2014 in Book Statistics

Five Star Books of 2014:
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.
Cinnamon and Gunpowder by Eli Brown.
Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage by Molly Wizenberg.
An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace by Tamar Adler.
Greenglass House by Kate Milford.
The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier.
The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.
Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett.

Total Books Read in 2014: 63

Number Read in Best Month: 9 (August)
Number Read in Worst Month: 2 (March)

Total Books Read in 2013: 75
Total Books Read in 2012: 64
Total Books Read in 2011: 130
Total Books Read in 2010: 130
Total Books Read in 2009: 200
Total Books Read in 2008: 80
Total Books Read in 2007: 122
Total Books Read in 2006: 70

Fiction/Non-fiction Split:
2014: 66%/34%
2013: 60%/40%
2012: 72%/28%
2011: 70%/30%
2010: 68%/32%
2009: 84%/16%
2008: 63%/37%
2007: 50%/50%
2006: 59%/41%

Percentage of Books by Women (Overall/Fiction/Non-fiction):
2014: 83%/82%/90%
2013: 68%/69%/67%
2012: 61%/67%/53%
2011: 59%/58%/62%
2010: 55%/54%/59%
2009: 44%/44%/ 42%
2008: 68%/70%/67%
2007: 60%/57%/68%
2006: 74%/88%/55%

Kindle vs. Print Books:
2014: 45%/55%
2013: 53%/47%
2012: 73%/27%

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2014 in Book Statistics

What I Read: December 2014

I read 6 books in December – evenly split between fiction and non-fiction, Kindle and hard copy.

How to Catch a Bogle by Catherine Jinks (2013).
A fun kid’s book that I heard about from the Booklist blog. Birdie is a 10-year-old Bogler’s apprentice in Victorian London, which basically means that she’s bait for those monsters who live in places like chimneys and wells and other dark places and who like to eat children. Despite that description, Birdie loves her job and resents the interference of a well-meaning “improver” who tries to “save” Birdie from her chosen profession. I love children’s chapter books with strong, interesting female characters and then definitely fits that description.

Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchsia Dunlop (2008).
I read SO many food memoirs. I really liked this one, even though I had avoided it for year’s, because I can’t tolerate spicy food (damn you Scandanavian forebears, with your love of dairy and complete lack of peppers), and why read about food you can’t eat? But this was interesting enough, and Dunlop’s enthusiasm for Chinese and especially Sichuan food was great enough, that I enjoyed it anyway!

Bad Feminist: Essays by Roxane Gay (2014).
I really like Roxane Gay. I think she is super smart and a great writer and I was excited to pick up this collection of essays. I love essays! I love modern feminist writing! And I was just sort of MEH about this. I think I’m not that crazy about pop culture criticism? Maybe because I am just not up on enough of it anymore. This book wasn’t bad, just not as awesome as I was expecting it to be.

Ruby Redfort Take Your Last Breath by Lauren Child (2013).
This is a children’s book series about a 13-year-old secret agent (sounds awesome already, right?). Amusingly this is a series that was written, because the author Lauren Child has another series (Clarice Bean), in which the main characters favorite books were Ruby Redfort mysteries, which didn’t exist until Clarice Bean fans started clamoring for them. I love that! Anyway, this is the second book in the series, and is great fun.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (2014).
I loved this book. LOVED it. So much so that I have made it my book club pick for next month. It is an autobiography of the childhood of children’s/YA book writer, Jacqueline Woodson. And it’s in VERSE. It’s an autobiography in POEMS. I don’t usually do so well with poetry. I like it in theory and I like individual poems, but I can’t just sit down and read a book of poems. But I devoured this – and I think it’s because, it has something that most poetry is missing and that’s a plot, a narrative arc. I like when people do beautiful things with words, but to read a whole lot of that beauty, I want to also get a story, and Brown Girl Dreaming just hit all those notes amazingly well.

The Girl Who Saved the Queen of England by Jonas Jonasson (2014).
I read very little literature in translation. I don’t know why exactly, it’s just one of those things. I mostly read books that were written in English. But I picked this one up (originally written in Swedish), based on the recommendation of the NPR Book Concierge. And it was so good – funny and unexpected and delightful. And amazingly, a lot of the online reviews on GoodReads say “not as good as his first book”, so now I am REALLY excited to read that. Well worth checking out!

What I Read: December 2014

Twelve Books or Bust January!

I decided I wanted to do a stretch reading goal in January. In my most reading-heavy month in 2014, I finished 11 books (although a more typical month is 3-4), so this January, I’m going to read TWELVE books. This will serve two purposes: 1) Make me happy in an otherwise cold and gloomy month, because I love to read. 2) Keep me from wasting SO MUCH time on the internet. I mean, I love the internet, but surely I could stand to be a little more judicious in my internetting. And now I won’t have time to mess around, because I’ve got to get reading.

I have two basic guidelines to help me do this. (The beauty of challenging YOURSELF, is that YOU make the rules!)

1) Children’s chapter books are okay. Encouraged even. Probably all of my books will need to be no more than 300 or so pages in order to get this done. I can’t read twelve 600 page books in a month, that’s for sure!

2) The books must be finished in January, but they do not have to have been started then. I have a number of half finished books floating around in the universe. This is the month to finish them!

Anybody else been wanting to up their reading? You should do an “X Books or Bust” Challenge too! It could be any number of books – even one!

Alternatively and/or additionally, any suggestions for good, not-too-long, quick reads? I could use some!

Twelve Books or Bust January!