2014: Reading Round-Up

Time to review my year of reading in 2014. This year I read a total of 94 books; my totals below won't add up because of things like multiple authors (also I'm doing my sums on the back of an envelope!) This total is a lot lower than last year's. I didn't read much while I was getting over my op, in the middle of the year; I watched hours of TV on the couch instead. And a couple of blockbusters (Far From the Tree and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet) chewed up weeks of reading time.

Adult: 44
YA/children's: 50
This was actually the hardest category to define. I read a number of books that could have fallen into either classification: The Ocean at the End of the Lane, Sea Hearts, The Cartographer, To Kill A Mockingbird? But it's come out in a pretty even split. The proportion of adult books was slightly higher this year.

Female author: 65
Male author: 31
My pro-female bias is showing again! This split is about the same as last year. And I must admit, going over my list, I realised that the books I didn't enjoy were usually by male authors. Sorry, guys! But I hasten to add that I did read some really excellent books by men this year -- the two titles mentioned in the intro, for example.

Fiction: 84
Non-fiction: 10
Yikes! Last year the split was about 75% fic/ 25% non-fic. I've read hardly any non-fiction this year, with, again, the notable exception of Far From the Tree, which was massive. Maybe I was looking for escapism in a fairly tough year? I must give a shout-out to Helen Garner's This House of Grief, which was also wonderful.

New: 21
Second-hand: 35
Library: 16
E-book: 7
Borrowed from friends: 9
Re-read/already owned: 7
I bought a higher proportion of new books this year, partly thanks to a book voucher I received last Christmas, but also due to a scary new on-line book habit (thanks, Readings.com.au and biblio.com...) Again, most of my reading matter was sourced from second-hand books shops and library book sales. Interestingly, I bought fewer e-books this year. I made a lot of visits to the library, but looking at the number of books I actually read, I realise that I spent most of those visits borrowing for my children. Sometimes I feel guilty about the number of second-hand books I buy, but even if I bought two a week it probably wouldn't equal my husband's coffee habit, so I won't feel too bad! My re-reads this year were To Kill A Mockingbird and my Antonia Forest collection. The joys of the latter were enhanced enormously by an on-going on-line read-through via Live Journal (I might talk more about this in a later post).

Australian author: 31
UK: 40
US: 16
Canada: 2
Germany: 1
NZ: 1
India: 3
This spread is slightly more diverse than last year, but not much. I forgot my resolution to read more non-Anglo authors and my bias toward British authors is still apparent. This reflects a lot of comfort reading this year -- eg multiple Agatha Christie and Antonia Forest titles which I return to repeatedly for reliable pleasures. I did, however, start to address my ignorance of Australian children's writers like Nan Chauncey, Ivan Southall and Hesba Brinsmead.

New releases (since 2000): 46
1950 - 2000: 36
Pre-1950: 13
New category! I'm actually quite relieved to see that my reading preferences are not entirely antique! A clear majority of the books I read were recent releases, and most of those were brand new. Doing my bit to support the publishing industry… In future I might break this down more precisely, as there's a big difference between a book published in 1999 and one published in 1950.

This year I'm going to try to be a bit more diligent in reviewing the books I read on this blog, and try to overcome my aversion to reviewing books by authors I might meet (or already know). They might not be long reviews, but I will try to stretch those critical muscles slightly.

Happy New Year, everyone, and I hope you got lots of books for Christmas! (I scored four.)

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