I’ve been pretty quiet about, but I have decided for this year at least, that I wanted to keep track of the books I read. I’ve always been one of those annoying people who would bring books over to friends houses and read instead of play, and if I don’t have a book going I feel just, I don’t know, antsy or something. But I’ve never really kept track of what I read and I was curious how many books I read in a year. So I’ve been keeping a list and writing them down. (The list is Book List in the menu at the top of the page).
We are halfway through the year, so I thought I would analyze what I have read. I was expecting maybe 4-6 books a month, but it turns out I am averaging 8! At 6 months I have read 52 books, so that means I’m on track for reading over 100 during the year.
The monthly totals change and I know why. For instance February was by far my lowest month with only 4 books. Why so few? It’s because that’s when I went to America for three weeks and I barely had time to sleep, much less read. The books I did manage to read I either read on the plane or before the trip.
May and June was the most, with 11 books read during the month. June I understand, I had a lot of free time, but May is surprising. I remember being quite busy that month, so I’m not sure where I found the time to be honest. And I didn’t read just a bunch of little books that month either, but some huge tombs were in there including Fortune Cookie by Bryce Courtenay (584 pages) and The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand (704 pages and number 11 on Wikipedia’s list of the world’s longest books).
So which have been my favorites? Surprisingly I really enjoyed Patti Smith’s bio, Just Kids. I could care less about Patti Smith or Robert Mapplethorpe as celebrities, but for a coming-of-age bio of artist I really found it fascinating.
I also liked other memoirs including A Grief Observed, by C.S.Lewis and Some Girls by Jillian Lauren.
For fiction I liked Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins (though I’m not a super fan that cares about the casting of the movie) and the classic The Giver by Lois Lowry. (Clearly I’m a bit partial to kid’s books.)
Out of 51 books:
37 were fiction and 15 non-fiction.
19 were written by women, 33 by men
Out of the fiction books:
12 are considered young adult.
17 are sci-fi or fantasy
1 is about a vampire
Out of the non-fiction
12 are memoirs.
4 are self help(ish)
5 are (suppose to be) comedy
1 is truly offensive
What this list doesn’t show is the books that I aborted midway and never finished. Sine I read so much I have no qualms about tossing a book even if I’m halfway through it.
Some recent books I never finished was Steve Martin’s, An Object of Beauty (I love Steve Martin, especially his serious stuff, but he really loses me when he dives deep into the art world) and Running the Books: The Adventures of an Accidental Prison Librarian by Avi Steinberg (this one had such potential, but the writer was a little too annoying to continue to read). You can’t win them all.
Now, let me profess my love a little here for my Kindle. When I first moved to China, I didn’t have a Kindle and I didn’t think I needed it. After all, I was at a university with an extensive library, right? Well, not so right. Sure there is an English language library, with hundreds of books, but they are all ancient tomes used for learning. I mean yeah, I like Jane Austen as much as the next person, but you can only read her books so many times before they all begin to blend together. And sorry Dickens, I just cannot get into you.
So I re-read a bunch of classics, and even bought a few (very overpriced) books in the big city. I also had my friends send me some (but that can get pricey). But I was constantly starved for good books.
So, for me, buying the Kindle was one of the best decisions ever. The kindle works great in China. I have the cheaper wi-fi version and I have no problem downloading books to my computer, organizing them via Calibre e-book software and transferring them to my kindle. (I don’t automatically download them through wifi. I’m not sure if that feature works in China.) Right now my Calibre library has over 500 books in it, and that is after some serious weeding.
If you are thinking of moving to china, and like to read, I wouldn’t leave home without a kindle in my bag.
So I will continue to update the book list page as I continue to read, and in 6 more months I’ll have the answer to the question how many books do I read in a year? Will I stay on track and read over 100, or will I derail somewhere along the line (most likely when the new semester begins)? I’ll keep you updated!
What about you? What books have you read this year that you’ve liked? (or not liked?) I’m always up for suggestions.