I like to keep track of how many books I read (I’ve been doing it since 2008) but I’ve not really done much analysis other than an occasional, vaguely guilty realisation that I read a lot of of kids’ books. So first, some statistics and then some Q&A I got from Google.
2008 – 78
2009 – 44
2010 – 29
2011 – 48
2012 – 73
2013 – 64
Number of new books:
2008 – 38 (49% of total)
2009 – 12 (27% of total)
2010 – 13 (45% of total)
2011 – 2z (46% of total)
2012 – 31(42% of total)
2013 – 22 ( 34% of total)
Number of kids’ books:
2008 – 35 (45% of total)
2009 – 21 (48% of total)
2010 – 17 (59% of total)
2011 – 19 (40% of total)
2012 – 38 (52% of total)
2013 – 26 (41% of total)
Number of scifi/fantasy books (sorry to lump these together; sometimes it’s not easy to pick which one a book fits into)
2008 – 52 (67% of total)
2009 – 12 (27% of total)
2010 – 12 (41% of total)
2011 – 19 *40% of total)
2012 – 34 (47% of total)
2013 – 34 (53% of total)
Number of crime books:
2008 – 0
2009 – 0
2010 – 2 (7% of total)
2011 – 11 (23% of total)
2012 – 8 (11% of total)
2013 – 9 (14% of total)
Number of non-fiction books:
2008 – 6 (8% of total)
2009 – 5 (11% of total)
2010 – 0
2011 – 2 (4% of total)
2012 – 3 (4% of total)
2013 – 2 (3% of total)
Number of plays:
2008 – 0
2009 – 2 (5% of total)
2010 – 0
2011 – 0
2012 – 1 (1% of total)
2013 – 2 (3% of total)
And now some questions:
1. Best Book You Read In 2013? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2013 release vs. backlist)
I guess it has to be Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora – it’s a long-standing favourite and it’s going to take quite a book to steal my heart from it. In second place is… the entire Once and Future King series by TH White. Another long-standing favourite.
02. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Rivers of London. People raved about it and… I enjoyed it, I didn’t hate it but I was expecting it to be The Best Book Ever and it was only quite good.
03. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2013?
The Wallander series by Henning Mankell. Because I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it so much I devoured pretty much the entire series in a few weeks. My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl was the most surprising but not so much in a good way.
04. Book you read in 2013 that you recommended to people most in 2013?
Oh, that’s always the Lies of Locke Lamora. I’ve been recommending it to people for years. Don’t tell me if you don’t enjoy it, I don’t want to know that.
05. Best series you discovered in 2013?
I enjoyed Hugh Howey’s Wool series. Technically I didn’t discover the Wallander series in 2013 but that’s when I started reading. Either of those.
06. Favorite new author you discovered in 2013?
Alright, let’s say Hugh Howey. I picked up the first one at Heathrow, the second at Edinburgh Airport and I sought out the last one in a non-airport bookshop. To be fair, Wool was the only book in all of Heathrow that looked worth even trying to read that evening.
07. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?
Macbeth. I’m neither a Shakespeare fan nor a fan of reading plays but I really liked Macbeth. It’s so dark!
08. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2013?
Dust, third in the Wool series. I read that during a comedy show, or at least I started it and I felt a little like the comedian in question was interrupting me when he came onto the stage.
09. Book You Read In 2013 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
All the Scott Lynch ones. I’ve read them every year since I started keeping records. Probably some of the Artemis Fowl ones.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2013?
That’s just unfair. No, I won’t answer that. Wool has a great cover. The Thursday Next books are very eye-catching. The Republic of Thieves is nice.
11. Most memorable character in 2013?
Uncle Oswald, from My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl, mostly for totally the wrong reasons.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2013?
After much consideration, I think I’m going to say The Once and Future King, the five TH White books. They’re a work of art and they tell a great story. (I could give The Book of Merlyn a miss, though)
13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2013?
That’s the Once and Future King as well. I read it in my tent in Iceland and dreamed about knights almost every night. I very rarely dream about what I’ve been reading so that clearly got into my head.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2013 to finally read?
