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!


Sunday Salon: Best of 2011, Thoughts on 2012

Happy New Year, everyone!

2011 was quite the year. I graduated from law school, passed the NY bar, couldn’t find a job, moved back to Florida, started preparing to take the Florida bar in February, started this blog…the list goes on.

I’m hoping that 2012 brings some positive changes, especially in the career department. I’m not really setting specific goals or making resolutions besides resolving to “Live Thoughtfully.” That’s the motto for 2012.

I first realized that I needed to apply this to my reading. 2011 was the first year I kept track of the books I read. I like doing that, because so often I can’t remember titles of what I’ve read or when I read something. I am awed by people who have been keeping reading journals for 10-plus years. I wish I’d start this a long time  ago. However, I got a little obsessed with numbers. I saw I was on track to read 100 books, and so in December I started an intense bout of reading to insure I met that arbitrary number. I ended up surpassing 100 by a fair margin – I finished the year at 112. Unfortunately, I was reading a little too much. Other things in my life got pushed aside, and I felt like I was just rushing through books.

Part of the reason I read such a large number of books in December was because I joined a reading challenge on Goodreads. It runs from December 1 through February 29, and to complete it, you have to read over 70 books. I never really planned on finishing the challenge, but I just thought it would be fun. I ended up getting caught up in climbing to the top of the leaderboard – those pesky stats again. I plan on continuing the challenge through February, but I won’t be signing up for the next round. It’s just too much pressure for me, and I’m not taking the time to appreciate what I’m reading.

This led me to the decision to “Live Thoughtfully.” There are areas in my life I’d like to improve, and I think by applying this mantra I can be guided by what matters without setting specific goals that I end up scrambling to reach. I can ficus on the journey, not the destination. Appreciate the moment. Be happy with the choices I make everyday.

Okay, enough mushy stuff 🙂

With all that reading, what rose to the top? Here are my five star reads of 2011 (in the order I read them).
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1) Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Alison Bechdel (graphic novel)
2) Visitation, Jenny Erpenbeck (translated from German)
3) The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood
4) The Last Brother, Nathacha Appanah (translated from French)
5) A Happy Man, Hansjörg Schertenleib (translated from German)
6) The Phantom Tollbooth, Norman Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer
7) The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot
8) A Mercy, Toni Morrison (audiobook)
9) Billiards at Half-Past NineHeinrich Böll

I’d also strongly recommend anything I rated four stars. The complete list of what I read is here.

And some statistics (I love statistics)

Total: 112 books
90 fiction                            80%
22 nonfiction                     20%
68 by female authors         61%
21 works in translation     19%