Annual Books Read Statistics!

It's here: the Annual Books Read Statistics!

Here are the statistics for 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 (and the list), 2010, 2009 (and the list).

First off, here's the full list, sorted slightly into author groups (I can't keep up with alphabetising or italicising all this though):

1. Be Careful, It's My Heart by Kait Nolan
2. HELP! Food Allergies Coming To Dinner by Kait Nolan

3. The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread)
4. Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien
5. The Story of Kullervo by J. R. R. Tolkien
6. The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J. R. R. Tolkien (reread)
7. Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
8. Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition)
9. Sauron Defeated - Book 9 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J. R. R. Tolkien (reread)

10. The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne (reread)
11. Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne (reread)

12. Marilynne Robinson and Barack Obama in the New York Review of Books (conversation)
13. "Fear" by Marilynne Robinson (essay)
14. Sacred Inwardness by Marilynne Robinson (essay)
15. Lila by Marilynne Robinson (so lovely)

16. Les dernieres jours de nos peres by Joel Dicker
17. Le livre des Baltimore by Joel Dicker
18. La Verite sur l’affair Harry Quebert by Joel Dicker (loving this!)

19. Spun by Catherine McKenzie
20. Smoke by Catherine McKenzie
21. Hidden by Catherine Mackenzie

22. A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak
23. The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak
24. This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak

25. Mr. Garden by Eleanor Farjeon
26. Jim at the Corner by Eleanor Farjeon

27. The Lord Fish by Walter de la Mare
28. "The Listeners" by Walter de la Mare (poem)
29. "Slowly, silently now the moon" by Walter de la Mare (poem)

30. In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck
31. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

32. New Statesman issue guest edited by Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman (I don't usually include magazines in this list but I read this one cover to cover)
33. The Last Chance Ball (a Word Wenches Christmas anthology featuring Jo Bourne, Jo Beverley, etc.)

34. The End of All Things by John Scalzi
35. Subterranean Scalzi Super Bundle by John Scalzi featuring To Sue the World (an original, very short Redshirts story available nowhere else), Muse of Fire, Mallet of Loving Correction, Lock In, Lost Chapters (available nowhere else), How I Proposed To My Wife: An Alien Sex Story, An Election, Judge Sn Goes Golfing, Questions for a Soldier, The Sagan Diary, The Tale of the Wicked, The God Engines, You're Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop, etc.

36. CassaFire by Alex Cavanaugh
37. CassaStar by Alex Cavanaugh

38. The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
39. My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl

40. The North Star is Nearer by Evelyn Eaton
41. Every Month Was May by Evelyn Eaton

42. Sparkling Cyanide (Remembered Death) by Agatha Christie (reread)
43. Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
44. Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie

45. The Long Way Home by Louise Penny
46. How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny

47. Dark Sonnet by Neil Gaiman
48. Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman (reread)
49. Chu's Day at the Beach by Neil Gaiman (reread, many times)
50. "I can’t work like this" by Neil Gaiman (poem)
51. "Kissing song" by Neil Gaiman (poem)

52. Hide and Seek Pig: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
53. Postman Bear: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
54. Fox's Socks: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
55. Rabbit's Nap: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

56. Paddington Bear All Day by Michael Bond and R. W. Alley (board book)
57. Paddington Bear Goes to Market by Michael Bond and R. W. Alley (board book)

58. The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
59. Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
60. But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton

61. Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
62. Pop-up Peekaboo! Farm by Dawn Sirett and Sarah Davis (DK Publishing) (board book)
63. Emily's Balloon by Komako Sakai
64. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (reread)
65. Colors Are Nice by Adelaide Holl and Leonard Shortall (Little Golden Book)
66. Baby's Very First Touchy-Feely Book (Usborne) by Stella Baggott
67. Baby's Very First Touchy-Feely Colours Play Book (Usborne) by Fiona Watt and Stella Baggott
68. Possum Magic by Mem Fox (read by Claire)
69. JaMaDu: Pippa et le crocodile (a Coop storybook)
70. Corduroy by Don Freeman
71. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread)
72. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper (abridged, darn it)
73. Emily's House by Niko Scharer and Joanne Fitzgerald
74. Casse-tete et contes de la Bible (board book)
75. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (reread)
76. The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey and Gustaf Tenggren (Little Golden Book) (abridged)
77. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (reread)
78. The Nursery Rhyme Book by Andrew Lang
79. Emily Goes to Market by William Mayne
80. Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
81. The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo by Judy Blume
82. The Captive Diary of Catherine Logan by Mary Pope Osborne (Dear America)
83. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
84. Mes P'tits Contes, legends of Swiss cantons (eight books)
85. Hockey Night Tonight: The Hockey Song by Stompin' Tom Connors and Brenda Jones

86. William Tell Told Again by P. G. Wodehouse
87. The Owl Service by Alan Garner
88. Peanuts Volume 1 by Charles Schulz
89. Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King (loved My Pretty Pony)

