The beginning of January: the traditional time to collect statistics on the previous year’s reading. At least, this is the tradition on librarian blogs. See: Jessamyn West, Meredith Farkas, and my co-worker Linda.
Last year I read 154 books; here’s the complete wrap-up from 2013. In 2014 I re-discovered picture books in a big way, so I’ve got an inflated-looking number (281!) as well as a more comparable one (147).
Number of books read in 2014: 281
Books per month average: 23.4
Total page count: 54,111 (most picture books are 32 pages, most audiobooks are “unpaged”)
Fiction/Nonfiction split: 244 fiction/37 nonfiction
Books read minus 6 partially-read books: 275
And minus 128 picture books: 147
Books per month average minus partially-read books and picture books: 12.25
Audiobooks: 20, including a few re-reads (Will Grayson, Will Grayson; My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece; Landline; Every Day), not including one I didn’t finish (White Tiger)
Female/male authors: roughly 50/50 if this year is consistent with my library as a whole (see Fig. 1)
5-star ratings: 18 books (though two of them were The Very Hungry Caterpillar, one in English and one in Spanish).
And as Linda wrote, “I stand by my 5-star ratings, but when I look at what I read this year, there are many other books that really jump out at me, that when I see them on the list I think ‘That one was really good.'” It’s hard to tell, when you finish a book you really liked or loved, if it will stick in your mind or not. Some fade quickly, and others continue to grow in your memory until they’re firmly lodged there; these are the ones you end up recommending to others for years, even if they weren’t the ones you raved about the instant you finished reading the last page.
For the Robbins librarians’ collaborative blog post about our favorite books of 2014, in which we particularly focused on books with 2013-2014 pub dates, I chose to write about The Bone Clocks, Station Eleven, All the Light We Cannot See, Men Explain Things to Me, and Far Far Away. I also strongly second many of the other librarians’ choices, including The Magician’s Land, Landline, Thunderstruck and Other Stories, Say What You Will, and I’ll Give You the Sun.