Some reading stats for 2015

One day in to 2016 and I’ve finished a book (albeit a slim one: the play version of And Then There Were None, having watched the very good but quite scary BBC adaptation over Christmas) and am currently reading one I’m sure will be on my best-of-2016 list. It’s The Lark by E. Nesbit and I’ll write about it properly when I’m finished, along with millions of other books that have been sat waiting to be reviewed.


2015 has been a pretty big year for Stuck-in-a-Book – a change of URL and look and ‘Tea or Books?’ as a new podcast are the biggest things for me, as well as the ongoing Shiny New Books and Vulpes Libris.

Number of books read
106, which is better than the 98 I read in 2014 (if ‘better’ is the right word; I know it’s not a competition but I do like to hit that 100 mark if possible.)

Male/female authors
50 by men, 55 by women, and 1 by both. A surprisingly high number for men – possibly the highest ever, excepting (I daresay) around 2002 when I read everything by A.A. Milne I could get my hands on. I have no explanation for why men cropped up so much this year.

66 fiction, 40 non-fiction (and I decided that Cornelia Otis Skinner’s essays and Shirley Jackson’s family memoirs had enough exaggeration to count as fiction – so the number could be changed a little bit.) I actually thought non-fiction might be even higher this year – but the ratio of books tbr is definitely heavily on the side of fiction, so who knows what will happen at this rate…

Books in translation
6, which I thought was terrible, until I realised that the past two years I’ve read 5 and 3 respectively. There was me thinking it was often in double figures. They came mostly from French, with a Flemish book and a Japanese book also thrown in. Nothing Scandinavian at all – no Tove Jansson! – although I am halfway through a Norwegian novel that isn’t very good.

Graphic books
4, believe it or not! Two fiction and two non-fiction. Quick question: am I the zeitgeist?

Most-read author
It looks like nobody stole my attention completely this year: I read 4 Agatha Christies, and then a few authors (Elizabeth von Arnim, Cornelia Otis Skinner, Oliver Sacks, and Phyllis Rose) tie for second place on 3.

Oldest book
A re-read of Agnes Grey for my book group.

Speaking of… only 5 re-reads this year (while it was 10 in 2014 and 2013). Which is good for the state of my tbr! They were all favourite books too: Who Was Changed and Who Was Dead by Barbara Comyns, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks, Life Among the Savages by Shirley Jackson, Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte, and Guard Your Daughters by Diane Tutton.

New-to-me authors
47 of the books I read this year were by authors I was reading for the first time – which encourages me that I’m not stuck in a reading rut!

Most disappointing book
I talked the other day about my disappointment re: A Wrinkle in Time, and fully believe those of you who told me I read it twenty years too late.

Best title
I think Milan Kundera’s The Festival of Insignificance probably.

Worst title
I thought The Sweet Dove Died by Barbara Pym was a really good book and, yes, the title is explained in the novel – but what a silly title to give it! And not a little pretentious.

Animals in book titles
Which leads neatly into this category! Every year I do this one, and realise how many animals have sneaked onto my bookshelves without me noticing! Not quite so many this year… The Guest CatThe Hog‘s Back MysteryThe Pilgrim HawkThe Sweet Dove Died, and (?) Letters to the Sphinx, with honourable mention to My Family and Other Animals.

Strange things that happened in books I read in 2015
My favourite category! This year, ducks swam through drawing-room windows, a bird of prey came between a married couple, various planets were visited, time travellers repeated 1945 over and over again, Lilliputian people waged war and peace, a doppelgänger turned up out of the blue and fell in love, trains took people to a dystopic future, all the undergraduates in Oxford killed themselves, a tiger exacted revenge, God appeared in the clouds to give some sage advice, and two pairs of people loved each other so much that they reincarnated. Oh, and a man mistook his wife for a hat.


24 thoughts on “Some reading stats for 2015

  • January 1, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    Sounds like a varied year of reading, Simon – though I would still suggest you should read some Russians! :))))

    • January 2, 2016 at 11:46 am

      With you on that one (and dare we remind him gain about Colette?)!

