Monday, September 8, 2014

A Year of Books

My reading year runs from August 15 to August 15, has to do with when I bought my first book diary to keep track of the books I'd read.
 This year I read 144 books as opposed to 153 the year before.  Part of that maybe the length of some of the books I read,   I'm reading a Brandon Sanderson series and whenever I get a new book in a series I always reread the previous book in the series, so before reading Words of Radiance (1088 pages) I reread The Way of Kings (1009 pages) and this was true for the Diana Galbaldon series, I reread An Echo in the Bone (850 pages) before I read Written in My Own Heart's Blood (842 pages). The break down of genres is:

127 fiction
17   science fiction/fantasy
18   mysteries
17   non-fiction
12   rereads

I was surprised by how few science fiction/fantasy books I'd read that's generally one of my favorite genres.

I thought I'd break my favorites down by genre this year.

Favorite fiction books:

1.  Ella Minnow Pea  by Mark Dunn   A short, very funny book about language.

2.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower   by  Stephan Chbosky  A YA book that read so true, I was very impressed by it and have recommended it all over the place.

3.  Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress   by Dai Sijie    A semi-autobiographical (but still fiction) book about 2 young men exiled to the Chinese countryside during the Cultural Revolution.

4.  House of Mirth   by Edith Wharton  Love her books and this one is particularly good

5.  Museum of Innocence  by Orhan Pamuk   Where does love end and obsession begin?  Set in Istanbul, this story will haunt me for a long time.

6.  Doc   by Mary Doria Russell    A fictionalized account of Doc Holliday's life.

7.  Birds Without Wings    by Louis de Berniers  Another book set in Turkey, it takes place before the start of WWI and the aftermath.  Wonderful book.

8.  Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry  by Rachel Joyce  Harold receives a card from a woman he worked with years ago who is no dying.  He decides to leave home and walk to see her.

9.  Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore  by Robin Sloan  Books, a puzzle and Google


1.  A Year of Magical Thinking  by Joan Didion   The year after her husband died, it should have been depressing, but it wasn't.

2.  Reading Lolita in Teheran  by Azer Nafasi   She was a professor in Teheran at the time of the revolution and it was grim.

3.  The Guns of August  by Barbara Tuchman     The first month of WWI

4.  One Summer America 1927    by Bill Bryson   Charles Lindberg, Babe Ruth, Calvin Coolidge, Jack Dempsey ----what a summer

Science Fiction/Fantasy

1.  Blackout-All Clear  by Connie Willis  Two time travel books about researchers traveling back to England during the Second World War and getting stuck there, 2 really good books.

2.  Life After Life  by Kate Atkinson  She keeps getting reborn until she gets it right.  Have liked all of Ms Atkinson's books, but for me this was the best one yet.

If I had to name the best book I'd read all year I would say The Guns of August.  I knew very little about WWI and the depth of research in this book blew me away.  It should be required reading by anyone who thinks they know how to fight a war.


  1. You are truly a reader with purpose. I love that you keep track..I wish I had started that years ago. Also that you have such variety in your reading. You are truly an inspiration.

  2. O well done Janet. I can live without TV not though without a book, for there is something about the feel, the smell of a new book and the luxury of being able to sit and read in ones favourite chair.


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