2015 in books

 

So here in California, it is still the last day of the year. For the past couple of years, I’ve been doing my own version of a year-end reading round up and it’s geeky and full of pie charts, but it is a fun way to look at how I’ve been reading. Also, happy new year to you! May 2016 be full of wonderful reads!

Here’s my previous posts in 2014 and 2013.

Total books read: 286 (according to Goodreads – but that’s because of a lot of comics issues)

2014’s total: 217
2013’s total: 223
2012’s total: 227
2011’s total: 171 

Gender

By both, I mean that both men and women worked on the book, and usually these are comics, where I included both the writers and illustrators.

 

genre

This was really a comics and graphic novels year for me, with 49% of the books read being comics and graphic novels. To be fair, this percentage is derived from my Google Drive spreadsheet, in which I may have combined various issues of comics together under one entry (for convenience), although I read them as separate issues. So this percentage may actually be higher! I did also attempt to be more specific in my defining of genres. Last year, I filed a lot of books under ‘fiction’ but this time, I’ve attempted to add ‘horror’ and ‘historical fiction’.

cenury

 

More specifically, I read 40 books published in 2015.

 

ebooks

And the number of e-books I read just keeps growing and growing. It is all down to convenience. I do love print books – and I still buy print books – but I love being able to access ebooks from my devices. Also, this was the year I tried out Scribd and read lots of comics and graphic novels on it.

library

Erm ok, so I really have a problem of not reading my own books. Good thing I don’t often buy books then – thankfully library sales (and Book Outlet sales) only happen several times a year. I am a big fan of the library, borrowing mostly e-books from Overdrive (that I download to the Kindle or read on the Overdrive app). And this is not counting the hundreds of books I borrow for my two kids each year (this year was around 300!)

newtome

This is one statistic that really surprised me. I never expected to read more new-to-me authors than already-read authors. I think this may be because of the number of new comic series that I started this year.

translated

Languages translated from: Chinese, French, German, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Swedish

 

The first book I finished in 2015 was Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See (ok so I started that in 2014) and the last book I finished in 2015 was Kent Haruf’s Our Souls at Night. 

I’m looking forward to 2016!

 

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Pie Charts!

 

The year-end survey post wasn’t enough stats for me! So here are far more than you ever need. And in pie charts! Because, FUN. And Geeky.

And in case you are dying for more pie charts and stats, here’s my post from last year!

 

Total books read: 217

2013’s total: 223
2012’s total: 227
2011’s total: 171 

gender

A slight decrease of female writers from last year (58%). Must pay more attention to that next year.

 

genre

 

This year I added the awkward genre of ‘graphic memoir’, but put ‘graphic novel’ and ‘graphic memoir’ together and that is a big chunk of my year! I oddly didn’t label any books as ‘classics’ in my handy dandy spreadsheet (shame on me), although I did read 14 books that are older than me. More specifically, the oldest book I read was published in 1915 (Willa Cather’s The Song of the Lark).

 

yearpublished

 

And I seem to read more recently published books than I thought I did. More specifically, 44 books published in 2014!

 

 

ebooks

 

Oddly, more printed books than e-books this year. Probably because I got to the library more often.

 


library

 

And more library books – at 88% compared to last year’s 82%.

NewToMe

 

 

I didn’t analyze this statistic last year, so I have no idea how this compares. But it’s still fun to learn that I’ve come upon plenty of new-to-me writers this year! In case you’re interested, here are my favourite new-to-me authors.

Sadly, this year I read far less translated books. Just 12 compared to last year’s 20! These books were translated from:

French, Japanese, Hebrew, Korean, Lebanese

 

I hope to amend this by reading more books in translation for the Books in Translation Reading Challenge.

See my Top 10 reads of the year here!

I had a great reading year in 2014. Here’s to plenty more exciting reads in 2015!

So far, my plans are to join the following reading challenges: Books in Translation, Back to the Classics, and Reading England (see my challenge page here), as well as the shorter events like Once Upon a Time, RIP, Diversiverse.

How about you? 

Happy reading and best wishes for a wonderful 2015!

