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

Reading About Reading: A Link Round-up

It seems like link round-ups are things that are done on Fridays, and there are a few book/library-related posts lately that have been floating around in my brain, so I thought I would share. Have you read anything good on the internet lately? Leave me a comment with the link(s)!

Genre blocks
Are there genres or themes that you never like to read? What are your reading blocks? I really liked this post and the subsequent comments about what we choose to read (and what we never pick up).

Highbrow media’s sexist blind spot: Romance novels
Why doesn’t the media talk about the best selling segment of the publishing industry more?

“The typical excuse for that exclusion is genre, not gender. But those two words have a common root, and are intertwined in many ways. Romance is seen as unserious and frivolous because women are seen as unserious and frivolous, and romance is written largely by women, for women, about concerns traditionally seen as feminine.”

This is What a Librarian Looks Like
I’m a sucker for any project that celebrates the diversity of librarianship.

“I realized I had a stereotype in my mind of what a librarian looked like, which is one of the reasons I wanted to do this project. Whenever I think something is true, I’m often wrong,” Cassidy said. “I tend to think of librarians as the ones I know from my public library and from school. But there are librarians who are researchers and archivists doing extraordinarily technical work. There are librarians who work in specialized fields who have to know about archaeology, for example, or medicine or research science. The field was broader than I had gone in there thinking.”

This Map Shows The Most Famous Book Set In Every State
I strongly disagree that The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown is the most famous book set in DC.

“Why are they always white children?”
I have been thinking about race and children’s picture books since NPR did a story on the topic last year. That story is also worth a read, but I really liked this more recent post.

“Children living in one of the most diverse countries in the world need to be exposed to people who are not like them. Otherwise they grow up to be the kind of person that freaks out when Coca Cola airs a commercial during the Super Bowl in which “America the Beautiful” is sung in language other than English.”

Reading About Reading: A Link Round-up

Update: Read it or Lose it

Last January, I selected 20 books in my house that I had been meaning to read, but just hadn’t gotten around to. I vowed that if I didn’t read them in the next year, I would give the unread books away. In the end I finished 9 of the books on my list.

The books I finished were:
The Book That Changed My Life edited by Roxanne J. Coady and Joy Johannessen. Finished March 2013.
Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Food by Gary Paul Nabhan. Finished May 2013.
Daughter of Heaven by Leslie Li. Finished March 2013.
Defiance by Carla Jablonski. Finished January 2013.
Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang. Finished January 2013.
Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter by Ruth Rendell. Finished August 2013.
The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez. Finished February 2013.
The Memory of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family’s Legacy of Infidelities by Katharine Weber. Finished January 2014.
Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull. Finished December 2013.

Started but never got in to:
Conquering Gotham: Building Penn Station and Its Tunnels by Jill Jonnes
The Known World by Edward P. Jones
Lewis & Clark by Nick Bertozzi
Radio On by Sarah Vowell
Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History by Sidney Wilfred Mintz
To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done for America by Lillian Faderman

Never even picked up (guess I didn’t want to read them as much as I thought):
Lies Across America by James W. Loewen
Origins by Amin Maalouf
Trash by Dorothy Allison
What You Call Winter by Nalini Jones

Didn’t finish, but giving myself an exception and keeping, because I make the rules, dammit!
The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich

All the books I didn’t finish are getting donated. If any are on your To Read list, and you’d like me to send them to you, just let me know!

Update: Read it or Lose it

2013 in Book Statistics

This post is my yearly indulgence of my nerdy love of both books and statistics. Thanks for humoring me, dear reader.

Total Books Read in 2013: 75

  • Number Read in Best Month: 11 (January)
  • Number Read in Worst Month: 3 (October)

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:

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):

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:

2013: 53%/47%

2012: 73%/27%

Books by New (To Me) Authors: 60% (This is the first year I’ve looked at this, but I saw it on this blog post, and I got curious about what that number would be for me. I feel like I tend to read the same folks all the time, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was branching out more than expected).

Five Star Books of 2013:

(After I wrote this list, I noticed that fully half of the books are children’s/YA! I really gave myself permission to read what appealed to me this year, instead of what I felt like I *should* read and I think this list reflects that!)

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer.