Old Magic by Marianne Curley. Only because I bought it years ago and was certain I’d read it. But I didn’t remember any of it and the book looked untouched so I can only conclude that I didn’t. Not in a “I can’t believe it’s only now that this masterpiece has come to me!” way.
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2013?
Easy. Njal’s Saga:
One day, [Guðrun] asked to go to a nut grove to amuse herself, and Asvard went with her. Hrapp went looking for them and found them in the grove and took her by the hand and let her off alone. Asvard went looking for her and found the two of them lying together in some bushes. He ran at them with his axe raised and hacked at Hrapp’s leg but Hrapp moved quickly and Asvard missed him. Hrapp sprang to his feet as fast as he could and seized his axe. Asvard tried to get away; Hrapp hacked his backbone in two.
Then Guðrun spoke: “The deed you’ve just done means that you may no longer stay with my father. But there is another thing which will displease him even more – I’m going to have a child.”
Hrapp answered, “He won’t learn this from others. I’ll go back and tell him both these things.”
“You won’t get away from there with your life then,” she said.
“I’ll take that chance,” he said.
After that he took her to the other women and he went to the hall.
Guðbrand was sitting in his high seat and only a few men were in the room. Hrapp walked up to him holding his axe high.
Guðbrand asked, “Why is your axe bloody?”
“I have been taking care of Asvard’s backache,” he said.
“Not out of good will, I suppose,” said Guðbrand. “You must have killed him.”
“That’s true,” said Hrapp.
“What was the reason?” said Guðbrand.
“It will seem petty to you,” said Hrapp, “but he was trying to cut off my leg.”
That was written a millennium ago. Isn’t it beautiful?
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2013?
Shortest was Artemis Fowl & the Seventh Dwarf because it’s a wee little World Book Day booklet. Longest must have been Njal’s Saga which is not only long but very hard-going, despite gems like “he was trying to cut off my leg”.
17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!
The entirety of My Uncle Oswald. I think there’s a post about it on this very blog. I want to tell everyone about it but childhood hero Roald Dahl writing about quite graphically raping his way around 1920s Europe may not be to everyone’s tastes.
18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2013 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).
I think it’s Arthur & Lancelot from the Once and Future King. Lancelot is just such a mess of emotions and he loves Arthur but he’s also having an affair with Arthur’s wife and Arthur knows it. Or Njal and Gunnar from Njal’s Saga. Their wives are murdering as much of Iceland as they can and the men just stand aside with gritted teeth and reassure each other that this isn’t going to affect their friendship.
19. Favorite Book You Read in 2013 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. I really like Scott Lynch and I’ve been waiting for Republic of Thieves for about five years. I was always going to love it.
20. Best Book You Read In 2013 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:
I don’t really take recommendations very often. I think I read the Wallander books on the strength of a Tumblr post I stumbled across but that’s the only one.
21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2013?
Scifi/fantasy. Again, sorry for crushing those two genres together. I hate it too but it’s hard to decide which category the likes of Thursday Next should go in.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2013?
I don’t really do that. I did have a ridiculous crush on TH White’s Lancelot as a teenager; I suppose that got rekindled a little bit this year.
23. Best 2013 debut you read?
The Republic of Thieves. As I said, having been anticipating it for a long time, chances were I was always going to love this book.
24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2013?
The Artemis Fowls, the Thursdays Nexts and Wool. I can picture all three of them so vividly it feels like I’ve seen a film of them.
25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2013?
The Practical Princess is fun – no damsels in distress here. Or the Starlight Barking because it’s a bonkers scifi/fantasy sequel to 101 Dalmations, which is utterly unexpected if you haven’t read it before. Do read it, it’s not huge or complicated but it does make you wonder what on earth Dodie Smith was thinking to write this as a sequel to 101 Dalmations.
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2013?
I don’t think I can think of a book that’s ever made me cry or want to cry. I can think of at least two books that have given me nightmares, though.
27. Book You Read in 2013 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?
The Republic of Thieves! I know the market’s flooded with scifi/fantasy but honestly, I think Scott Lynch is great and more people should read these books.