 

 

It’s Monday and time for the End of Year Book Survey

itsmondayIt’s Monday! What are you reading?” is a weekly event hosted by Sheila at Bookjourney to share with others what we’ve read the past week and planning to read next.

The holiday season always throws me off schedule. It’s like, what? It’s the weekend? Sure doesn’t feel like it since the Husband has been on leave since the weekend before – he had a LOT of time-off accumulated, the result of having worked late nights and weekends for far too long. And so Monday has rolled right along again!

I hope you have been celebrating the holidays with plenty of food and good company. Oh and presents! I had some lovely gifts, from books to Lego! The kids had the best of times ripping wrapping paper. And on Christmas Eve, a massive gorgeous feast! And the next few days, we gorged on more and more lovely edibles.

The Husband and I also celebrated our sixth anniversary yesterday with a (very rare) dinner out at Madera at Palo Alto. Hooray for visiting grandparents!

There are just a few days left to 2015! Say it with me, Aaaarrgggghhh!

But really, a new year brings new books. So that’s always fun!

Here’s the End of Year Book Survey from The Perpetual Page Turner! Please click over to her blog for the full questionnaire. I’ve picked just some of the many questions to answer.

Meanwhile, a very Happy Monday and Happy Reading!

Reading Stats

Number Of Books You Read: 217. And I’m on the way to finishing at least one or two more.

Number of Re-Reads: o

Genre You Read The Most From: Fiction

 

Best in Books

Best Book You Read In 2014?

I seriously cannot answer this with one book.

So instead, I am copping out with my list that I posted earlier in the month

Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

warhorse

War Horse – Michael Morpurgo

The perspective of the horse limited the narrative far too much.

inreallife
In Real Life – Cory Doctorow, Jen Wang
I was at first, yay, a book about girl gamers! Then ugh, what’s with the trying to save the Chinese gamer bit? Who are they kidding?

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read in 2014?

supernaturalenhancements
Supernatural Enhancements – Edgar Cantero
Best series you started in 2014? 

Tough one! I started so many! Like The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Morning Glories, Sunny, The Raven Cycle. 

 

Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?
peopletrees

sunny
I posted a list here. It might be Hanya Yanagihara for fiction and Taiyo Matsumoto for graphic novels.

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I tend to read across many genres, but I really don’t read much romance. So the best would have to be Sarah Maclean’s The rules of scoundrels series. I’m cheating a bit by naming a series, but to be honest I can’t quite tell the books apart now…

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?

ghostbrigades
The Ghost Brigades – John Scalzi
Very exciting.

Book You Read In 2014 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?

lockekey6

The Locke and Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez series. I read the last book in 2014, quite a while after putting down book five and had forgotten a few important bits.

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2014?
I posted a list of my favourite book covers here

Most memorable character of 2014?

dreamthieves

Ronan Lynch of The Raven Cycle. Probably because I just finished The Dream Thieves.

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?

songlark
The song of the lark – Willa Cather
I couldn’t really come up with an answer for this one so I just picked the oldest book I read. This was published in 1915!

 

Shortest & Longest Book You Read?

ladyastronaut
The Lady Astronaut of Mars – Mary Robinette Kowal
A novella at 31 pages

drood
Drood – Dan Simmons
This one I didn’t need to check. It’s a massive 775 pages. Then again the runner-up was Donna Tartt’s Goldfinch at 771 pages. Simmons also has the distinction of having the third-longest book I read, The Abominable, at 663 pages.

Book That Shocked You The Most

The whole damn Morning Glories series. I keep reading these books expecting to find answers but nope, just questionsquestionsquestions!

 

Best Book You Read In 2014 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure

I owe my reading of Ruby by Cynthia Bond to Andi and Bitter in the Mouth by Monique Truong to my real-life friends in Singapore!

Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?

shadowedsun

The Shadowed Sun – N.K. Jemisin

I love N.K. Jemisin. She is awesome.

Book That Was The Most FUN To Read?

souschefFun. And hungry.

 

 

Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2014?

strangers6

Sob sob.
.

