The Year in Reading

As of this moment (and depending on how you count omnibus editions), I have read 30 books in 2011. There’s a pretty good chance that I’ll finish my current book by the end of the year as well. If you’ll permit some navel gazing, here are some stats about what I’ve read this year:

  • 30 books in 2011 is a big improvement over the 20 books I read in 2010 (which was itself a pretty big year for me). This might be the most I’ve read in a single year since high school… and it’s worth noting that at least 4 of the books from 2010 were read in December of that year (i.e. this has been a pretty well sustained pace for the past year and half or so).
  • According to goodreads, these 30 books translate to 10,964 pages of reading in 2011 (and if you count my current progress, I’m over the 11,000 mark…) This number is perhaps a little suspect, as it depends on print size and spacing and book format and so on, but as an approximation it feels… well, actually, I have no real frame of reference for this. I’ll have to enter in dates for my 2010 reading to see what Goodreads comes up with there.
  • 9 of the books were non-fiction, which might also be a record for me (unless you count textbooks or something).
  • Most of the 21 fiction books were science fiction or fantasy novels, and my progress this year was definitely fueled by shortish novels (i.e. around 300 page novels)
  • The longest novel I read this year was Reamde, clocking in at 1044 pages. The second longest novel was Perdido Street Station, which ran 623 pages.
  • 13 of the 30 books were written by women, which is probably another record for me (for a point of comparison, in 2010, I only read 2 books written by women). I should note that this is mostly fueled by Lois McMaster Bujold’s Vorkosigan Saga – I’ve read 9 books in the series so far, and may finish the 10th by the end of the year.
  • Goodreads also provides a neato graph of when you read stuff and when that stuff was published (unfortunately, it’s a little too big to feature here). As it turns out, I read only 2 books that were initially published before 1986, though one of those 2 was published in the late 19th century, so there’s that.

All in all, a pretty great year of reading. For reference, my top 4 books of the year:

Oh hell, can we just make the Vorkosigan Saga (as a whole) the honorary 5th best book of the year? Ok then.

Things have slowed down in the latter part of this year, though I think a large part of that is that I’ve been focusing on longer novels and non-fiction, which obviously take more time. Indeed, if I manage to tackle Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid next year, I expect that will drag down my numbers a bit. Of course, I could hold off on that and slot in 4 short novels in its place, but I should really read GEB, as it’s been on my shelf for quite a while… Looking ahead to next year, I’ll definitely be finishing off Bujold’s Vorkosigan novels, and I was given a Kindle for Christmas, so I’m sure I’ll find plenty of things to read there. Perhaps an updated book queue is in order!

2 thoughts on “The Year in Reading”

  1. Regarding Bujold: You sing her praises, but I have tried to read Cordella’s Honor and found myself frustrated, because the hero doesn’t seem to be the strong female presence that I was told she was. Or maybe I just don’t buy the romance that she’s spinning. Does the series get better? Should I finish Cordella’s Honor in order to move onto the rest of the series, or does it just sound like Bujold and I don’t mix well? Your GoodReads profile indicates that they’re all about the same…

    Speaking of which: looks like I’m going to try GoodReads, if only to help keep track of everything. Delicious Library is great for telling me how many books I own, but not as good at reminding me my thoughts on something. Thanks for the tip!

  2. Once you get past Cordelia’s Honor (which has the first two books), things shift to Cordelia and Aral’s son, Miles Vorkosigan (the parents still show up from time to time, but it’s mostly told from the perspective of Miles). Not sure how far into the books you are, but Miles has some birth defects that give him brittle bones, etc… Stuff that make it difficult for him to be a soldier. He still manages to get into lots of adventures, etc… Don’t want to ruin anything.

    I certainly don’t think much of the romance in Cordelia’s Honor, but she definitely gets to be a stronger presence by the end of Barrayar (the beginning of which is all politics and formal ballroom stuff that can get tiresome). And like I said, the rest of the series is mostly told from Miles’ perspective.

    Now, I have this pattern with Bujold that sounds like a bad thing, but I actually like it. At the beginning of every book, I think something like “That shouldn’t happen” or “I’m not sure I like where this is going” or something similar. And some of the stuff that Bujold comes up with can be a bit ridiculous. But she makes it work, and it usually doesn’t take long to hook me.

    They’re usually short books, and very easy to read, so I’ve burned through them pretty quickly. Apparently, you don’t need to finish Cordelia’s Honor to move on to the next omnibus (which contains Miles’ first few stories, including a short novella called “Mountains of Morning” which is rather fantastic). There’s a lot of background info that is referenced, but a lot of people recommend starting with The Warrior’s Apprentice, so that’s probably fine too (indeed, many of the books have recaps of previous information).

    Jeeze, I’m babbling. If you’re in the midst of Barrayar, I’d say finish it off and move to the next series. If you can’t get through The Warrior’s Apprentice, then maybe Bujold ain’t for you…

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