Relish: My Life in the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley.

Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed.

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand.

2013 in Book Statistics

Thoughts on ePicture Books

I’ve had a Kindle Fire for almost 2 years now, and I like it way more than I thought I would. As you may have noticed, I am a BIG reader and I was originally interested, because I thought it would be to use while feeding/holding a baby than a print book (and it was). I continue to like it because I find it super it very easy to check out library books on, easier to read books with on public transportation, and convenient for travel (I can bring a dozen books with me in a device the size of one not-too-large hardcover). Oh, and I can look up words! I’ve found that I miss that ability now when I read non-fiction in print. I still love books in print, but I’ve found that the Kindle fits the bill for a lot of my reading needs.

BUT I have always thought eReaders only work for certain types of books – really just chapter books, books that are primarily text. (Even non-fiction with illustrations doesn’t work well, the illustrations aren’t as clear, and an eReader is generally smaller than a print book.) I have particularly avoided them for picture books. Picture books are glorious. They come in a millions different shapes and sizes. They are colorful, the illustrations are so vivid and exciting. eReaders are one (small) size). They make illustrations look flat or muddy. And what young kid needs to spend more time staring at a screen? Give me (and them) print!

Still, I was recently browsing my public library’s new additions on Overdrive and I saw that they had a picture book that we own at home – Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle. It’s a cute, wordless book. The illustrations are great – and most interesting of all to me – it has flaps! I was very curious to see how an eBook would handle this interactive feature, so I checked it out.

The book still has “flaps”, or rather there is a section of the illustration that you can tap on, and it will change to the illustration that is under the flab in the print book. This is pretty neat, but I realized as I read the book, that this ability was pretty limited. In the the print book, there are often flaps on both pages (one showing a move that the Flamingo was making, one showing a move that Flora was making). When I read the print book, I would open the flap on the left side of the page, leave it open, and then open the flap on the right side of the page. In this way it would appear that the flamingo was made a particular move, and then Flora moved to match. In the eBook, you can’t do that. When you click the second “flap”, the first “flap” closes. This changes the meaning of the book slightly. In this “reading” the flamingo has gone back to the original pose, and doesn’t notice that Flora is trying to imitate him. When I realized this, I thought, had I been “reading” the print book wrong? But the answer is no – in the print book, both readings are correct. In the eBook, there is only one “correct” reading. Even though it is interactive, the eBook is limiting its readers.

This just confirmed my anti-ePicture Book feelings – in addition to the limitations in size and brilliance of the illustrations, the ePicture Book is trying to dictate how to read the book. I realize that eBooks for adults do this too (you can’t flip through an eBook, like you can a print book), but they also offer added features (search, dictionary, etc), that I feel like balance this out for me. Anyway, it was interesting to check out, but I think I am going to stick with print for Picture Books.

Thoughts on ePicture Books

January Round-up

I read 11 (!) books in January, 7 non-fiction and 4 fiction. 7 were on my Kindle, and 4 were in print, including 2 from my “Read It or Lose It” list!

Radio Shangri-La: What I Discovered on my Accidental Journey to the Happiest Kingdom on Earth by Lisa Napoli. I have been interested in Bhutan, since I read about it in Eric Weiner’s The Geography of Bliss, so I was interested to see what Napoli had to say about her time there. She went to help Bhutan’s fledgling radio station, and her view of Bhutan was very interesting, but I think I especially enjoyed her musings on being middle-aged and single. I feel like there isn’t a lot out there about that particular life experience, even though it is pretty common. If you are interested in Bhutan, or in honest depictions of single life, pick this up, but otherwise, it’s skippable.

The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell by Mark Kurlansky. I am slowly working my way through everything Kurlansky has written (my favorite so far is The Basque History of the World, but they are all interesting). I like the way he looks at history through a particular lens (in this case, the history of New York City as seen through the lens of oysters). Really interesting.

Yes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson. Samuelsson was born in Ethiopia, adopted by a Swedish family, and became a chef as a young man, eventually landing in New York City, so you can imagine that he has a pretty interesting life story to tell – and he tells it well. Definitely worth picking up.