90. Going Back by T. L. Watson
91. The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
92. Her Ladyship's Companion by Joanna Bourne
93. Pre-Fix: A Ciel Halligan Short Story by Linda Grimes

94. Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad by M. R. James (short story) (1904)
95. Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland (short story)
96. A Simple Act of Kindness by Carol Drinkwater (short story)
97. An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten (actually a few pages of the story, written by John Green for the film of his novel The Fault In Our Stars)
98. Mrs. Whippy by Cecelia Ahern
99. A Christmas Story by Richard Burton

100. Histoire de Founex by Josiane Ferrari-Clément (skimmed)
101. Tolkien's Gedling by Andrew H. Morton and John Hayes
102. First and Second Things by C. S. Lewis

103. Death of A Century: A Novel of the Lost Generation by Daniel Robinson
104. So Anyway... by John Cleese
105. How To Be A Man (and other illusions) by Duff McKagan
106. The Christie Notebooks by John Curran
107. The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White
108. Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear
109. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
110. Occasional Soulmates by Kevin Brennan

111. Finding Fraser by kc dyer

112. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
113. The Wars by Timothy Findley (reread)
114. Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico
115. The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend
116. Two Caravans by Monica Lewycka
117. Aunt Sass by P. L. Travers

118. Mother Tongue-The Story of the English Language by Bill Bryson
119. Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell

120. What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
121. Your Baby's First Year for Dummies by James Gaylord and Michelle Hagen

122. secret beta 4!
123. secret beta 3!
124. secret beta 2!
125. secret beta!

126. Untitled by Claire Gregory (poem)
127. “Birds of Passage” by Peter McArthur (poem)
128. “The Mother” by Nettie Palmer (poem)
129. “The Fly” by William Blake (poem, reread)
130. “Tyger, Tyger” by William Blake (poem, reread)
131. “In Two Aeroplanes Over the Sea” by Amanda Palmer (poem)
132. “January Brings the Snow” by Sara Coleridge (poem)


Books Read: 132, of which 91 were novels and MG/YA and essays, etc. (I count ‘em all!), 29 were board books (reread over and over again), and 12 were poems. Some of the board books from previous years that I've also been rereading this year haven't made it to the list.

2014: 111 novels, short stories, and essay collections and comics (plus poems)
2013: 188 novels and short stories (plus poetry)
2012: 142
2011: 124
201092
2009: 131
2008: 101

That’s not counting the thousands of words written and read for writers' houseparties over at the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum, plus other forum writings, and magazines and newspapers, etc.


Average Over 50 Weeks (not counting the poems): 2.6, or two books and one short story and one board book.

In 2013, it was one more than the previous couple of years, 3.5 books per week (or three books and two short stories).
In 2014, I reported no serious post-baby decline in reading, as I was at 2.2, or two books and one short story.

I haven’t had a decline since then, as I’ve added many many board books to my daily reading. I wonder why I read so much in 2013? I think I'd like to do that again, except I've noticed that reading a lot significantly cuts into writing time.


Authors Read: 91 (counting all; plus three anthologies). Definitely a bit more variety this year.

2014: 61
2013: 88
2012: 105
2011: 89
2010: 63
2009: 57
2008: 69 (not counting anthologies)


Most Books by One Author: J. R. R. Tolkien, as I've been rereading a lot (and also read the latest posthumous release, The Story of Kullervo). Also Neil Gaiman, if you count the poetry. Second place is tied between many authors (Agatha Christie, Walter de la Mare, Joel Dicker, Catherine Mckenzie, Kait Nolan, Brenda Novak and Marilynne Robinson) and two board book authors, Sandra Boynton and Julia Donaldson (the creator of the Gruffalo and the Acorn Wood series).

In 2014 it was tied between Louise Penny and J. K. Rowling (with Gaiman and Tolkien coming in a close second)
In 2013, it was Neil Gaiman with eight books, three short stories, two poems, a speech, and five Sandmans. Also L. M. Montgomery, Josephine Tey, J.R.R. Tolkien, Brenda Novak, Stephen King, E. L. Konigsburg, and Budge Wilson
In 2012, I read Tolkien and Stephen King, plus four Talli Roland books!
In 2011, I reread The Lord of the Rings and the Silmarillion, Outlander, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Tales of Beedle the Bard (before seeing the last movie)
In 2010, I again reread L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series, including The Road To Yesterday
In 2009, rereads included J. K. Rowling, Diana Gabaldon, and Agatha Christie.


Oldest Book: In Dubious Battle (Steinbeck), Absent in the Spring (Westmacott (Christie)), and Jim at the Corner (Farjeon), for the actual physical copies, not counting reprints. If you do count reprints and new editions of classics, there are many from the 1930s, but I think the oldest two are Heidi and Wodehouse’s retelling of William Tell. Yes, my reading is coloured more than ever by Swiss authors and legends! Then there was the short story Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad by M. R. James, from 1904.

I'd like to have read something older. I basically skipped from Beowulf (Tolkien’s translation) 900 years into the future, with nothing in between! I ought to read some Shakespeare or G M Hopkins next year...

