Choose your favorite year-end metaphor, or, Bookish resolutions (again)

I dearly wish my “end-of-the-year to-blog-folder cleanup” could be as neat and tidy as Brian’s, but alas, there are 21 unfinished drafts, some going back as far as 2011. That might be a good project for the last days of December and the first part of January, but first I’m trying to compile my year-end reading statistics, a project that has been snarled by a mid-year switch from Goodreads to LibraryThing (documented here and here).

I’ve been using LT pretty much exclusively since September, but LT’s statistics, while charmingly quirky (are the authors of the books I read dead or alive?), aren’t the sort I’m looking for. Goodreads, on the other hand, offers stats that are less imaginative but more practical: how many books read this year? How many pages? I thought I’d solve the problem by importing some of my LT data back into Goodreads, sans reviews, but Goodreads didn’t recognize my “date started/date finished” headings (which I had to acquire in a hacky way to begin with, because that information isn’t included in LT’s export feature: I tweaked some display preferences, got a print view, copied and pasted into Excel).

So it’s all a bit of a mess, but as best I can tell I read 159 books this year (so far!), but subtract seven “partially-read” books from that number to get 152 books for 2013. That’s about 12.6 books per month (though again, December isn’t over, and I’m halfway through David Sedaris’ laugh-out-loud Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls). This number is rather astonishingly close to last year’s: I read 159 books in 2012. I don’t really expect to improve upon that, but of course it’s not about the numbers really; it’s about the quality, and I did read some wonderful books this year.

And how did I do on my New Year’s resolution to read all the unread books on my shelves at home? Not terribly well at all. Of those pictured in the link, I read two (Olive Kitteridge and The Carriage House), but throughout the year the “at home and unread” shelf/pile(s) morphed. (Yes, I think morphed is the word.) I decided not to read (and therefore, to give away) several of them (see below), but many I still intend to read, and my dear sweet friends at various publishing houses sent even more. Fortunately, I had Christmas* day to take all my books off their shelves, dust, rearrange, and catalog: the “to be read” books are now on a shelf (okay, 1.5 shelves) in the living room, where I’ll be faced with them every day. I also bought the e-book of Far From the Tree, which I started and loved but could not make myself lug around (900+ pages!); now that it’s more portable I have no excuse.

*That’s what Christmas is for, right? Movies, Chinese food, and cataloging one’s books?

So, here’s the to-read shelf for 2014 (click to enlarge):


It’s all the books on the top shelf, starting with short stories, then fiction, then nonfiction, which continues onto the first part of the next shelf (see below).

DSC06251Do you see your favorite book on my to-read shelf? Tell me why I should move it to the top of the list!

Here are the books I deaccessioned (fancy word for “got rid of”) or am deaccessioning soon:


Of the books in the photo above, I read Olive Kitteridge, TransAtlantic, The Song Is You, and about half of TrafficThe others remain unread (by me).


Of those in this photo, I read the nine on top, but the five on the bottom went unread.


Of these, I read four and a half. Or thereabouts.

So that’s it, my year in reading. Did you make a bookish resolution? I’m curious to hear.



10 thoughts on “Choose your favorite year-end metaphor, or, Bookish resolutions (again)

  1. I have a copy of The Welsh Girl on my shelf to read also – maybe we should plan a read-along? And of course I highly recommend Above All Things. You won’t be sorry for reading it.

    • There were over 300,000 books published in 2010 alone – even if only 1% of them were “good,” that’s still 3,000, which is far more than I can read in a year…plus there are the books from last year, and the year before, and the year before that…

  2. Linda, yes, let’s read The Welsh Girl at the same time! I feel guilty that I haven’t read Above All Things already – it was so near the top of the pile at one point and then a bunch of library holds came in at once…

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