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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 2016-04-09 20:52
Happy World Book Day!

I'm sharing this post originally posted by the always wonderful Gina Conkle. I thinks it's sad that we're still talking about illiteracy in a first world country and there still much to be done to reduce the percentage of illiterate people in the USA. Let's get to work and help reduce that number! 


Gina is also running a Giveaway on her website if anyone is interested. 




What is World Book Day?

World Book Day is a UNESCO designated holiday observed in more than 100 countries. This year marks the 19th annual celebration of all things books and reading. Some nations hold the holiday in March, while the USA gives its nod on April 23rd.World Book Day
is a UNESCO designated holiday observed in more than 100 countries. This year marks the 19th annual celebration of all things books and reading. Some nations hold the holiday in March, while the USA gives its nod on April 23rd.




Gina's original post: http://casablancaauthors.blogspot.com/2016/04/world-book-day-by-gina-conkle.html












Source: casablancaauthors.blogspot.com/2016/04/world-book-day-by-gina-conkle.html
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text 2015-12-26 19:45
2015 Reading Recap
The Secret Life of Winnie Cox - Sharon Maas
The Small Fortune of Dorothea Q - Sharon Maas
The Skeleton Road - Val McDermid
The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
Joseph Fouché: Bildnis eines politischen Menschen - Stefan Zweig
A Place of Greater Safety - Hilary Mantel
The Gods of Guilt - Michael Connelly
Face Off - David, Various, x Baldacci
Moriarty - Anthony Horowitz
Hogfather (Discworld, #20) - Terry Pratchett

No fancy graphics and no astounding numbers – in fact, rather average numbers for me, these days – but anyway, here we go:


Total Number of Books Read:


– including rereads
– but excluding my current read, Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell (which is bound to take me all the way to the end of the year).






                         Including my annual Christmas revisitings:


                         Charles Dickens: A Christmas Carol

                         Dorothy L. Sayers: The Nine Tailors

                         Arthur Conan Doyle: The Blue Carbuncle

                         Agatha Christie: Hercule Poirot's Christmas

                                                 The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding


A Christmas Carol - Charles DickensThe Adventures of the Blue Carbuncle - Arthur Conan DoyleThe Nine Tailors - Dorothy L. Sayers, Elizabeth GeorgeHercule Poirot's Christmas - Agatha ChristieAdventure of the Christmas Pudding (Poirot) - Agatha Christie



The Year's Top Reads

                    Sharon Maas: The Small Fortune of Dorothea Q.

                                         The Secret Life of Winnie Cox

                     J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit (reread)

                     Val McDermid: The Skeleton Road

                     Hilary Mantel: A Place of Greater Safety

                     Stefan Zweig: Joseph Fouché

                     Andrew Nicoll: The Secret Life and Curious Death of Miss Jean Milne

                     Anaïs Nin: Henry and June

                     Michael Connelly: The Gods of Guilt

                     David Baldacci (ed.), Various Authors: Face-Off

                     Anthony Horowitz: Moriarty

                     Terry Pratchett: Hogfather (begun Dec. 2014)



Breakdown of Ratings:









Average Rating

Including Christmas rereads: 3,94

Excluding Christmas rereads: 3,87



Books Shelved as Favorites:


Of these, new reads: 14

Rereads: 11 – including 5 Christmas rereads



Breakdown of Shelves:

(Note: Virtually all of my books are shelved in multiple ways)


Nobel Prize Winners: 1

1001 Books: 6

Classics: 46

Short Fiction: 37

Theatre: 3

Poetry: 2

Mysteries and Crime Fiction: 44

– American: 3

– British: 41

Fantasy: 2

Romance: 4

20th Century & Contemporary BritLlit: 16

20th Century & Contemporary America: 1

Canada & Canadian Literature: 1

Germany & German Literature: 1

France & French Literature: 5

Italy & Italian Literature: 1

Scotland: 6

Eastern Europe: 1

Russia: 2

California & Southwestern USA: 1

Down Under (= Oz & NZ): 1

Orient & Asia: 2

– India & Indian Subcontinent: 1

– Southeast Asia: 1

Africa: 1

Historical Fiction: 8

Key Historic / Period Elements or Setting (in contemporaneous fiction): 5

Nonfiction: 7

– History: 4

– Politics: 1

– Memoirs - Biographies - Letters - Diaries: 4

– Essays - Addresses - Lectures: 3

– Art & Architecture: 3

– Travel: 1

– Reference: 1

Humor - Comedy - Satire: 6

Children's & YA Literature: 1

Cats: 1

Anthologies: 1


So, not one of my most diverse and international reading years, it would appear – lots of classics, lots of mysteries and crime fiction, and predominantly British literature.  But on the plus side, in their vast majority good or even great reads, which ultimately is what's most important!



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