2013 Reading

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:

Cormac Beach

and this:


And this (that’s a winery in the background):

Cormac winery

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

Gender breakdown:

  • 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 readย  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.


Filed under Books

18 responses to “2013 Reading

  1. I do love the posts with the stats (I’m quite sad like that) Good luck in finding the books you will love in 2014


  2. Love reading end of year stats! Looks like you had a great reading year. I must read more non-fiction! I actually did read three poetry collections this year so that made me super happy. Wishing you a wonderful 2014!


  3. My goals are similar to yours—international books, authors and color, and older books—but like you, I’m just keeping them in the back of my mind. Maybe if I find myself torn between a few reading options at some point in the year, those “goals” will help be choose, but they’re not going to drive my reading.


    • I like your way of describing using goals as a way to make a final decision about what to read when several things sound good. I kind of did that last year, and it resulted in more books by authors of color than I usually read. Assigning specific numbers seems like a bad idea for me right now, though.


  4. That is a really impressive amount of reading. Like really. I don’t know how you do it with such a busy active life, but it’s terrific. I wish I could. For me — it’s like you said — WORK! It thwarts me, when it comes to the amount I wish I could read.


    • Thank you! I’ll admit that almost all my free time goes to reading, and also to time on the internet. I don’t watch movies or TV anymore. And, frankly, I’m lucky in my job. It’s the one thing that keeps me from reading more, but obviously it doesn’t hurt me TOO much ๐Ÿ™‚


  5. Looks like perfect holidays with a little happy guy! I love reading your stats… i’m floored you could have a baby and read 100 books, wow!


    • Thank you! I found I got a lot of reading done while nursing or while holding the baby as he napped. I read so many more ebooks this year because it was easier to hold my Nook or iPhone with the baby then to hold up a paper book.


  6. Lovely pictures! I am so envious of the calm blue sea. We have winter flooding all round the British coast at the moment with hundreds of people having to move out of their homes because they are underwater. I think you’re very wise not to set too rigid an outline for this coming year’s reading. Which means, of course, that you’ve taken the same line as I have ๐Ÿ™‚ I always find that if I lay out too definite a plan it is the surest way to make certain that I don’t keep to it.


  7. Wonderful photos! I’m glad that you had a good trip. I’m fascinated by the statistics as well. My own reading patterns have changed markedly in recent years, a big jump in SF reading in 2012, and now a big jump in poetry reading in 2013. Regardless of genre though, I’m completely with you on the focus on quality not quantity!


    • Thank you! I’ve been admiring your poetry reading and I’m hoping to catch a little inspiration from you to read more poetry myself. I like how well you follow your reading whims. I think I’m a little too nervous of too much change in my reading, when I shouldn’t be.


  8. You did fantastically well last year, not just book-wise but in bringing up that adorable little boy – what a happy chap he looks! I do like stats but I confess I’m looking forward most to your best-of list. We have had such entertainingly similar reading choices towards the end of the year, I feel sure your list will be full of books I will love!


  9. Except for the plane rides it sounds like a nice trip! And you had a great year of reading too. Darn work for getting in the way,


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