In 2014, it was Childe Harold by Lord Byron and The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen.
In 2013, it was Keats and Byron’s poetry, plus The Count of Monte Cristo and, if you go by the stories themselves and not the publication date, Land of the Seal People by Duncan Williamson, which is a collection of retellings of ancient silkie stories from the Scottish islands. Along with a John Clare poem and an old song from the Shetlands that I read on Kate Davies’ blog. Then there was the short story “Why, Of Course” by James Edmond Casey (published in 1912 in Top Notch Magazine).
In 2012, Cyrano de Bergerac and Voltaire were the oldest, and the oldest published books (not reprints) were the two anthologies, The Land of My Fathers - A Welsh Gift Book, and Princess Mary’s Gift Book, both from 1914, including stories and poems by Arthur Conan Doyle, Kipling, etc. There was also Ah King by Somerset Maugham, Shakespeare in London by Marchette Chute, and Helena by Evelyn Waugh.
In 2011, it was the 14th Century Book of Good Love by Archpriest Juan Ruiz, though the translation was only a hundred years old. After that, it was the chapter on the Earl of Rochester from Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, and Murder Must Advertise by Dorothy L. Sayers, as well as P. G. Wodehouse.
In 2010, it was the Earl of Rochester as well (and Perreault’s fairy tales), plus Hours at the Glasgow Art Galleries by T. C. F. Brotchie, An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott and When the Going Was Good by Evelyn Waugh.
In 2009, there was Shakespeare and a handful of books from pre-1950.
In 2008, the oldest authors were Aesop and Pliny, but the oldest original book was by Dorothy L. Sayers, followed by John Fante and John Steinbeck.


Newest Book: Books published in 2015 (not counting reissues (such as Tolkien's Farmer Giles of Ham and Smith of Wootton Major)):
1. HELP! Food Allergies Coming To Dinner by Kait Nolan
2. The Story of Kullervo by J. R. R. Tolkien
3. Marilynne Robinson and Barack Obama in the New York Review of Books (conversation)
4. "Fear" by Marilynne Robinson (essay)
5. Sacred Inwardness by Marilynne Robinson (essay)
6. Lila by Marilynne Robinson (so lovely)
7. Le livre des Baltimore by Joel Dicker (brilliant!)
8. Smoke by Catherine McKenzie
9. A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak
10. The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak
11. This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak
12. The Last Chance Ball (a Word Wenches Christmas anthology featuring Jo Bourne, Jo Beverley, etc.)
13. The End of All Things by John Scalzi
14. How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny
15. Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland (short story)
16. Untitled by Claire Gregory (poem)
17. "In Two Aeroplanes Over the Sea" by Amanda Palmer (poem)
18. Going Back by T. L. Watson
19. How To Be A Man (and other illusions) by Duff McKagan
20. Death of A Century: A Novel of the Lost Generation by Daniel Robinson
21. The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White
22. A Simple Act of Kindness by Carol Drinkwater (short story)
23. Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith
24. Finding Fraser by kc dyer
25. The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
26. Pre-Fix: A Ciel Halligan Short Story by Linda Grimes

11 less than 2014, which had exactly the same number (37) as in 2013! 7 Forumites in 2015, and 3 blogging buddies (not counting older books of blogging buddies that I caught up on reading!).

2014: 5 Forumites, as well as blogging buddies
2013: 4 Forumites, as well as blogging buddies, and the Cabinet of Curiosities authors, plus the 60th anniversary edition of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (with an introduction by Neil Gaiman)
2012: 36, including 9 Forumites
2011: 44
2010: 13 plus 10 Forumites
2009: many more, including books by kc dyer, Hélène Boudreau, Linda Gerber and Diana Gabaldon -- Forumites all!
2008: 2, by Joanna Bourne and Marilynne Robinson


