My Year in Review

2014 was quite a year for me, in many respects. My reading patterns reflect this in many ways. The first part of the year was incredibly stressful. When I was reading, I was drawn to comfort type books that didn’t require much work on my part. I finally read the Harry Potter books – well, 2-7, as I did read the first one a couple years ago. Then there was Tamora Pierce, who I pretty much always love. The middle of the year found many middling type books, and it wasn’t until September and my discovery of Alison Lurie’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Foreign Affairs” that I found myself excited about reading. Of course, that was just in time for me to give my notice at work and start a new business. So there really wasn’t much reading from October through the end of the year. When goodreads told me I’d ended the year only 8 short of my 100 book goal, I was shocked.

Another shocking aspect of my reading in 2014: I read more books on audio and in ebook form than I did physical books. I’m still not a huge audiobook fan in general. I think some books really work in that format, while others might not.

One that worked great as an audiobook was “Frog Music” by Emma Donoghue. I’m certainly no expert, but I thought the accents were great – very fitting for the characters. And the songs were so lovely! I wouldn’t have gotten nearly as much out of it as I would have had I read it in print. 

 

year in books
On to the stats!

92 books total

Audio:                           17     18%
Ebook:                          41     45%
Fiction:                         78     85%
Non-fiction:                 14    15%
Female authors:         70     76%
Male authors:              22    24%
Authors of color:         22    24%
Books in translation:    1       1%

Obviously some of these categories are overlapping. The one stat I knew was going to be bad was my books in translation. I usually read a lot more than one a year, but not this year. One of the things about translated books is that they take more effort to seek out, and my efforts this year went places besides my reading.

Despite the upheaval in my personal life I still managed to keep reading and read a lot of good books. Here’s to 2015!

Month in Review: September

So, it’s been awhile since I last posted a Month in Review. I like these check ins, to see how much I’m reading, and to keep an eye on some categories I care about. This year I’ve been terrible about reading books in translation. September was no exception. Out of the 13 books I read, all were originally written in English.

September actually got me blogging again, so that’s certainly something. It was Aarti’s Diversiverse event that did it. And I’m glad. Not only did I manage to post about three books, I also visited the blogs of other people enthusiastic about reading widely. The book blogging community is really great, and this event was the perfect way to plunge back in.

What’s next for October? I’m committing to reading something translated. I’ve got Hella Haasse’s The Black Lake, originally written in Dutch. I’ve been meaning to get to that one for awhile, so this might be the month. I’ve also been wanting to read a Murakami for way too long.

Do you have any favorite translated books to recommend? I love seeing what other people read.

diversiverse
September in Review

Total books: 13
10 Fiction:                    77%
3 Non-fiction:              23%
10 Women Authors:   77%
0 Translated:                0%

Oh, and I know Gone Girl is now a movie. No, I won’t be seeing it. I absolutely hated the book, and can’t believe the movie would be any better.

September and October in Review

Since I never posted a September review, and I only read 3 books in October, I figure I can just talk about both months together. Total, I read twelve books, so an average of six a month isn’t terrible me. October was Just. So. Busy. I didn’t even have tv or interwebs for much of the month, but still didn’t manage to read much. One of the books, Humans of New York, wasn’t even a real reading type book, but you do get great stuff like this:

“The more times I fall in love, the less sure I am about love.”

20131106-212355.jpg

I did read some books I’d been wanting to get to for quite awhile, like The Color Purple, Wuthering Heights, and The Land of Green Plums. I ended up really liking Wuthering Heights, which was *quite* unexpected.

So, 12 books total.
Translated 2 17%
Nonfiction 3 25%
Female authors 7 58%

August in Review

Augustus

Augustus

Happy Labor Day, fellow Americans! The summer season is wrapped up, although here in Florida the temperatures will continue to be ridiculously hot for awhile yet. This weekend I went swimming in the ocean at around four in the afternoon, and the water felt bath-like. Almost too warm to enjoy (almost).

