Friday, January 2, 2015

A Year of Reading (and Watching): 2014

Last year, 2013, was very obviously the year I discovered Young Adult literature.  I'd like to say 2014 had some equivalent broadening of my reading sphere but it really didn't.  The only "trend" per se was that I read quite a number of Sherlock Holmes fan fiction which really doesn't count as its own genre or category.  I still read a fair number of Young Adult/Middle Grade titles (20) which was about the same rate as 2013 (22%). One improvement is that I really liked a higher proportion of them in 2014 so I hope that means I am getting better at knowing what to look for.   My favorite YA titles from this year were:

Sabriel by Garth Nix
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
The Monster Blood Tattoo Series by D.M. Cornish
The Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce
The Lovegrove Legacy Series by Alyxandra Harvey
The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

I read 92 books total this year which exceeded my Goodreads goal of 90 books.  This has encouraged me to think I can finally get to 100 books in 2015.  I read mostly fiction (82) but also read some good non-fiction.   One book I wasn't sure where to put - Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Childhood memoir or mostly fictional tale?  I shelved it under both.  Of the true non-fiction some of my favorites were:

Wild Comfort by Kathleen Dean Moore
The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins
Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Other random tidbits.  The oldest book I read this year was A Woman in White by Wilkie Collins published in 1860 followed closely by Middlemarch by George Eliot (1872) which was also the longest book I read (904 pages).  Goodreads creates this cool infographic plotting publication year vs. year read and since I started on Goodreads in 2008 you can definitely see the dots getting more and more tightly grouped into recently published works  - especially since I started blogging. I like being more aware of recent releases but I do want to continue to read older books as well.  I read fifty books by women authors (54%) and 42 written by men (46%).  Five books were written by authors not of European Caucasian descent (5%). 

There were a couple of reading firsts this year.  I joined NetGalley and requested a few ARCs, one of which ended up on my best of the year list (City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett). I tried not to get too carried away and only ended up requesting a handful of books which is likely all I can handle. 2014 was also the year I learned to like Urban Fantasy thanks to Ilona Andrew's Kate Daniels series and a couple of other great UF books like Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch. 

I also want to check in on the two reading challenges I tackled this year, neither of which did I successfully complete.  Good thing I've added in a third challenge for 2015! *sarcasm*  The Eclectic Reader Challenge had 12 categories in which I was to read one book. I ended up not being able to finish books in the Travel Non-fiction and the Military Fiction categories.  For the 100 books project, I am trying to tackle some books I feel I should read to be all well-rounded and stuff in a five year period.  That means a minimum of 20 books read each year.  In the first year (2013), I only read 16 and I just missed 20 this year as well by only reading 19. I've sworn in a very proper ceremony involving a couple of bemused dogs, that I will read 25 in 2015.  We'll see.  I don't know why I can't reach this goal because as in 2013 half of my top ten favorite books of the year came off the 100 Books Project list:  

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Wild Comfort by Kathleen Dean Moore
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Finally, (at least books wise) Goodreads will also create a list of the authors by whom you've read the most books which I found pretty interesting.  I cut off the long tail of authors of whose works I've read two books but everything from 3 or above is listed.

author books read
1 18067 Georgette Heyer 16
1 12444 Bill Willingham 16
3 123715 Agatha Christie 11
4 3020684 Alyxandra Harvey 10
4 16094 Lois McMaster Bujold 10
6 27847 Lisa Kleypas 9
6 10746 Jim Butcher 9
8 8347 Garth Nix 8
9 125558 Carola Dunn 7
10 8361 Dorothy Dunnett 6
10 1657638 M.C. Beaton 6
10 63898 Julia Quinn 6
13 5023 Jacqueline Winspear 5
14 88506 Joe Hill 4
14 201535 Kate Ross 4
14 7956 Mary Roach 4
14 2526 Libba Bray 4
14 1074866 Alan Bradley 4
14 21748 Ilona Andrews 4
14 30279 Dave Duncan 4
14 4046 Ellis Peters 4
14 276660 Joe Abercrombie 4
14 146628 Steve Hockensmith 4
24 9550 Laurell K. Hamilton 3
24 11160 Stephen Booth 3
24 123087 D.M. Cornish 3
24 140848 Nancy Atherton 3
24 108905 Kathryne Kennedy 3
24 153394 Suzanne Collins 3
24 4428 Kresley Cole 3
24 2868421 Stefanie Pintoff 3
24 43784 Lian Hearn 3
24 34683 Pamela Aidan 3
24 4414255 Kevin Hearne 3
24 4684322 Marissa Meyer 3
24 397 Robert B. Parker 3
24 7 Bill Bryson 3  


The last thing to comment on for 2014, were my efforts to post about two of my favorite TV shows - The X-Files and Stargate SG-1.  The series of posts helped me get a lot of pent up thoughts and feels about these shows off my chest but I'm not sure how they worked for anybody else, lol.  They ended up being very long and somewhat rambling posts.  I'd like to continue to do this with some of my other favorite shows but need to play with the format to see if I can't make them a tad more readable and engaging. Since the blog's inception, I've actually posted quite a bit about TV and Movies so I created a page to organize all of the TV links.

For the blog, 2014 is officially over.  Hurrah and on to 2015.  If you have any blogging advice or words of wisdom, lay 'em on me.  I'd love to hear it and most certainly need it. 

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