Book Analysis 2016

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.

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Book Analysis 2015

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.

Total:
2008 – 78
2009 – 44
2010 – 29
2011 – 48
2012 – 73
2013 – 64
2014 – 74
2015 – 100

Number of new books:
2008 – 38 (49% of total)
2009 – 12 (27% of total)
2010 – 13 (45% of total)
2011 – 22 (46% of total)
2012 – 31 (42% of total)
2013 – 22 ( 34% of total)
2014 – 27 (36% of total)
2015 – 52 (52% 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)
2014 – 38 (51% of total)
2015 – 49 (49% 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)
2014 – 38 (51% of total)
2015 – 40 (40% 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)
2014 – 3 (4% of total)
2015 – 18 (18% 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)
2014 – 2 (3% of total)
2015 – 2 (2% 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)
2014 – 0
2015 – 0

And now some questions:

1. Best Book You Read In 2015? (If you have to cheat — you can break it down by genre if you want or 2015 release vs. backlist)

I will never not love The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch but my favourite new book – either Terry Pratchett’s Witches Abroad, Joe Abercrombie’s Half the World or Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

02. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

I finally got round to reading Jesse Burton’s The Miniaturist, which people have raved about and which looked beautiful and… I didn’t particularly enjoy it. Or The Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko, which I had hugely hyped up by the bookseller and which just didn’t really work for me.

03. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2015?

Don’t laugh. Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl, both because it turns out I’ve never actually read it and because I had no idea that it was going to go the way it did.

04. Book you read in 2015 that you recommended to people most in 2015?

Actually literally recommended to people is probably The Saga of the Volsungs. Let me do so again: it’s a genuine original Viking saga from nearly a millennium ago and it’s basically the blueprint for Tolkien. It has the original cursed ring, the original dragon on a hoard of gold, it has my favourite ever “fantasy” heroine, Gudrun, it has Odin messing with mortals for the fun of it, it has sassy werewolves, it has Valkyries, it has everything – if you like your Tolkien-esque fantasy, this is where it began.

05. Best series you discovered in 2015?

I don’t know that I discovered it in 2015 because I’d read a few books before but I got into Discworld a little bit. A bookseller and NaNoWriMo acquaintance recommended me the Witches series when I thought I’d just start at the beginning and force myself to try and like it – and I genuinely did enjoy the Witches, enough to go out and buy the next five books on the strength of the first. As far as a new series goes, I very much enjoyed Joe Abercrombie’s Shattered Sea series, only I’m stranded without the third book because I’m determined to have it in a paperback matching the first two and it’s not out until March.

06. Favorite new author you discovered in 2015?

I don’t know if I read much by anyone new. Well, I did but none of it is really up there as new favourites. I suppose Susanna Clarke is new and I did enjoy Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I’d heard it can be hard to get into so I thought I’d watch it first to make it easier. I still haven’t seen so much as five minutes of the TV series but I had no problem reading it.

07. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

No, see, I read for pleasure, so I don’t go seeking things that I’m not comfortable with. I suppose I’m not all that comfortable with exactly how many Chalet School books I read (25) but that’s not the question. I thought Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell was going to be out of my comfort zone but no, apparently not.

08. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2015?

The Bones Beneath by Mark Billingham, I think. I was reading that at a comedy club in Guildford (not while anyone was on stage!) and getting very into it.

09. Book You Read In 2015 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

Scott Lynch, Scott Lynch, Scott Lynch. I daresay I’ll reread quite a few Chalet Schools. Neil Gaiman’s American Gods – that gets reread pretty regularly. It’s satisfying to my soul.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2015?

The Discworld Hardback Library books are very nice-looking. Robert Galbraith’s books manage to be bright and jewel-like while being very dark at the same time, which I like. Garth Nix’s books are beautiful. And so are Neil Gaiman’s preferred text books – the black ones with the coloured metallic art. And finally, I’ve never seen an unpretty cover on His Dark Materials, although I’m very partial to the particular ones I’ve got.

11. Most memorable character in 2015?

After a year in which I’ve read too much Chalet School, Mary-Lou Trelawney stands out a lot. Granny Weatherwax. Thursday Next. Harry Potter & co. Kurt Wallander.

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2015?

I’m not very good at this question. I’ve heard people talk about the writing style of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, so I guess that’s a candidate. Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Neverwhere (does that mean it last year I read Anansi Boys? Stick that on the list for 2016 then).