It’s too hot right now to be reading outside, but I might try again in a couple of hours. Unfortunately, when it gets a little cooler, the mosquitoes are also more active. The bug spray doesn’t hold them completely at bay.

I read ten books in August, a solid number. And a nice number for figuring out my percentages. No calculator needed!

Total books: 10
6 Fiction:                    60%
4 Non-fiction:            40%
6 Women Authors:    60%
2 Translated:              20%

Sunday Salon: July in Review

July with letters colored like American FlagFourteen books in July! That must be a record for me. Although I have to admit that five of them were young adult, so I guess that makes it a bit less of an accomplishment when you can read three books in two days. Still! 14!

I also listened to three audiobooks. They are growing on me, slowly. Not enough for my to buy them, but enough that I will check one out from the library when there’s something that looks good available. I’m on track for my 2013 translation challenge – barely. I’m glad I committed to one translated book a month, since that’s all I’ve been reading this year. Without the challenge I’m sure I wouldn’t even be reading that many.

Other than reading, I spent July house hunting. The hubby and I are looking to buy a place. It’s exciting but stressful. We actually had a contract on a house, but it fell through. I am hoping that doesn’t happen again. *crosses fingers*

I can’t believe that summer is almost over! Both my (bio) little sister and Big Brothers Big Sisters little sister are looking forward to school starting back up. I don’t remember feeling that way, but I’m glad they are excited. My bio sister is starting college (finally!) and my little is going into 7th grade. I’ll be cheering them on from my year-round job 🙂

And a quick plug for BBBS. I know I’ve written about the organization before, but I am so happy to be a volunteer. They need more mentors, both men and women. Girls in my area are now waiting a year to be matched, and boys are waiting two to two and a half years. I know may seem daunting to be a mentor to a young person, but it’s really a lot of fun. You commit to seeing your little for 4 hours a month for a year. Of course, you’re welcome to do more, and they hope that you’ll stay on longer than a year, but that’s it. Four hours. Go to the library, out to breakfast, eat ice cream, make pizza, pull weeds in the garden, play video games, hit a tennis ball – don’t you want someone to do those things with? Of course you do. Sign up!

Ok, on to the book details:

Total books: 14
11 Fiction:                  79%
3 Non-fiction:           21%
12 Women Authors:   86%
1 Translated:              7%

You’re the One that I Want/June in Review

Olivia Newton John as Sandy in Grease

Oh yeah, très sexy

I’m participating in the Summer Lovin’ Readathon this week, and today we’re to share some favorite summer reads.

In my review of August Heat, which I read in June, I pointed out that it would make a good summer read. It certainly mentions it being hot enough!

Typically “summer reads” seem to be lighter, less serious books. Like you can’t read something heavy when you’re on the beach. But plenty of people enjoy ice cream when it’s hot outside, which is pretty heavy for my tastes. Why not heavier books? I know for some people summer is a good time to read that 800 page chunkster, because they actually have time to be absorbed into it.

Looking back at the books I read in June, they don’t seem to be different than those I read in any other month.

I think N.K. Jemisin’s The Killing Moon would be a good summer book. It’s the first in her fantasy Dreamblood series, and if you like it the second one is already published. My library has them both, and I plan on picking up #2 later this week when I stop in. The book draws on elements of ancient Egyptian culture, but is in a world completely its own.

What else did I read in June? Well, TEN others, for a total of twelve books! I’m finally “on track” with my 100 book goal for the year. Now I have to focus on not falling behind, and this readathon is sure to help give me an edge. Happy Reading!

Total books: 12
10 Fiction:                  83%
2 Non-fiction:           17%
9 Women Authors:   75%
1 Translated:              8%

May in Review

reading nook

Relaxing

Another solid reading month, thanks this time to a lovely vacation.

The hubby and I went to Marrakech, Morocco, where we enjoyed a nice mix of sight seeing and lazing around the riad (basically a bed and breakfast). It was pretty hot during the afternoons, so I took to lounging on my “reading nook” under the canvas awning during those times. It was pretty comfy.