Stories/Authors I Didn't Like: This is the category under which I hide some honesty. Some of the books that I feel obligated to read (for review purposes or because I received them as gifts) leave me cold. I try not to be mean when doing a review post, especially when I'm sharing that review on Amazon. Here's the list for 2015:
Two classic Little Golden Books: Colors Are Nice by Adelaide Holl and Leonard Shortall (which is just silly in its Amerian-centric point of view. A kid riding a zebra like a horse?) and The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey and Gustaf Tenggren (annoyingly, I unwittingly got an abridged copy. I can't stand abridged books. Perhaps the true version is better; this one is simply sad because it ends with the puppy not quite learning his lesson but being left out by the others anyway).
One new book: JaMaDu: Pippa et le crocodile (this is a storybook put together as part of a kids' marketing campaign for the local Swiss shop Coop. It’s an odd tale of a hippo who thinks she sees a crocodile coming through the window (it's just shadows) and is afraid to go to sleep. All her friends rally round and help her while she lies there paralysed with fear. They check the grounds, stand guard, and give her a special sock to cover her tail so the crocodile won't bite, and then she goes to sleep. I guess I just didn't like the fact that the hippo never really participates, or thanks her friends).
Another kids' book: Emily's House by Niko Scharer and Joanne Fitzgerald (this one reads like a cumulative poem, along the lines of The House That Jack Built. But its rhythms are off and some phrases are reiterated needlessly. It should have been edited some more!).
Two war-time tales (WWI and WWII): Death of A Century: A Novel of the Lost Generation by Daniel Robinson, and Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear (I really liked the ideas of both of these stories, and Maisie Dobbs was a great character with some intriguing backstory. But since this is one of my favourite eras to read and I also read a lot of authors from these decades, I'm very picky when it comes to tone and language (and plausibility, but that wasn't an issue with these books). I could be wrong, of course, but these just didn't strike the right note with me).
A classic: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. I blogged about this Bradbury book here.
An author I otherwise love: The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend (this was disappointing. Nothing happened that I couldn't have predicted, which would have been fine if its slowness had been captured in short story or novella form).
Finally, I really had a hard time with What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel. Nothing wrong with the book, which is chock full of detail and information; it's just that it's so darn depressing. It weighs you down with timelines and schedules and details upon details and all the things that could go wrong and some useless advice (all about moving baby into the big tub and how to make him comfortable and so on -- but why move him out of his own small tub in the first place until he's outgrown it?!) and, in general, I wouldn't recommend reading it all the way through like I did. Just dive into the index whenever you're curious about a specific topic.

In 2014, I noted that 2 romances that left me flat, and that I hadn't enjoyed the short story collection The Progress of Love by Alice Munro
In 2013, I only had 2 as I was getting better at not forcing myself to slog through books I'm not instantly attracted to. The 1 book I didn't like but finished was Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. The 1 book I didn't like and didn't force myself to finish was Jenny Lawson's semi-autobiographical memoir. I explained a bit about why on the Forum
In 2012, there were no books I actively disliked, but there were 2 I felt "meh" about: Before Versailles, and Inkheart
2011 featured Jonathan Franzen, Philippa Gregory and Gillian Bagwell
2010 featured Libba Bray and Thomas Cobb
1 author in 2009 (Ilyas Halil)
3 authors (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ian McEwan and Ian Rankin) and 1 story (“Hairball” by Margaret Atwood) in 2008


Books That Made Me Cry: In the last two years I've tried to remember to keep track of this throughout the year because it's not very accurate at year-end when I can't remember. But I forgot again! And besides The Lord of the Rings, I really only remember three: Be Careful, It's My Heart by Kait Nolan; The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne (reread); and Going Back by T. L. Watson.

2014: The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny; The Lord of the Rings; Harry Potter series; The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer; Liza of Lambeth by Somerset Maugham; Written in My Own Heart's Blood by Diana Gabaldon; and How To Fall In Love and One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern
2013: Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi; The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread); The Lay of Aoutrou and Itroun by J. R. R. Tolkien; The Year of Shadows by Claire Legrand; The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows; She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb (skimming reread) (it's that last line ("Thayer, I saw her!" I yell. "I saw!") that gets me. Every. Single. Time.)
2012: Bag of Bones by Stephen King; Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury; The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman; All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque; The Fault In Our Stars by John Green; The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling (because of Krystal); and Lunatic Heroes by C. Anthony Martignetti (if you haven't yet, you have to listen to him reading the chapter The Swamp. Bullfrog.)
2011 (the first year of this category) I had many: The Scottish Prisoner, and Outlander, both by Diana Gabaldon, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling, and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien, all of which were rereads, but there was also Rowing in Eden by Barbara Rogan, The Only Alien on the Planet by Kristen Randle, This and That by Emily Carr, The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells (I bawled), Dancing Through the Snow by Jean Little, Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay, The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson, and Fifteen by Beverly Cleary


Youngest Books: The Acorn Wood series by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler; Paddington Bear All Day and Paddington Bear Goes to Market by Michael Bond; The Going To Bed Book, Moo, Baa, La La La and But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton; Chu's Day and Chu's Day at the Beach by Neil Gaiman; Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg; Emily's Balloon by Komako Sakai; and The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. Also these four board books:
Pop-up Peekaboo! Farm by Dawn Sirett and Sarah Davis (DK Publishing)
Colors Are Nice by Adelaide Holl and Leonard Shortall (Little Golden Book)
Baby's Very First Touchy-Feely Book (Usborne) by Stella Baggott
Baby's Very First Touchy-Feely Colours Play Book (Usborne) by Fiona Watt and Stella Baggott

In 2014, it was Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss (reread) (brought to you by Neil Gaiman) and Emil In the Soup Tureen by Astrid Lindgren, plus a few YAs and MGs. Not sure if Go the F*^$ To Sleep and You Have to F*%$ing Eat counted.
In 2013, I had quite a few board books, just as in the last few years, including: two Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems; Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman; The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman; The Dangerous Alphabet by Neil Gaiman; Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman; To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street by Dr Seuss; Who's A Pest? by Crosby Newell Bonsall; Star Trek Book of Opposites; Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch; and Rainy Days with Bear by Maureen Hull (this one should appeal to writers!). Also quite a bit of YA and MG. Old favourites never leave you.


