2013: My Year in Reading

2013 is the second year I have diligently recorded all my reading on Goodreads (although I must admit to getting terribly slack on the reviewing side of things) and the nerd in me just loves to look back over the year and consider the highs and lows.

Gay Abandon

My goals was to read 64 books this year, which I know sounds like a random number, but there was method to my madness (1 book a week plus an extra book each month) and boom! I hit the mark dead on. I started 64 books of which I abandoned only 4. This was significantly less than I gave up on last year and evidence that Goodreads and the many good blogs I read are guiding me towards books I’m more likely to enjoy.

Fiction Vs Non-Fiction

As always, I read mostly fiction, with only 6 non-fiction titles making it onto the list. Weirdly, I read all the non-fiction titles in the last 2 months in a crazy end of year binge so you can read about them in my monthly round-ups from October and November. My favourite non-fiction book was Michael Chabon’s Maps and Legends.

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Genre

Of the fiction I read, it was mostly what might loosely be classified as ‘contemporary literary fiction’. I know many people hate labels of this kind and I understand why, but until someone comes up with a more useful way to describe them, this is as good as it gets. Of the titles I read that might be classified as ‘genre’ fiction, 12 were speculative – this is nothing new; I’ve always been a fan of books that pose ‘what if’ questions, especially of the post-apocalyptic/dystopian variety.

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More surprisingly, 7 were historical, which is not a genre I am naturally drawn to, but there were some great reads among these.

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Specimen Days was speculative and historical as well as being a crime fiction of sorts. The Snow Child was also a bit of a genre-bender, incorporating elements of fairy tale into a historical drama. I love books that defy pigeon-holing!

Battle of the Sexes

Since I heard about the imbalance in the number of reviews of fiction titles by women, I have been more conscious about the gender of the authors I’m reading. I’m pleased to say I read more books by female authors than male this year, helped in part by my participation in the Australian Women Writers Reading and Reviewing Challenge.

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The US vs the rest of the world

The challenge also helped me to read more Australian titles. In addition, I signed up for a translation challenge in an effort to read more widely, but most of the translated books I read didn’t particularly engage me, and I lost interest after 7 titles so in the end my reading matter still comprised mostly writers from the USA.

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So Hot Right Now

Despite my goal to read some contemporary classics, two thirds of my reading was published in the last two years, and only a handful of he books I read were more than a decade old. I guess I just can’t resist all the hype surrounding new books.

Your Turn: Do you track your reading somehow, even just the old-fashioned way? Have you noticed any patterns in your reading this year? Do you dare to abandon? Can’t get enough of translated works from Uzbekistan? Have become addicted to books about dwarves? Tell me your secrets.

Want more?

Tune in tomorrow for my top 10 books of 2013

Friday Faves: Kristen Levitzke on Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squad

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2013  My Year in Reading   ANNABEL SMITH

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