the competitions or giveaways.

 

 

Goals for the readathon

  1. Read every day.
  2. Participate on Twitter every day.

 

Simple, right? :) Just to make things a bit more interesting, here's what I might be reading next week (*eek* so soon!)
 
Stranger in a Strange Land.  I don't know if this is for me since I've heard mixed things about it. But trying to keep an open mind, I'll dig in and find out for myself.
Warren the 13th and the All-Seeing Eye.  A friend lent me this gorgeously illustrated book. This comes in a big format, comlplicating the reading process a wee bit. Nothing puts me off reading like an unhandy book. ^^
Sorceress of Darshiva.  The fourth installment in the Malloreon is part of my David Eddings reread. Which has taken me too long already.
Der König der purpurnen Stadt. This German historical novel is so damn cozy to read that it's been sitting on my nightstand for months. Enough!, I say. This is getting ridiculous.
 
Also, I will (still) be listening to The Guermantes Way, which I started yesterday. And yes, it's actually good fun when you don't need to find your way through Proust's labyrinthic sentences on your own.
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text 2016-04-01 08:36
Monthly TBR: April 2016

April Lesestapel

 

In April I want to dedicate my reading to all the books I haven't finished! Most of them were not boring or bad in any sense, I just wasn't in the mood for them. Now I can get back to them and happily reach the final page. Or so I hope :-)

 

David Eddings: Demon Lord of Karanda

Mygoal is to finish this series in June, which means I have to read a book every other month. Except I didn't read this installment in time... Need to play some catch up!

 

Deborah Tannen: That's not what I meant!

I stopped reading this for no particular reason. Can't wait for the rest of this small book on linguistics.

 

Rebecca Gablé: Der König der purpurnen Stadt

This chunker of 1022 pages used to be my bedtime read: 20 pages a day would make me feel warm and fuzzy, for this is what Gablé's writing does to me. I'm happy to continue soon!

 

Jim Butcher: Storm Front

I deeply regret having put this down. But you see, I read it to my fiancé, and then we didn't have time to read, so it is obviously his fault! (sorry love)

 

Louisa May Alcott: Little Women

I'm not sure I like this book: While I enjoy the characters (mere types) and their little episodes, the all too present dogma of the novel bugs me - just for being there so obviously.

 

Alberto Manguel: A History of Reading

Still: I have no idea just how to read this big, big book (not very handy!). But I'll keep trying.

 

Françoise Sagan: Bonjour Tristesse

This is too short not to mention, although it is last on my list for a reason. It was on my March tbr and I didn't get to it, but I haven't dragged this with me like the other books on the list.

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text 2015-12-29 22:08
#boutofbooks 15 is coming / January reading
Bout of Books

 

Yep, it's that time again. Next week, a hoard of joyously chatting readers will flood the internet with their reading updates, pictures, and all that jazz.

 

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 4th and runs through Sunday, January 10th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 15 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team

 

Since my reading plans for January are made I'll just share the whole thing with you guys. Let's see what I can get through during the readathon.

 

Reading List (aka the random list of books I might or might not pick up during boutofbooks, January, or at all)

 

Marcel Proust: Swann's Way

Starting my reread of In Search of Lost Time, yay! I'm rather excited to finally try again and hopefully succeed this time. Not like that time when I called the whole thing off in the middle of book 5. I will be listening to the unabridged audiobook version, I'm not insane, people.

Johanna Spyri: Heidi

I read this maybe 15 years ago as a child, marvelling at the strange language (archaic Austrian accent). Now that I'm a linguist I'm looking forward to diving into this sound again.

Gavin Extence: The Universe vs Alex Woods

Let's say this is my random tbr pile read for the month. I bought this book on a whim, not knowing what I was going for. You could say that still is my status quo.

Katherine Dunn: Geek Love

Book one for my Women's Century Challenge, where I chose 10 books from 10 consecutive decades all authored by women. No, I'm not much of a chronological reader, so let me start with the Eighties in peace.

David Eddings: King of the Murgos

Another reread, but this time in English, this is book two of the Malloreon saga. I'm slowly making my way through all books featuring Garion&Co., approximately with the fascinating speed of the continental shift.

Ransom Riggs: Ms. Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

A group read I might want to join if time allows. The movie adaptation for this is scheduled for christmas 2016, and I don't like being spoiled by trailers, so I rather get to this ASAP.

Robert Beachy: Gay Berlin. Birthplace of a Modern Identity

I requested this for review and the book has just arrived before christmas. Couldn't start it right away and it is a big book, but I want to read it badly. Maybe I can get a bite out of it.

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text 2015-08-31 19:38
August Reading Roundup...or Reading Plans Fall Apart
The Serpent Sword - Matthew Harffy
Watch the Lady: A Novel - Elizabeth Fremantle
A Place of Greater Safety - Hilary Mantel
The House of Silk: A Sherlock Holmes Novel - Anthony Horowitz
Wolf's Head - Steven A. McKay
Little Women [LITTLE WOMEN -OS N/D] - Louisa May(Author) ; Cauti, Camille(Introduction by) Alcott
A Perilous Alliance: A Tudor mystery featuring Ursula Blanchard (An Ursula Blanchard Elizabethan Mystery) - Fiona Buckley
The Fall of Satan - Bodie Hodge

I like to think that I have good excuses for my reading plan going completely awry, but, excuses or no, it fell apart quite thoroughly. The only reason my reading accomplishments for the month don't look entirely pathetic is because the above includes two audio books and two DNFs. That's right, I actually completed reading four books this month.

 

*Samantha hangs her head in shame.*

 

That hasn't stopped me from accepting more books to review and assaulting NetGalley with requests, so I have a larger TBR than ever that I hope to attack with greater effectiveness in September.

 

August Summary:

 

Audio Books:

Little Women

Watch the Lady

 

DNF:

A Perilous Alliance

The Fall of Satan

 

More Historical than Fiction Book Club:

A Place of Greater Safety

 

Indie Reads:

The Serpent Sword

Wolf's Head

 

Best Book of August:

The Serpent Sword by Matthew Harffy - no competition whatsoever, loved this book!

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