 

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#AMonthofFaves – Top 10 #Books That Blew My Mind in 2014

amonthoffaves

A Month of Favorites is hosted by GirlxoxoTraveling with T, and Andi at Estella’s Revenge

HOW DOES ONE PICK TEN BOOKS?!?!?!

Can’t we talk about something more pleasant? – Roz Chast (my thoughts)

The Hand That First Held Mine – Maggie O’Farrell (my thoughts)

The Shadowed Sun (Dreamblood, #2) – NK Jemisin (my thoughts)

Monkey Beach – Eden Robinson (my thoughts)

Ruby – Cynthia Bond (my thoughts)

Bitter in the Mouth – Monique Truong (my thoughts)

The People in the Trees – Hanya Yanagihara (my thoughts)

 

 

Morning Glories – Nick Spencer, Joe Eisma

Is it fair to include a comic series? Well, fair or not, this won’t be the only one on my list! But man this series…. I don’t know where to begin. Which is probably why I never attempted to write an actual post about it. Let’s begin with where I first heard of the series from – Debi (thanks Debi!) who described it as “plain FUN. In a sinister, creepy, WTF sort of way.” And definitely it is all about WTF. It’s set in a prep school with all kinds of weird things going on. There are more questions than answers and as I soon learnt, that’s how the rest of the series goes. The more you look for answers, the more questions pop up. Until you just don’t bother looking for answers but hop onboard and try to keep your head on while the ride is rocketing you sky-high and then plummeting you down into the deepest of abysses and your head is in your stomach and your stomach in your head and you don’t know where is up anymore.

Sunny – Taiyo Matsumoto (my thoughts)

Locke and Key – Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez

To be fair, I only read volumes 5 and 6 this year.

It seems that my preference for graphic novels tends to be of the WTF range. I forced encouraged the Husband to read the first book a few years ago, and when he was done, he refused to read further, saying it was far too morbid for him. He might have said that with a shudder. And yes, these books aren’t for the faint of heart, although I do think that Morning Glories goes a bit further with more shocking images. But what you should know is that there is some awesome writing here from Joe Hill and some gorgeous illustrations from Gabriel Rodriguez. There is violence and gore, sometimes a bit too much for even Morbid Me, but there is also such fun and imagination and creativity. Minus the gore and violence it’s actually kind of whimsical, a story about keys that perform some amazing feats – one door that takes you anywhere, another turns back time and so on. Thinking about it makes me reread all six again – a project for 2015!

 

So these are my top 10 (or 22!) reads of 2014.  I can’t wait to see what 2015 brings!

What were your favourites of 2014? 

 

The 2012 round-up post

Ok so January has been upon us for quite a few days now. But I have an excuse! A week-long roadtrip to Southern California with the family! A great time was had by all – more on that in another post. Meanwhile I’ve been catching up on everyone’s year-end round up posts, and figure that it’s time for my own.

It was a year of discovering new-to-me authors, borrowing heaps of library books and reading a fair amount of translated books.

Total books read: 227 (not counting 7 books I started but did not finish) 2011’s total: 171 

Woah… was not expecting that!

Fiction/literature (by which I mean general literature that doesn’t fit into the more specific genres below): 64 (28.2%) 2011: oddly, it wasn’t on my 2011 round-up post, although of course I had read fiction!
Non-Fiction: 42 (18.5%) 2011: 25 (14.62%)
Comics/Graphic Novels: 36 (15.9%) 2011: 25 (14.62%)
Science fiction/fantasy: 32 (14.1%) 2011: 17 (9.94%)
Mystery/crime: 17 (7.5%) 2011: 9 (5.26%)
Classics: 15 (6.6%) 2011: didn’t count
Young adult/children’s: 11 (4.8%) 2011: 18 (10.53%)
Short story collections: 7 (3.1%) 2011: didn’t count
Poetry: 2 (0.9%) 2011: 1 (0.58%)


Genre

By Women: 114 (50.2%)  2011: 82 (47.95%)
By Men: 102 (44.9%) 2011: 79 (46.2%)
By Men and Women: 11 (4.8%) 2011: 9 (5.26%)

gender

Longest bookThe Forsyte Saga at 912 pages
2011: Vanity Fair at 912 pages

Shortest book: Angel and Faith Volume 1: live Through This at 32 pages
2011: The Night Bookmobile at 40 pages (page numbers taken from Goodreads)

New-to-me authors: 135 (59.5%) 2011: didn’t count

E-books: 65 (28.6%)  2011: 62 (36.26%) 
Library books: 190 (83.7%) 2011: 127 (74.23%) (includes Overdrive e-books)

So fewer e-books (odd considering that 2012 is when I acquired my first e-reader!) and more library books!

