Apparently I wrote my 2015 stats on the first day of 2016, which suggests I was rather more organised then than I’ve managed so far in 2017 – but at least it’s still January, right? I particularly enjoy coming up with my favourite reads of the year (you can see my 2016 faves here), but it’s also fun to do a few more bits and pieces around the sorts of books I read. And I always enjoy reading other people’s too, so do pop a link in the comments if you’ve done it.
Number of books read
I read exactly 100 books in 2016 – and, yes, on December 30th that number was 98. That was so close to a hundred that I quickly finished off two books that were on my bedside table. (It’s also slightly fewer than I read last year – 106 – but makes working out percentages extremely easy.)
I read 40 books by men, 57 by women, and 3 that had male and female authors. That’s a much higher percentage by women than last year, but that year was something of an anomaly – this was pretty par for the course.
74 fiction, 26 non-fiction. That is a lot lower for non-fiction than I was expecting, since it felt like I read a lot more non-fiction than usual in 2016. I think I just had a few periods where I blitzed a lot of non-fiction in one go. I don’t know if I’m disappointed in this statistic or not, but I’m certainly surprised.
Books in translation
Conversely, I thought I’d done quite poorly for translation this year, but actually read 8 – which might be an all-time high? They were from French, German, Swedish, Flemish, Turkish, and Spanish. Mostly French, I think.
3 books seems to be the most I read by any single author – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and E. Nesbit both landed on that number (and it was also the first time I tried Adichie – ‘discovering’ her was one of the keynotes of 2016’s reading for me).
Only 3, which might be my lowest ever – and none at all in the first half of the year. I re-read The Summer Book by Tove Jansson and The Victorian Chaise-Longue for podcasts, and Raising Demons by Shirley Jackson because it’s fabs. I do like the idea of re-reading less, because I’m hoping to get further down the tbr pile.
This one was surprisingly high – 47 of the books I read this year were by authors I’d never read before. In a handful of cases it was because they were writing about authors I had read before, but mostly not. I do like it being about half-and-half returning to older authors and exploring new ones; I’ll keep to that in 2017 if I can.
Looking back at 2015’s stats, I apparently read 47 new-to-me authors that year too. Maybe that’s my number.
Oldest book read
I didn’t read anything at all from before 1900 during 2016 – is that the first time ever? More precisely, I didn’t read anything from before 1908: Arnold Bennett’s The Old Wive’s Tale takes this particular crown.
Newest book read
On the other hand, I read 8 books published in 2016 – mostly non-fiction. I think the one published latest in the year is probably Terms and Conditions by Ysenda Maxtone Grahame.
Most disappointing book
There were a handful of books I thought I’d love and ended up… not. None of these were bad books, per se, but I really wanted to be enamoured by The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, and Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury – but they were all misses, for the most part.
And then there was Third Girl, which turned out to be a pretty weak Agatha Christie – but we all know that there are a handful of poor books among her output. I can cope with that one better.
Most frustrating book
Why the actual flip did Anthony Doerr need to make All The Light We Cannot See so very long? And so mediocre? And so totally pointless? I get crosser about the further I am away from the reading experience.
Most surprising delight
I had no idea I’d love Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee as much as I did – and it’s been waiting on my shelves for SO long.
The book I’d been nagged about for ages
I finally read some Colette! Probably not the best one to pick, but I did like The Other One a lot, and now Peter can rest contented :)
I can’t praise the punning Terms and Conditions enough – a brilliant title for a study of girls’ boarding schools.
I really enjoyed The Secret Orchard of Roger Ackerley by Diana Petre, but that orchard didn’t mean anything at all. It was a bizarre metaphor that can only have caused confusion to the book-buying public. (And, while I’m criticising, Cider With Rosie may be brilliant, but the cider-with-Rosie bit is quite negligible.)
Book I still haven’t reviewed and should but will I?
I finished Fraulein Schmidt and Mr Anstruther by Elizabeth von Arnim back in May, and it’s excellent, but I never got around to writing about it. And if I don’t soon, I’m going to forget even more about it than I’ve already forgotten.
I read a book by Virginia Woolf (Roger Fry – a good biography, but confusing to read her in biographical mode) and a book featuring Virginia Woolf (Priya Parmar’s Vanessa and Her Sister; much better than I’d imagined).
Animals in book titles
Guys, I need you all to check your reading for animals. Somehow there are always some. This year: The Lark by E. Nesbit, Panther by Brecht Evens, Dolphin Street by G.B. Stern, and The Bird of Night by Susan Hill.
Strange things that happened in books I read in 2016
Always the category I enjoy the most! Twins destroyed an art gallery, a toyshop disappeared, a wife was hypnotised to think her husband was invisible, dead people paced the Grand Canyon, the royal family lived in council housing, the world nonchalantly prepared for the end times, a tree haunted a boy, a man healed with his hands, St Francis steps in to save a donkey, Agatha Christie oversaw an argument between her detectives, Jane and Mr Rochester fell in love – but not the ones you’re thinking of – while the ones you are thinking of fought a battle.