Thursday, January 12, 2017

2016 reading roundup

I started writing this year's reading roundup when I finished my last book of 2016, on December 26th. But the computer is downstairs where it's absolutely freezing so I've been delayed. But I am braving the cold (okay, I'm sitting under a blanket with one of those pillows you heat in the microwave) in order to get this post online.

This past year I read 41 books, the fewest since I've started keeping track.

I think there were a few factors which negatively affected the number of books I read in 2016. Even though I prefer my books depressing and my literary families dysfunctional (they always make me feel so much better about my own life), I read a lot of very heavy books in 2015, particularly young adult novels. I think this made me wary in 2016 and also made me doubt myself when I chose books. Secondly, after many years of watching TV shows on the computer, we got a screen, media streamer, and Kodi. Please don't ask me to explain any further than that. All I can tell you is that it allowed me to binge watch 3 and a half seasons of Blacklist from the comfort of my couch. And lastly, the auxiliary hookup in my car stopped working so I couldn't listen to audio books.  This was rectified, thankfully, when my co-worker brought me a JBL Flip 3 Bluetooth speaker when she flew to England and I am now happily listening to audio books on my commute to and from work.

Here is the list of books I read in the reverse order I read them. I've linked to their pages on Amazon and linked to the author's homepage, Facebook page, or Wikipedia page if that was what was available.


Some of my favorite books (in no particular order) were The Mathematician's Shiva, A Hundred Thousand Worlds, The Unseen World, The Two-Family House, The Forgetting Time (intriguing), All Who Go Do Not Return, The Secret Wisdom of the Earth, Dear Committee Members (funny), Everything, Everything (pleasantly surprised by the turn of events), Code Name Verity (even though I try to avoid WWII or Holocaust books), and My Heart and Other Black Holes (because you just can't quit depressing young adult literature cold turkey).

I liked Commonwealth and Redemption Road but they weren't as good as the authors' previous works. Grief is the Thing with Feathers and I Let You Go got a lot of buzz but they didn't do it for me. And I was inspired by a Facebook friend, RZ, to try another Neil Gaiman book. I snared a copy of American Gods, considered his best book, from Rebooks/סיפור חוזר and it was not an easy read. 

I read 22 books by male authors and 19 books by female authors. Seventeen books were by authors I've previously read.

Here is the breakdown of books per month and genres:

In 2016 I read 11,817 pages and listened to 108 hours and 56 minutes of audio. The longest book I read was Nemesis at 695 pages and the shortest was Grief is the Thing with Feathers at 129 pages. The longest book I listened to was The Unseen World with 14 hours and 22 minutes and the shortest was Dear Committee Members with only 3 hours and 55 minutes.

Hopefully 2017 will be a good reading year. I've got three books under my belt and if you want to follow what I've read, check out my Goodreads page. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

2015 reading roundup

This year I read 69 books, my highest number since 2009.

I was surprised to see that I read only 16 e-books compared to 28 paper books and 25 audio books this year. 

Here is the list of books I read in the reverse order I read them. I've linked to their pages on Amazon and linked to the author's homepage, Facebook page, or Wikipedia page if that was what was available. 
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Some of my favorite fiction books this year were The Martian (also loved the movie with Matt Damon), I am Pilgrim, Still Alice,  Days of Awe, Extraordinary Means, and The Secret Chord. My favorite non fiction books were A Deadly Wandering (frightening), Unbroken (OMG), It Was Me All Along, and Furiously Happy. I seemed to overdose a bit on young adult fiction, especially books about terminally ill or suicidal teenagers. All the Bright Places destroyed me. I also liked Did you Ever Have a Family, We Never Asked for Wings (not as good as The Language of Flowers), Whiskey and Charlie, The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street, Saint Mazie, Fourth of July Creek, Make Me (you just can't go wrong with Jack Reacher), The Book of Joe (ditto for Jonathon Tropper), Five Days Left, And the Mountains Echoed, Half Broke Horses, The Arsonist, and The Delirium trilogy. After writing out that list I'm surprised to see how many books I actually enjoyed because it felt like I was always complaining about how I didn't like a book I was reading. 
I was really disappointed by John Irving's new book, Avenue of Mysteries, which I had been very excited to get as an advanced reader's copy (ARC). Other books I didn't enjoy which everyone else seemed to love were The Girl on the Train, Fates and Furies, and the Pulitzer Prize winning All the Light we Cannot See. Other books I did not enjoy were North of Boston, A Fifty-Year Silence, Armada (so cliche'd and a big disappointment after Ready Player One), and The Drowning People.

Of the books I read 36 were by male authors and 33 were by female authors. Twenty eight books were by authors I've previously read. 

Here is the breakdown of books per month and genres:

In 2015 I read 17,026 pages and listened to 254 hours and 18 minutes of audiobooks. The longest book I read was I am Pilgrim at 612 pages and the shortest was Carry the One at 215 pages. The longest book I listened to was Fourth of July Creek at 15 hours and 41 minutes and the shortest was Notes from the Internet Apocalypse at 5 hours and 23 minutes. 
My 2016 reading is off to a slow start because I've been turned onto the Big Bang Theory by my friend and co-worker, Yona, and I've got 8 1/2 seasons to catch up on. I don't have any goals for 2016 but I think I'm going to ease up on the young adult genre a bit, especially the incredibly depressing ones (see above, terminally ill and suicidal teenagers).