Happy New Year! I’d hoped to post at least once before Christmas, but I wasn’t able to finish my fall semester grading before we headed off on an almost-two-week trip to visit family in western New York state and California, so I just couldn’t squeeze it in. The trip to California involved three flights on the way there and three flights on the way back — with an eleven-month-old. It was crazy. But the trip was great, and involved this:
And this (that’s a winery in the background):
The California sunshine was lovely. Now I’m back home and there is a snowstorm on the way. Sigh. But it’s a good time to think about last year’s reading. I read much more last year than I thought I would, considering I had a baby and all. I read a lot in the few weeks before the baby was born and then a lot during the night when I was up with the baby, so I learned that it’s not having a child that keeps me from reading. It’s really my job that’s the problem. When the job started back up, my reading slowed down. Again, sigh.
Here’s how my reading breaks down:
- Books read: 100 (tied with 2011 for my highest number)
- Audiobooks: 2 (down from the previous year because of podcasts)
- eBooks: 27 (way, way up)
- From library: 30 (also up. This includes some library ebooks)
- Fiction: 67
- Nonfiction: 33 (this fiction/nonfiction breakdown is pretty typical for me. Nonfiction means a lot to me, but I read it more slowly than fiction.)
- Poetry: 0 (fail)
- Essay collections: 10 (typical)
- Biography/autobiography: 14
- Theory/criticism: 4 (other nonfiction included history, religion, and unclassifiable nonfiction)
- Short story collections: 3 (up!)
- Mysteries: 12 (typical)
- Graphic Novels: 2
- Books in translation: 6 (up only a bit)
- Books by writers of color: 12
- Men: 36
- Women: 63 (almost exactly the same as last year. I used to read more evenly. I don’t purposely try to read more women; it just works out that way.)
- Collection with men and women: 1
- Americans: 70 (up a lot!)
- British: 17 (down)
- Canadian: 2
- French: 2
- One each by Dutch, Irish, Israeli, Japanese, Norwegian, Pakistani, Spanish, Sri Lankan, and Swiss authors.
Year of publication:
- 18th century: 0 (I’ve moved on from my grad school days, I see.)
- 19th: 1 (fail)
- First half of 20th century: 6
- Second half of 20th century: 16
- 2000-2009: 25
- 2010-2013: 52 (way up)
This year and last year I read many more contemporary novels than I used to. Ah, well. I’m just balancing out earlier years of my life when I hardly read anything contemporary.
As for the upcoming year, I’m doing what I did last year and setting no specific goals and making no real plans. I would like to try to read more books from other countries, keep reading more and more books from authors of color, and read more books from earlier centuries. It would be great to read some poetry as well. But these are just thoughts in the back of my mind and if I don’t follow through, so be it. The one thing I’d like to do this year is not worry about the number of books read. If I read less, I don’t want to feel bad about it. This year promises to be very busy, so I’d like to focus less on quantity and more on quality. I set myself a goal on Goodreads of reading 50 books, half of this year’s number and a goal I shouldn’t have any trouble meeting. I hope this will help me choose the books I pick up a little more carefully and take my time with them.
I hope to come back soon with a list of favorites from 2013.