I started 131 books during the year and finished 126 of those (I’m not counting the two that I am still reading in 2010 as they’ll appear in this year’s stats). This is a huge improvement on last year’s 82 books finished. This year I thought I’d employ my passion for coloured charts to highlight some aspects of my reading.
2009 was for me the year of the audio book. I have always enjoyed them but the CD packs are impractical to transport and ludicrously expensive however this year I discovered audible which has made a significant improvement to my life. I can download two books each month for around $15AUS each which is less than half what I’d pay for a new release trade paperback here in Oz and about one-third the cost of an audio book on CD. This new found treasure has allowed me to listen to 27 audio books in the past 12 months (versus the two I managed last year) and several will appear in my list of favourite reads for the year. I try to spend at least an hour each day walking so being able to combine reading with walking has made me a healthier and happier book lover. I have a separate page here on the blog listing all my audio book reviews and for 2010 I have joined the Audio Book Challenge to help me maintain my motivation.
I like to think I’m getting better at selecting books that I’ll enjoy and a comparison of my ratings for the past two years does show this. As well as having a load more 5 out 5 ratings this year I have, in total, far more books rated 3.5 and above than I did in ‘08. A few real duds have still made it through my filters but they’re becoming rare enough that they make me appreciate all the brilliant books I read most of the time and they have provided opportunities for a rant or two. Or three.
I bought nearly half of the books that I acquired this year (in either print or audio format) which is about average for me. However my ability to mooch (swap) books has dropped off substantially during the later half of this year as fewer people are prepared to send books to those of us living down here at the bottom of the world. I’ll either have to increase my purchasing and/or library borrowing in future to feed my habit. Of course that’s after I get through my current TBR pile which should last me through 2010.
Towards the end of the year I made a concerted effort to do something about the ridiculous number of books I own (but will never read or refer to again) and put the brakes on my acquisitive nature while I have so many unread books lying about the place. In November and December I gave away over 200 books (either to friends or local charities) which freed up one and a half book cases (one of which I’ve also given away so that I don’t feel the need to fill it up again). I did almost stop acquiring books by December though some book vouchers for birthday and Christmas will need to be spent soon. Regardless of this Reduce The TBR will be my mantra for 2010.
I’m chuffed that more than half of the books I read for the year were by new-to-me authors. It was only a couple of years ago that I seemed to read the same few authors over and over again (all that were easily available from local stores and libraries) but since I’ve discovered book blogs a whole new world of writers has opened up to me. I’ve also managed a decent cross-section of author nationalities and book settings and being a participant in this year’s Global Challenge will help me maintain this kind of diversity in my reading.
Of course 127 of the books I read were crime fiction or thrillers so in that way my reading could hardly be considered diverse but I’m not fussed about that. I’ve learned the hard way to read the books I want to read rather than the ones I think I ought to and at the moment it’s mostly crime fiction that piques my curiosity. If that should change (and it could easily do so as I pay attention to what people are saying about other types of books) then my reading will take a new direction and if it doesn’t I’ll be very content exploring all manner of human strengths and frailties through the eyes of great crime writers.