    • January 2, 2016 at 11:47 am

      I agree with you! Dare we also remind him again about Colette?

    • January 2, 2016 at 9:21 pm

      Ha! I know, I know… even with all your enthusiasm, I still find them daunting. But I do want to read some Tchekov (as my copy calls him) in 2016.

  • January 1, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    I like the idea of grouping together some of the strange events encountered in your reading year.

    • January 2, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      It’s always a fun category to compile!

  • January 1, 2016 at 7:00 pm

    Oh, in what book were the 1945 repeats? I must have missed your review and I think I’d love to read that!

    • January 2, 2016 at 9:31 pm

      I haven’t actually blogged about it yet, Debbie – or, rather, I wrote half a review a month ago and have yet to finish writing it. The book is The Immortals by S.E. Lister and I hope finally to post my review soon!

  • January 1, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    I loved reading this! As for L’Engle – I want to like her, I’ve tried many times to read her books, and I just don’t like them. In A Wrinkle in Time what I loved were the house and family and dog descriptions in the real life. I would have liked it if no one ever left that place! Your ‘strange’ things are just great. My men writers were skewed this year because I couldn’t get enough of Arthur Upfield, and now I’ve just discovered ER Punshon so 2016 may go the same way.

    • January 2, 2016 at 9:37 pm

      I’m still holding on to her non-fiction being a delight (as I have been promised) – because there, at least, she cannot introduce other planets!

  • January 1, 2016 at 11:36 pm

    Some great stats Thomas I always aim for 100 books a year as well

    • January 2, 2016 at 9:37 pm

      Thanks Anon!

  • January 2, 2016 at 6:34 am

    I love these wonderful stats, all so entertaining! I also had a year in which many animals showed up in titles of novels, fully 8 of them.

    I just watched that Christie as well — very well done, but yes, scary too — it coloured my dreams.

    • January 2, 2016 at 9:37 pm

      Aw, thanks Melanie! Those animals always end up cropping up somewhere…

  • January 2, 2016 at 9:16 am

    What a great idea. I might steal your categories and post one of these of my own! If so, I’ll give you the link.

  • January 2, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Goodness why aim for any number of books read? This is one aspect of enthusiastic readers that I can never understand. I don’t beat you on fiction but I certainly do on non-fiction and I am sure that means nothing of any importance at all :-) I wonder if music lovers feel the same about the number of symphonies or operas or cello sonatas heard in one year (speaking for myself the answer is no). Regarding graphic novels, have you been to Gosh! yet?

    Hope you have a rewarding 2016 in every respect!

    • January 2, 2016 at 6:43 pm

      i never list books read and am “scared” of bloggers who do.


    • January 2, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      Well, perhaps having failed my Grade 8 piano has given me a disliking for numbers that are just under 100 ;)

      But, in all seriousness, I want to make my way through more of my tbr pile – and so the more books I read, the more experiences I get to sample. I think if I loved music as much as I love books, I might well try to get to as many concerts as I could, and count ’em.

      Still no Gosh!, but a graphic novel shop opened in Oxford… and I still haven’t managed to get to that. I looked from the outside and it was rather intimidating.

  • January 2, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Simon, you can be so like me sometimes. I’ve just finished inputting my 2015 reading journal info into my Reading Spreadsheet (goes back only to 2010) and I have also broken 100 for the first time since keeping the records. 105. But my rereads are consistently around 33% of my reading, no matter how much I try to focus on new books and new authors. Still, rereads are good for my stress levels.

    Read long and prosper, and the best of everything for 2016.

    • January 2, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      A very happy new year to you, Susan! I find rereading a little stressful myself, in case it means I’m missing out on things I don’t yet know about on my shelves… but occasionally do take recourse to comfort re-reads for reliability!

  • January 4, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Your last section made me smile! I read more women than men last year, but that was heavily weighted by one woman, and the men outdid the women in the top 10. Happy reading for 2016!

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