I read two books of poetry (which I’m counting as nonfiction becauseIsaidso). I know National Poetry Month was April, but poetry is worth reading every month. Plus, I did buy both books in April 🙂

I’m trying to stop buying books that then linger on my shelves, unread, for far too long. It’s a process.

Total books: 10
7 Fiction:                  70%
3 Non-fiction:          30%
8 Women Authors:  80%
2 Translated:            20%

I know this isn’t a photo blog, but Morocco was so gorgeous, I thought I’d share a few shots.

Here’s a detail of my reading nook. I loved the little carved hearts. It seemed like everywhere we looked the buildings were decorated somehow. I mean, who have a plain archway when you can have an elaborately curved one? Why have a plain floor when you can have a tile mosaic? Color! Fancy! Pretty!

reading nook detail

Reading nook detail

Here’s the prayer chamber area from the Ben Youssef Madrasa, an Islamic school founded in the 14th century. The carvings everywhere, of inscriptions in Arabic calligraphy and geometric patterns were just gorgeous. I guess if you got distracted by all the beauty when you were praying that you could just say you were reading the walls for insight!

madrasa

Madrasa

At night we would curl up with a blanket and look at the sunset. This picture is from our last night in the city. Can you see why I loved it? Seriously, anyone who has the opportunity to visit should certainly try to do so. Of course, now I’m already thinking of where I’d like to go next…

nook sunset

Sunset in Marrakech

April in Review

Close up of selection from "The Wasteland" April is the cruelest month...Apparently May missed the memo, because it has been POURING rain all day yesterday and today. Doesn’t it need to let up to allow those promised flowers to arrive?

Regardless, I can’t say I’m sad to see April go. It seems though I’ve become more sensitive to world events and other non-personal stressors lately. I’m sure we don’t need a recap of last month’s awfulness to illustrate the point.

There were some good things, though. It was my birthday (yay!). As my present, the hubby finally promised to take me on the vacation I’ve been pestering him about for what feels like forever (Morocco, here we come!). I participated in Dewey’s 24 hour readathon. I read TEN books, the most of any month this year. Thanks, readathon! Here’s how they break down:

Total Books: 10
7 Fiction:                  70%
3 Non-fiction:          30%
7 Women Authors:  70%
1 Translated:            10%

I didn’t even have to use a calculator for that math – quick, someone make sure it’s right 😀

March in Review

I finally felt like my life started to get back to normal in March. My reading reflects that, as I was able to complete eight books. Granted, two of those were graphic novels, but I’ll take it. Besides, I’ve been wanting to read more graphic novels. I’ll be reading at least one more in April, as I got a Barnes & Noble gift card for my birthday and promptly went out and bought MetaMaus. (yay!) It’s sitting on my shelf now, tempting me to pick it up. First, though, I want to devote some time to The New Jim Crow, which I bought a year ago but only just now started reading.

My stats:
8 books total
5 Fiction                63%
3 Nonfiction         38%
3 Female author   38%
1 Translated          13%

February in Review

Wooden letters spelling February on top of a snowdriftWell, this will be quick. In February I read… drum roll please…TWO BOOKS!

I reviewed one already, The Devil’s Pool. I’ve yet to write up a few thoughts on Richard Wright’s Black Boy, but that will happen soon.

So why the nearly non-existent reading? Well, February was pretty much a horrid month. I had an unexpected death in the family that meant I was out of town doing family things for two weekends, and then there was the missing car key incident which I will not even go into, plus work and regular life stuff. It left me just exhausted. I was having trouble connecting with a book.

Here’s hoping that March is mo’better. I’ve been reading Orlando and loving it. I’m also reading 101 Great American Poems, which is a collection of accessible  famous poetry. Not a bad start to the month.

My stats:
2 books total
1 Fiction                50%
1 Nonfiction         50%
1 Female author 50%
1 Translated        50%