Fluff but Fun Books: I don’t have any! Unless you count comics, but I wouldn't call Peanuts fluff at all. Definitely fun, though, especially as I'm reading them all in order and the earliest ones are rather different to the later stories.

In 2014, the F*%#ing books, plus Tintin and Asterix and the Caliph
In 2013, some more Andy Capp, the Far Side, and Uncle John's Bathroom Reader, the Music edition
In 2012, only 2 issues of MAD
In 2011, Andy Capp, MAD, and an Archie; fewer than the past 3 years


Books/Authors I'd Recommend: All Forumites and blogger buddies, plus Kait Nolan, Catherine McKenzie, John Scalzi, Louise Penny, Agatha Christie, J. R. R. Tolkien, Robert Galbraith, Marilynne Robinson, and A. A. Milne, depending on your tastes. Also the following:
Les dernieres jours de nos peres by Joel Dicker (a story set in WWII that has me considering its characters and questions raised weeks after I’ve finished reading)
La Verite sur l’affair Harry Quebert, and its sort-of sequel Le livre des Baltimore by Joel Dicker (brilliant mysteries, thoughts on writing and creativity, and intriguing characters)
Mr. Garden and Jim at the Corner by Eleanor Farjeon (I love stories in this sort of tone. Slightly ethereal, fairy-ish, and very very English)
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (I finally read it this year. If I could write like this...)
The North Star is Nearer and Every Month Was May by Evelyn Eaton (Europe in the 1930s. I love her wry tone!)
Emily's Balloon by Komako Sakai (a sweet tale for kids)
The Wars by Timothy Findley (another WWII story, this one from a Canadian point of view)
Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico (another one from the 1930s)
Two Caravans by Monica Lewycka (so much fun and yet very poignant at the end)
Aunt Sass by P. L. Travers (wasn’t expecting this! More 1930s, this time in Australia)

Also these, if you're looking for board books with pitch-perfect read-aloud rhythm:
Rabbit's Nap: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg
Paddington Bear Goes to Market by Michael Bond and R. W. Alley
The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton
Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton
But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton
Chu's Day by Neil Gaiman

In 2014, I recommended Louise Penny, and The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer (non-fiction).
In 2013, I recommended (besides all Forumites and blogging buddies!) all of Josephine Tey and E. L. Konigsburg, plus: A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (for general intriguingness); The Reader Over Your Shoulder by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge (for writers); A Calendar of Tales by Neil Gaiman (for storytelling); The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (for all-around strength of purpose); Esio Trot by Roald Dahl (for the sweetness of it all); The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows (for the wonderfulness of it, and the fact that it’s a wartime story); A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka (for the wonderful tone); A Dangerous Fiction by Barbara Rogan (for the keep-you-on-your-toes mystery, and the characters); and the Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems (for the witty kid in all of us).
In 2012, I recommended the books that made me cry, and in 2011, I recommended Forumites and old favourites, Tolkien et al.


Shortest Book: Not counting anything explicitly marketed to kids, this leaves only 4:
Farmer Giles of Ham and Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien
A Christmas Story by Richard Burton
Aunt Sass by P. L. Travers

In 2014, it was The Tales of Beedle the Bard, same as in 2008, 2010 and 2011. Also the two lovely mini-stories by Kait Nolan, Once Upon an Heirloom and Once Upon a Snow Day.
In 2013, I read a lot more essays and short stories in general, so it was hard to single out just one.
In 2012, I recommended the longest of the short pieces: The Space Between, a long novella by Diana Gabaldon.
In 2011, the other shortest was The Object Lesson by Edward Gorey (besides the short stories, the youngest books, Andy Capp, Archie, and MAD). 


Longest Book: Hmm, I'm not sure. Nothing extra long in there, but lots of Tolkien (The Lord of the Rings and books 8 and 9 in the History of Middle Earth series) and Joel Dicker. I suppose The Grapes of Wrath is longer than usual too.

Every year there’s a Tolkien or Gabaldon in there, and 2014 was no exception, same as 2013.

In 2013, I reread the Anne of Green Gables series, read all of Josephine Tey's books, and also read John Scalzi's wonderful Old Man's War series. Also some long Stephen King: Under the Dome; the uncut The Stand; and 11/22/63. I also read The Count of Monte Cristo. In French.
In 2012, I had no long series that I could count as one book, so I decided to mention Neil Gaiman.


Research Books: Hardly any non-fiction. That’s kind of sad. Some of the fiction (anything set in or during the wars, along with writing from that time, especially Tolkien's The Notion Club Papers) could count as research.