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2015?

Well, Witches Abroad in that it finally brought me into the Discworld fold. There’s one I’ve read in the last couple of months, and I can’t find it, that had me awake and musing over it every night for about a week. Alexander Armstrong’s In the Land of the Midnight Sun because it made me think that if he could write that book I could write that book (31,500 words thus far and still growing, if slower than it was).

14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2015 to finally read?

Eoin Colfer’s WARP: The Reluctant Assassin because I’ve had it ever since it came out – in hardback, because I was so desperate to read it. Charlie & the Great Glass Elevator, as mentioned.

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2015?

 

Again, I don’t really do this but have Gudrun’s Crowning Moment of Awesome from towards the end of The Saga of the Volsungs (spoilers!)

 

16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2015?

Shortest must have been The Chalet School and Rosalie, a wee little booklet originally published as a short story in an annual, I think. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell is probably up there for longest, with possible competition from American Gods. Scott Lynch’s Red Seas Under Red Skies is a huge book but that’s just the edition I own (I have no idea how they squish it into a normal-sized paperback without either shrinking the text hugely or deleting chunks). Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix is pretty big.

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!

…No-oo, I don’t think there was anything. I did ask my sister about The Miniaturist (“am I missing something or did you also not think that was as brilliant as it was made out to be?”). Clariel by Garth Nix could have had a big reveal and a big shock if I’d paid more attention to the original trilogy but that passed me by.

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2015 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

I am fond of the ever-exasperated love/hate between Granny Weatherwax and Magrat Garlick. Tom Thorne and Phil Hendricks. Gudrun and Atli oh god Gudrun and Atli.

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2015 From An Author You’ve Read Previously

The vast majority of books I read were from authors I’ve read previously. The Lies of Locke Lamora? Can I have that one again? Half the World is a new one I really liked, by an author (Joe Abercrombie) that I already knew.

20. Best Book You Read In 2015 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

Witches Abroad. Left to my own devices, starting Discworld at the beginning, I would never have got as far as Witches Abroad without being personally recommended it. Does “the BBC making a big shiny miniseries out of it” (even if I never actually got around to watching it) count as a recommendation, because I enjoyed Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

21. Genre You Read The Most From in 2015?

Girls Own, colonial-era boarding school children’s books. The Chalet School, plus a couple of LM Montgomery, plus What Katy Did At School plus one of Anne Digby’s Trebizon books. If you filter that lot out, it’s probably fantasy (again, kind of skewed towards the child-friendly end of the spectrum, I think).

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2015?

I do have a soft spot for Locke Lamora, of course. Lord Asriel from His Dark Materials sort of feels a bit like a Heathcliffe type, but I wouldn’t go as far as to call him a crush. But neither of them are new. I suppose I’d forgotten Anne Rice’s Lestat is written to make you adore him and I did adore him so much as a teenager. Lancelot from The Once and Future King and Lestat from The Vampire Chronicles, that was teenage me.

23. Best 2015 debut you read?

I’m not sure what this question means. Best new book of 2015 or best first-time author? I don’t think I have any authors new in 2015 and I’m not certain how many books. Half A World was new in 2015 and that was very good.

24. Most vivid world/imagery in a book you read in 2015?

Well, anything by Neil Gaiman for a start. Harry PotterNorthern Lights. The Bones Beneath. Did anything give me nightmares? I sort of think something might have done – or at least that it couldn’t get it out of my head at night. I wonder what that was? The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith definitely had some… vivid (graphic!) scenes.

25. Book That Was The Most Fun To Read in 2015?

Discworld is fun. Harry Potter is fun, especially around the middle of the series. Thursday Next is fun. I find Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike books fun, perhaps strangely.

26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2015?

Ished a few tears over Jacqueline Wilson’s The Illustrated Mum but the only book I can’t go back to because I cry too much, believe it or not, is one of Jeremy Clarkson’s. It’s a collection of his newspaper articles and one of them is about Concorde’s retirement and I can feel tears stinging the back of my eyes just thinking about it.

27. Book You Read in 2015 That You Think Got Overlooked This Year Or When It Came Out?

Well, I think more people should be reading and talking about Jasper Fforde and his Thursday Next series. Same goes for Joe Abercrombie and his everything but especially the Shattered Sea series because it’s marketed as YA and gets overlooked by people who would read his adult stuff.

Book Analysis 2013

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.

Total:
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.