Sunday 1 February 2015

Oops... a belated look back at 2014

So, it's not even January any more, but I've been meaning to do my annual stats round-up for a while. Leaving it so late at least means that I shan't be overshadowed by everybody else doing it at the same time...

Number of Books Read
Only 98, which is the lowest I've read since I started keeping records - although only five fewer than last year. It makes me realise how unlikely A Century of Books was to be completed...

Fiction/Non-Fiction Ratio
72 fiction and 26 non-fiction. Non-fiction had been growing every year, and I'm surprised that it slumped in 2014, since it felt like quite a non-fiction-heavy year.

Male/Female Authors
62 by women, 36 by men - which is more or less what I expected.

10, most of which were by or about A.A. Milne.

Reading slumps
One, and it lasted for weeks and weeks. Hence the number of Agatha Christie titles I read.

Oldest book read
I think the oldest book I read was exactly 100 years old - Love Insurance by Earl Derr Biggers. Very good it was too.

Newest book read
Shiny New Books meant I read loads of new books. Well, a few. I guess the most recent was Marilynne Robinson's Lila.

Shortest Title
Another victory for Lila!

Books in Translation
5, I think - including lots of Tove Jansson.

Books Added to my 50 Books List
Just two - Charlotte Mew and Her Friends by Penelope Fitzgerald and Patricia Brent, Spinster by Herbert Jenkins.

Most Books by One Author
Agatha Christie (quelle surprise) with 9. A.A. Milne had a healthy showing with 6.

Most Baffling Book
What on earth happened in Gertrude Stein's Blood on the Dining-Room Floor? I couldn't tell you.

Most Disappointing Book
Agatha stood me in good stead, but Elephants Can Remember was dire.

Most Overdue Read
I should have read Swallows and Amazons decades ago. Better late than never!

Best Title
I didn't love the novel as much as I'd hoped, but Nancy Spain's Cinderella Goes to the Morgue still has a beauty of a title.

Animals in Book Titles
This has become an essential category for me now. Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie, Here Be Dragons by Stella Gibbons, Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi, Lets Discuss Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris, Mr Fox by Barbara Comyns, Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, Pigeon Pie by Nancy Mitford, The Man Who Unleashed the Birds by Paul Newman, and The Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars.

Strange things that happened in the books I read in 2014
Everyone's favourite category! People teleported and stuck monkey glands to necks, the fifth child turned out to be a demon, the apocalypse came to a country house, a fake chemist entered a dystopia, a woman and a dog swapped minds, Virginia Woolf wandered through modern day New York, enormous silkworms crushed crowds, a hotel was used as a kidnapping front, oh, and lots of ingenious murders, of course.


  1. I love your last category!

  2. It makes me realise how unlikely A Century of Books was to be completed... - this made me giggle. I had my lowest reading year for a few years last year, too - and no slumps, either. Onwards and upwards. I love your categories!

  3. Especially love your 'Most Baffling Book' category! I should look for a theme in titles for next year - not animals though ...

  4. Well, I read 90 in 2014. More than the 73-86 I've read in the years since I started keeping serious track (2010). I was on track for 100 until I dropped way down in Nov and Dec. As always, 1/3 are rereads.

    The the most baffling things were
    a) Incontinent on the Continent, by Jane Christmas. This woman dragged her elderly mother all over Italy and seemed to hate every moment of it. Hated the food, the people and the apparent incompetence of the Italians in treating tourists right. She seemed also to loath her mother. When she got to Florence and hated that too (!!!!), I finally gave up on her.

    b) A Spy Among Friends by Ben MacIntyre. Excellent read. Utterly utterly baffling how the loathsome Kim Philby got away with decades of deceit and betrayal, of both friends and country, thanks to the Old Boys' network.

  5. Nice, entertaining wrap up post! I've never thought to track the strange things, but I esp. enjoyed yours. I'm *still* working on my original century read-through - didn't read too many last year, so I still have 22 to go. That seems like a such a small number...

  6. I've been wondering about Love Insurance and if it was worth a read - I will get a copy - thanks!


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