In 2014, I also read no non-fiction books, and counted L. M. Montgomery and A Rose for the ANZAC Boys by Jackie French as research.
The 2013 crop was varied, given that I was reading for Druid's Moon (contemporary paranormal romance), Captive of the Sea (15th Century historical romance), and Larksong (pre-WWI Canadian romance). Some of the novels I read (especially Forrester's) doubled as research. I loved Archaeology is Rubbish by Prof. Mick Aston and Tony Robinson. And I skimmed the following: Medieval Civilisation by Jacques le Goff; The Great Explorers (Folio Society edition); Parragon's Encyclopedia of Animals: a Family Reference Guide; and Celtic Myths and Legends by Mike Dixon-Kennedy.
I had a hodgepodge in 2011-2012, including books on English history, poetry, Mediterranean flora, Ottoman history, and the Renaissance.


Books From the 19th Century and Earlier: Oh no! Only 1! The Nursery Rhyme Book by Andrew Lang. Also three poems, two of which were rereads:
"The Fly" by William Blake
"Tyger, Tyger" by William Blake
"January Brings the Snow" by Sara Coleridge

2014: Only 2! Byron's Childe Harold and Andersen's The Snow Queen.
2013: Only 1! Le Comte de Monte-Cristo par Alexandre Dumas. And a handful of poems. And the Grimm brothers' story "The Blue Light".
2012: Only 1! The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley, plus poems by Longfellow and Browning, and "The Pit and the Pendulum" by Edgar Allan Poe.

I must read more in this category!


Books from 1900-1960: Lots of Christie, Dahl, de la Mare, Eaton, Farjeon, Milne, Steinbeck, and Tolkien, as well as:
The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey and Gustaf Tenggren
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
William Tell Told Again by P. G. Wodehouse
Peanuts Volume 1 by Charles Schulz
Oh, Whistle, And I'll Come To You, My Lad by M. R. James (short story)
First and Second Things by C. S. Lewis
The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico
Aunt Sass by P. L. Travers
Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
"Birds of Passage" by Peter McArthur (poem)
"The Mother" by Nettie Palmer (poem)

In 2014, I didn’t have as many as usual. The Tintin books, L. M. Montgomery, Tolkien, Maugham, Sayers, Christie (plus The Floating Admiral by the Detection Club, including Christie, Sayers, Chesterton, etc.), Wodehouse, Graves, Milne, and Tutankhamen's Tomb by Howard Carter (excerpt essay from his book).

In 2013, there was lots of Tolkien, Josephine Tey and L. M. Montgomery, plus: Esio Trot by Roald Dahl (such a sweet love story!); Poet's Pub by Eric Linklater (so much fun!); The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (reread); To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street by Dr Seuss; The Magician's Nephew by C. S. Lewis (reread); “Four Fables for Our Time” by James Thurber (short story) (reread); “You Should Have Seen the Mess” by Muriel Spark (short story) (reread); “Ha’penny” by Alan Paton (short story) (reread); The Screwtape Letters, Chapter 1 by C. S. Lewis (read by John Cleese) (reread); “Why, Of Course” by James Edmond Casey (short story); “Acquainted With the Night” by Robert Frost (poem); Medieval Civilisation by Jacques le Goff; All My Life Before Me: The Diary of C. S. Lewis (finally finished this one – I’ve been reading it in fits and starts for over 15 years!); Stories in Words by C. S. Lewis; Emerson (bits and pieces of his essays on his travels through England and Scotland; read aloud to me); and The Reader Over Your Shoulder by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge.
In 2012, I had a lot (counting the short stories), including all the Tolkien, plus Christie, Sayers, Milne, Bradbury, Waugh, Chute, Maugham, Remarque, Chesterton, and Bodies and Souls (1950s Dell Paperback featuring crime stories by Agatha Christie, G. K. Chesterton, etc.).
In 2011, there were only 12 novels and 2 short stories. Honourable mention went to The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson, which is all about growing up in a small midwestern US town in the 50s.
2010: 27
2009: 17
2008: c. 25 


Beta Reads: Four!

2014: 3
2013: 2
2012: 4


Forumites were at it again this year! Here are the latest releases that I read:
Going Back by T. L. Watson
The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
The Last Chance Ball (a Word Wenches Christmas anthology featuring Jo Bourne, Jo Beverley, etc.)
Pre-Fix: A Ciel Halligan Short Story by Linda Grimes
Finding Fraser by kc dyer



Most Surprising Book:
Farmer Giles of Ham and Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien (these were rereads but I was struck all over again by how well Tolkien can weave a tale, with many nuances and layers)
My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl (salacious stuff! But very amusing)
Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie) (this was a wonderful example of a story told entirely through the thoughts of one character, yet revealing the facets of other characters and varied settings)
Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin (a lovely tale for young kids, with a smart and wise princess. A long time ago I read Slobodkin's The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree. I hadn't realised he'd worked with Thurber!)

2014: Louise Penny, An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth by Chris Hadfield, and The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer.
2013: Poet's Pub by Eric Linklater (a fun, romantic romp through 1930s England), The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks (I was not expecting anything about this story. It's truly different), and Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith aka J. K. Rowling.
2012: World War Z by Max Brooks.


