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
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 Potter. Northern 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.