Translated books: 39 (17.2%) 2011: didn’t count
Languages translated from: Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Swedish

Countries I visited: The Arctic, Brazil, Burma, Cambodia, Canada, China, Colombia, Congo, France, Germany, Greece, Greenland, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Laos, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Nepal, Nigeria, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Scandinavia, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa, Surinam, The Netherlands, UK, US, Vietnam, and made-up realms and the future.

I’ve been thinking about what my favourite reads of the year were. And boy, is that a difficult task! Because there were so many amazing reads. Of course there were also plenty of DidNotFinish-es and books that were more meh than anything else. So I went down my list of books read in 2012 and just plucked out all those books that stood out. Books that made me cry, made me laugh, made me just so happy to be a reader.

Best fantasy reads
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (The Inheritance Trilogy #1) – N.K. Jermisin
China Mountain Zhang – Maureen McHugh

Best graphic novel series
Locke and Key – Joe Hill, Gabriel Rodriguez
The Color series – Kim Dong Hwa

Best translated reads
Out – Natsuo Kirino
To the end of the land – David Grossman
Girl from the Coast (Gadis Pantai) – Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Best short story collection
Married Love: and other stories – Tessa Hadley

For making me think of home
The garden of evening mists – Tan Twan Eng

Starting out right: series to continue reading
The Giver series – Lois Lowry
The Dreamblood series – N.K. Jemisin
The Dr Siri Paiboun series – Colin Cotterill

Because everyone should read something by Sara Wheeler
Too close to the sun: The Audacious life and Times of Denys Finch Hatton – Sara Wheeler

A foodie read: for its intriguing insight into the restaurant business (hidden cameras!)
The Fourth Star: Dispatches from inside Daniel Boulud’s Celebrated Restaurant  – Leslie Brenner

Here’s to many more fantastic reads in 2013! Happy new year!

2011 in books

What a year! What a remarkable, memorable, life-changing year 2011 has been! It has brought me wee reader – and with him, parenthood and its many joys and trials. And visits from his grandparents. As well as his first ever flight (and what a long one it was) to the other side of the world to see his extended family. Somehow in spite of this tremendous change, I managed to do some reading. And I surprised myself with doing quite a bit more reading than I expected. So here are the numbers. And here’s wishing everyone a very happy and bookish 2012! Thank you for having shared my journey through 2011.

Total books read: 171 (not counting 9 books I started but did not finish)
Science fiction/fantasy: 17 (9.94%)
Comics/Graphic Novels: 25 (14.62%)
Mystery/crime: 9 (5.26%)
Poetry: 1 (0.58%)
Young adult: 18 (10.53%)
Non-Fiction: 25 (14.62%)

By Women: 82 (47.95%0
By Men: 79 (46.2%)
By Men and Women: 9 (5.26%)

Longest book: Vanity Fair at 912 pages
Shortest book: The Night Bookmobile at 40 pages (page numbers taken from Goodreads)

E-books: 62 (36.26%) (didn’t expect that!)
Library books: 127 (74.23%) (includes Overdrive e-books)

Favourite authors discovered this year: Elizabeth Knox, Laurie R. King, Richard Flanagan, Guy Gavriel Kay
Favourite books of the year: Tigana, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, Dreamhunter/Dreamquake, Wanting, Unbroken

Most memorable characters: Aud Torvingen, Mary Russell

Countries I visited: Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Canada, the Caribbean, China, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, the future!, Germany, Guyana, Haiti, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Norway, outer space!, Romania, Sarajevo,
Sierra Leone, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, South Korea, the United Kingdom, the United States, Vietnam, as well as plenty of invented realms