One thing that struck me this year, going over the list and the previous years, is how some books have stayed with me, and feel very recent, while others I'd completely forgotten I'd read. Stephen King's books, among many other authors I could name, really stick to a person. When he's good, he's very very good. I might add this as a category next year.

I read much less poetry in 2015. I should be reading a lot more poetry. I think I'll add that to my ROW80 goals, to make myself more accountable.

Which surprising books have you read this year?

Happy Holidays to all!

A reward for scrolling through endless text!:





Here's the full, unedited list for 2015:
***Reading At Intervals*** Moranology by Caitlin Moran Lonely Planet guide to Switzerland Parade’s End by Ford Madox Ford A Woman in Arabia: The Writings of the Queen of the Desert by Gertrude Bell 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!)) Journal of Inklings Studies 11 Doctors 11 Stories by various authors (including Neil Gaiman) Creed or Chaos? by Dorothy Sayers The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff Moby Dick by Herman Melville The Jerusalem Bible
***Finished Books*** Peanuts Volume I by Charles Schulz Sauron Defeated - Book 9 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J. R. R. Tolkien (reread) Be Careful, It’s My Heart by Kait Nolan The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien (annual reread) The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne (reread) Mr. Garden by Eleanor Farjeon Untitled by Claire Gregory (poem) Possum Magic by Mem Fox (read by Claire) “The Listeners” by Walter de la Mare (poem) Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne (reread) Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith Dark Sonnet by Neil Gaiman “Birds of Passage” by Peter McArthur (poem) Marilynne Robinson and Barack Obama in the New York Review of Books (conversation) “Fear”by Marilynne Robinson (essay) A Simple Act of Kindness by Carol Drinkwater (short story) An Imperial Affliction by Peter van Houten (short piece) (already added this?) Sparkling Cyanide (Remembered Death) by Agatha Christie (reread) Les dernieres jours de nos peres by Joel Dicker Spun by Catherine McKenzie Jamadu: Pippa et le crocodile (a Coop storybook) The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread) Hide and Seek Pig: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler Postman Bear: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler Fox’s Socks: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler Christmas at Cranberry Cottage by Talli Roland (short story) Tolkien’s Gedling by Andrew H. Morton and John Hayes A Winter Wedding by Brenda Novak Le livre des Baltimore by Joel Dicker Paddington Bear All Day by Michael Bond and R. W. Alley (board book) Beowulf and Sellic Spell by J. R. R. Tolkien Mrs Whippy by Cecelia Ahern The Story of Kullervo by J. R. R. Tolkien Going Back by T. L. Watson The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper (abridged, darn it) Emily’s House by Niko Scharer and Joanne Fitzgerald Hockey Night Tonight: The Hockey Song by Stompin’ Tom Connors and Brenda Jones The End of All Things by John Scalzi A Christmas Story by Richard Burton Histoire de Founex by Josiane Ferrari-Clément (skimmed) Rabbit’s Nap: A Lift-the-flap Book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg and Janet Ahlberg La Verite sur l’affair Harry Quebert by Joel Dicker (loving this!) How To Be A Man (and other illusions) by Duff McKagan The War of the Ring - Book 8 in the History of Middle Earth series by Christopher Tolkien and J. R. R. Tolkien (reread) Pop-up Peekaboo! Farm by Dawn Sirett and Sarah Davis (DK Publishing) (board book) (duh) Paddington Bear Goes to Market by Michael Bond and R. W. Alley (board book) Emily’s Balloon by Komako Sakai Bible stories and puzzles (in French) (board book) The Last Chance Ball (a Word Wenches christmas anthology featuring Jo Bourne, Jo Beverley, etc.) Farmer Giles of Ham by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition) CassaFire by Alex Cavanaugh First and Second Things by C. S. Lewis Smith of Wootton Major by J. R. R. Tolkien (reread but new edition) So Anyway... by John Cleese The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl “Slowly, silently now the moon” by Walter de la Mare (poem) “I can’t work like this” by Neil Gaiman (poem) CassaStar by Alex Cavanaugh Death of A Century: A Novel of the Lost Generation by Daniel Robinson “The Fly” by William Blake (poem, reread) “Tyger, Tyger” by William Blake (poem, reread) The Christie Notebooks by John Curran The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White What to Expect the First Year by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel Your Baby’s First Year for Dummies by James Gaylord and Michelle Hagen secret beta 2! The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak Chu’s Day at the Beach by Neil Gaiman (reread, many times) Sacred Inwardness by Marilynne Robinson (essay) New Statesman issue guest edited by Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman (I don’t usually include magazines in this list but I read this one cover to cover) The North Star is Nearer by Evelyn Eaton Nightmares and Dreamscapes by Stephen King (loved My Pretty Pony) Every Month Was May by Evelyn Eaton Occasional Soulmates by Kevin Brennan secret beta! Smoke by Catherine McKenzie “In Two Aeroplanes Over the Sea” by Amanda Palmer (poem) Jim at the Corner by Eleanor Farjeon Finding Fraser by kc dyer Mother Tongue -- The Story of the English Language by Bill Bryson The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury Absent in the Spring by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie) Come, Tell Me How You Live by Agatha Christie The Lord Fish by Walter de la Mare The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton The Nursery Rhyme Book by Andrew Lang In Dubious Battle by John Steinbeck Subterranean Scalzi Super Bundle by John Scalzi featuring To Sue the World (an original, very short Redshirts story available nowhere else), Muse of Fire, Mallet of Loving Correction, Lock In, Lost Chapters (available nowhere else), How I Proposed To My Wife: An Alien Sex Story, An Election, Judge Sn Goes Golfing, Questions for a Soldier, The Sagan Diary, The Tale of the Wicked, The God Engines, You’re Not Fooling Anyone When You Take Your Laptop to a Coffee Shop, etc. Emily Goes to Market by William Mayne Many Moons by James Thurber, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (reread) Colors Are Nice by Adelaide Holl and Leonard Shortall (Little Golden Book) Corduroy by Don Freeman The One in the Middle is the Green Kangaroo by Judy Blume The Wars by Timothy Findley (reread) The Captive Diary of Catherine Logan by Mary Pope Osborne (Dear America) The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (reread) Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson (reread) The Poky Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey and Gustaf Tenggren (Little Golden Book) (abridged) The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf (reread) Heidi by Johanna Spyri secret beta read 2 Pre-Fix: A Ciel Halligan Short Story by Linda Grimes Hidden by Catherine Mackenzie The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck Moo, Baa, La La La by Sandra Boynton But Not the Hippopotamus by Sandra Boynton Oh, Whistle, And I’ll Come To You, My Lad by M. R. James (short story) (1904) Chu’s Day by Neil Gaiman (reread) My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl Baby’s Very First Touchy-feely Book (Usborne) by Stella Baggott Baby’s Very First Touchy-Feely Colours Play book (Usborne) by Fiona Watt and Stella Baggott Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell Lila by Marilynne Robinson (so lovely) Flowers for Mrs Harris by Paul Gallico secret beta read! The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend HELP! Food Allergies Coming To Dinner by Kait Nolan This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak The Owl Service by Alan Garner Two Caravans by Monica Lewycka Aunt Sass by P. L. Travers An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten (actually a few pages of the story, written by John Green for the film of his novel The Fault In Our Stars) “January Brings the Snow” by Sara Coleridge (poem) “Kissing song” by Neil Gaiman (poem) “The Mother” by Nettie Palmer (poem) William Tell Told Again by P. G. Wodehouse Her Ladyship’s Companion by Joanna Bourne The Long Way Home by Louise Penny How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny Mes P’tits Contes, legends of Swiss cantons (eight books)