How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting (from Argentina to Tanzania and everywhere in between) by Mei-Ling Hopgood. Hopgood looks at what a bunch of other cultures can teach us about parenting in this book – from Argentina (where Hopgood, an American, lives) where the kids stay up LATE (no thanks!) to China where the kids potty train early (requires a healthy tolerance for pee and poop on the floor) to a pygmy tribe where fathers handle almost half of all child care (although Hopgood still refers to the parenting done by fathers as “babysitting”, which is a huge pet peeve of mine. It’s not “babysitting” if they are your kid!). It’s neat to see how other cultures handle different things, and it helps me to feel like there is no one *right* way to do things. Instead you are free to figure out what works best for you.

Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir by Eddie Huang. I requested this book from the LibraryThing’s Early Reviewer program, because I like a good food memoir, but this was so much more than that. Huang writes about growing up in the South as the child of Chinese immigrants (not that easy, as you may imagine). He was a kind of wild kid, and the book definitely has a Bildungsroman quality, which I loved. I really appreciated how direct Huang was in his discussion of race, especially about racism again Asian Americans, which I feel like you virtually never hear discussed. Our life experiences are very different – I’m sure I missed a lot of the Hip Hop references and I only know who a few of the basketball players that Huang discussed are, but his desire to learn and to figure things out definitely resonated with me. I really liked the book. (This was one of my Read It or Lose It books, so yay!)

The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. This is a book that has gotten a lot of well-deserved press. It’s well written, very well researched, interesting to read, and holy crap is it depressing. The Dust Bowl? It sucked. And people lived through it. Through a decade or so of dust that killed everything in sight, including often people. There is a strong environmental message to the book, without it being judgmental of the farmers who (unintentionally) destroyed the land. Worth reading – but have some fluff ready for when you need a break.

Notorious Nineteen by Janet Evanovich. Ah, Janet Evanovich, always providing me brain candy when I need it most (and after The Worst Hard Time, I needed). A solid addition to the Stephanie Plum series.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. Jenny Lawson is a blogger known as The Bloggess. I don’t actually read her blog, but I find that I usually prefer books by bloggers that I don’t read (otherwise it seems like you reading stories you’ve already heard before). Lawson is quite funny, and this was an enjoyable read.

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum. This is a fiction book that examines World War II and German Guilt through the eyes of a women who was a child in Weimar during the war. It was a good book, but I read a lot about World War II and Nazi Germany and I wouldn’t say it was exceptional.

Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie. Having finished all the Miss Marple books, I thought I’d start working my way through Hercule Poirot. I have to say – I don’t like Hercule Poirot as much. Not sure if I will continue my way through the series.

Defiance: Resistance Book 2 by Carla Jablonski. This was my second “Read It or Lose It” book that I read this month, and I liked it. This is another WWII book, this time a graphic novel about the Resistance (told from a child’s perspective) in Vichy France. It’s part of a trilogy, and I will definitely pick up the third book at some point to see how the story ends.

January Round-up

Read It or Lose It!

IMG_3078

Jami would tell you that I love a challenge. I like to set a goal and make it a game to complete it. So this year, my goal is to get through some of the many books that have been floating around my house for me to read “some day”. To that end I’ve picked 20 books that I’ve been meaning to read, put them all on my nightstand (above), and if I don’t read them by the end of the year, I will give them away. These are the books I will FINALLY read in 2013:

The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich
The Book That Changed My Life edited by Roxanne J. Coady and Joy Johannessen
Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Food by Gary Paul Nabhan
Conquering Gotham: Building Penn Station and Its Tunnels by Jill Jonnes
Daughter of Heaven by Leslie Li
Defiance by Carla Jablonski
Fresh Off the Boat by Eddie Huang
Kissing the Gunner’s Daughter by Ruth Rendell
The Known World by Edward P. Jones
Lewis & Clark by Nick Bertozzi
Lies Across America by James W. Loewen
The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriguez
The Memory of All That: George Gershwin, Kay Swift, and My Family’s Legacy of Infidelities by Katharine Weber
Origins by Amin Maalouf
Radio On by Sarah Vowell
Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull
Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History by Sidney Wilfred Mintz
To Believe in Women: What Lesbians Have Done for America by Lillian Faderman
Trash by Dorothy Allison
What You Call Winter by Nalini Jones

Read It or Lose It!