My reading year so far

>> Wednesday, July 03, 2013

With the first half of the year gone, I've had a look at my trusty spreadsheet. I'm so over-the-top in what I keep track of that I could do all sorts of nitty-gritty analysis, but don't worry, I'll keep it simple.

- I'm reading loads. Over 100 books read in the first half of the year! That's partly because I went back to Uruguay for a whole month in March (new nephew) and read almost 30 books while I was there, but I've also been reading more each month. This year I'm taking my long holiday over Christmas, as usual, so they'll be a big bump at the end of the year as well. It might well be that I'll read more books this year than ever before *knock on wood*.

- Audiobooks are my friends... The main reason I'm reading more each month is because of audiobooks. I listened to my first one late last year, and never looked back. I love them. It's not that I'm taking time away from reading, it's mostly in addition to my reading time. My daily work-out now flies by. A couple of times I've even stayed on the treadmill (just 10 more minutes longer!) when in the middle of a particularly good bit. I listen while I do housework, while I walk home from the train station, and while puttering round the house. It adds up.

- ... but not all types of audiobooks. Much as I love audiobooks, I haven't really got that much into romance ones. I've listened to a handful and they've been ok, but I tend to listen more to general fiction, mystery, fantasy, etc. I confess that partly, it's that I'm still a bit icked out by someone reading love scenes out loud to me. All the ones I've listened to so far have been warm, rather than hot (JAK, SEP, etc.). Partly it's that audio is a great way to finally read those books I perceive as 'harder work' than romance. Partly (mainly, to be honest), it's that audiobooks are expensive. I'm on the 1-credit-a-month plan on audible, but listen to about 5 a month. I buy stuff on sale, but the shortfall is mainly made up by borrowing stuff from my library. They have a pretty ok selection, but there aren't that many romances.

- Still reading a lot of romance, though. Even though most of those audiobooks are outside of the romance genre, about 2/3 of my reading still is in.

- Only not historical romance. I used to read a lot of historical romance, but I'm not really finding much new stuff. I read only 9 this year (plus a couple of rereads), which is just sad, considering it used to be my bread and butter. Not only that, there were some good ones (including one by a new favourite author, Cecilia Grant), but also several DNFs amongst authors I hadn't tried before.

- Distaste for print. So far this year, I've read only 3 print books, and only because the ebooks weren't available. It's got to the point where I find print books annoying and actively avoid them. A few times I've had to decide between borrowing the print version from the library and buying the (moderately priced) ebook, and I decided to spend money, just to be able to read it in e. Ebooks are easier to carry round, but I prefer e even when at home. I blame Sybil the cat. The minute I sit on my reading sofa, she's on my lap, and I can hold a kindle with one hand and pet her with the other. With most print books, I'd have to hold them with two hands and Sybil would be ignored.

- I'm a man-hater. Over 90% of the books I read were by women. Sure, that's partly because I read a lot of romance, but even if I just look at my non-romance reads, only a quarter were by men. Also, other than Bill Bryson, all of them were authors I hadn't read before. Indeed, if I think about it, Bryson and Jasper Fforde are the only male authors I can think of whom I'd consider "authors I read" (as in, I keep track of their new releases and pick up new books when they come out, etc.), whereas there are literally tens of female authors in that list. Should I be worried about this?

- Finding some excellent books. It's been a good year so far. Mostly Bs and As. A few Cs, and only 1 D. I've had a couple of DNFs every month, which before I became a bit more ruthless, would have turned into Cs and Ds. But still, it's been great. I've even had 5 straight As. Last year I had only 2 the whole year, and they were both Hilary Mantel. So far this year, 3 out of the 5 have been romance novels. They were: A Gentleman Undone, by Cecilia Grant, Guardian Demon, by Meljean Brook and After Hours, by Cara McKenna. And I promise I didn't list them just to brag that I got an early copy of Guardian Demon.

- Discovering new loves. I've tried 45 new authors so far this year. A full 50% of the books that weren't rereads were by new-to-me authors, which I think is pretty good! I DNF'd a quarter of those books, which I guess is fair enough, but the ones I did finish didn't do much worse than books by authors I already knew I liked. Best new discoveries: Cara McKenna, Kristin Cashore, Maria Semple and Michael Frayn.


Li 4 July 2013 at 21:17  

Excellent recap!

I totally agree on the print v ebooks thing - it takes me a very long time to get around to reading a print library book, I just automatically pick up my ereader. I have *just* discovered that I can access my library's Overdrive account on my Kindle Fire though, and they have so many ebooks (and including publishers such as Samhain) - this could be very bad.

Oh, and yay for Kristin Cashore!

Rosario 5 July 2013 at 06:53  

Thanks! Oh, can you? Last time I checked I couldn't do it on my regular e-ink kindle (I haven't managed to convince myself yet that I need a tablet, lol!). I can access the overdrive audiobooks with my old ipod (I've moved away from i-products for my regular mp3 player), but that's it. Hopefully that'll change.

And yeah, yay for Kristin Cashore, indeed! I've been hoarding the only one I've got left, Bitterblue.

CD,  6 July 2013 at 18:07  

Hmmmmnnn - I've always been wondering how I get finally get myself into workouts and audios sounds like a great idea. Where do you get them from?

Also, your comment about Sybil made me really really miss having a cat...

Rosario 7 July 2013 at 08:29  

CD: It's really worked for me, it's definitely worth a try! I've got an audible subscription that's 1 credit a month and I use that for the newer releases. The rest I get from the library. They've got quite a few titles on the download library, which is really easy, but also lots of CDs, which I rip and put on my mp3 player.

Guess with so much travelling a cat wouldn't be practical, right? :(

CD,  8 July 2013 at 23:00  

Thanks for info - I'll have a look. I find that I've got so many books that I really want to read but never seem to find the time. Maybe this would help...

Christine,  24 July 2013 at 21:00  

I'm always amazed when I read your blog at how much your taste in literature is similar to my own. While I am not an audiobook convert, I read almost exclusively ebooks now. They are just so much more convenient and easy for me to read. I am also guilty of being sexist in my choice of authors, with a huge proportion of the books I read written by women. Most of the male authors I do read are of non-fiction works.

Rosario 27 July 2013 at 08:51  

Christine: It took me a while to even try an audiobook, but I've definitely become a convert, and even a bit of an evangelist for them, I'm afraid. As for ebooks, I've loved them from the beginning (they were a godsend when I lived in Uruguay), but it took me a while to prefer them to print. My first two ebook readers were an Ebookwise and a Sony Reader, and though they were good, they weren't great. With those, I would still buy the print book if I really loved the ebook, or give myself the treat of getting the print book if it was a book I was particularly anticipating. That all changed when I got my kindle. Say what you want about amazon, but the kindle is one wonderful product. I much, much prefer reading on it than reading a print book.

A big proportion of the male authors I read are non fiction, as well. I don't know if I should make an effort to change this, or just keep going as I am.

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