Comments

Fallon Brown said…
Very detailed list! Yay for reading so many books
That's a lot of books! Glad I wasn't on the list of those you didn't like.
Crystal Collier said…
Whew! That's a ton of books! The most I've read in a year was around the 120 range, but it was an epic year. (I don't count books I reread.)
S.P. Bowers said…
I still have THE GOING TO BED BOOK memorized. I wish I would have kept track of mine this year. I think I would be depressed though. It's been terribly stressful and I've done less reading then I ever remember.
Hi Deniz - my gosh - how do you do it .. and Emily has obviously caught the bug!!

I did recognise a few names ... but was fascinated to see you'd included the Sara Coleridge Poem, which I used as my first post this year ... along with another Flanders and Swann song based on the poem ...

If I read then I don't do anything else ... I do write my blog posts though .. cheers Hilary
Arlee Bird said…
That is a very thorough assessment of reading. You had me beat at about #12 and that list kept going and going. You put readers like me to shame.

I think the book that surprised me most this year was Doctorow's World's Fair--I really liked that one.

Arlee Bird
Wrote By Rote
Nas said…
Wow! I read so many but I couldn't keep a list like this! And your adorable bundle of joy already started reading I saw!
Linda G. said…
Wowsers! That's a bunch of books. I'm impressed with your organizational skills, and so happy to see Pre-Fix made your list. :)
sage said…
WOW! I just to keep a list of books read but never kept one of essays--however, having read many of Marilynne Robinson's essays (which are wonder) they could often count as a book. I find her writing stimulating. I read a lot more non-fiction than most, I expect.
Denise Covey said…
Wow Deniz! How long did this take you to write? I finished my 120 books for 2015, but if anyone wants to know what they were, they can click on the goodreads widget on my blog. What fun! Thanks for the cutsie pics of your little darling!
Deniz Bevan said…
Thanks, all!
I had to do this post over a few days, Denise, it definitely takes a while! Fun to see the patterns, though. Still wish I'd kept such lists from childhood on!
I probably read the Sara Coleridge poem thanks to you, Hilary! I don't do anything else if I read, either. I'm starting to realise it's why I don't seem to write or edit as fast as others. I just can't help falling into a book and reading non-stop!

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