At the beginning of this month, I not so subtly hinted at a significant decade in review post. This is that post.
Beginning with Book a Week in 2012, which was the impetus for starting this blog in the first place, I have reviewed almost 143 books on this blog. I read a book each week in 2012, but only started this blog on March 24, meaning not every book appeared on this blog. (For the truly archival experience, here's my RateYourMusic book list.) How do I know I have "almost 143 books on this blog", then?
From 2013-2019, I reviewed 91 books. Reviewing one book per month (with bonus books where appropriate), rather than one per week, allowed me to replace the old diary entry format with proper, longer-form reviews that still remained more or less close readings.
Here's a OneDrive spreadsheet (public, read-only) containing:
- All my books reviewed on the blog from 2013-2019, in chronological order of review date;
- Whether the book is fiction or non-fiction;
- Whether the book was recommended to me; and
- Whether the book was an e-book or in print.*
A quick overview of the results:
- 38 non-fiction books, versus 53 fiction books
- 29 recommendations, versus 62 I found on my own
- 17 e-books, versus 74 print books
The typical book I reviewed from 2013-2019 was fiction (58.2%), found on my own (68.1%) and, most emphatically, a print book (81.3%).
To translate these to NFL standings: (all percentages approximated to the closest W/L record)
- Print Books 13 - 3
- Found on Own 11 - 5
- Fiction 9 - 7
- Non-Fiction 7 - 9
- Recommendations 5 - 11
- E-Books 3 - 13
Although recommendations look low here, I read 29 of them. If you recommend me a book, I'll probably get to it at some point! (Neil Gaiman's American Gods, recommended to me in 2004 and finally read earlier this month, is admittedly a low point there. On the plus side, the first book on that entire list, Mitch Albom's Time Keeper, I read in January after receiving it as a Christmas present. I hope you're looking down on this list proudly, Grandma Gordon.)
The longest fiction book I reviewed can only possibly be Patrick Rothfuss's epic fantasy The Name of the Wind. (No, really, it's so long Rothfuss had to write a blog entry explaining to fans why some publishers split it up.) The longest non-fiction is probably Morris Dickstein's Dancing in the Dark, a book so hulking I was incapable of reading it on public transit. For my sake, I'm glad these were both such great books. I own, but have not yet read, Rothfuss's follow-up, The Wise Man's Fear.
The shortest fiction book I reviewed is probably either Neil Gaiman's Coraline or Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. (Gaiman blogged about Coraline's shortness. Don't you love when Dickens is a contender for the shortest book?) Averaged out, are they A Christmas Coral? (Christmas in the tropics sounds nice.) Or Caroline? (A story about a girl who doesn't get her name confused by strangers.) The shortest non-fiction book I reviewed is Adam Kahane's Collaborating with the Enemy.
None of the above includes the many other great books I read, did not review, but mentioned elsewhere on this blog. These include such notable titles as Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything, C.S. Lewis's The Screwtape Letters, and Scott Smith's A Simple Plan. (Links to my mentions of them, not to the books themselves.)
Honourable mention in all these categories goes to Mervyn Peake's The Gormenghast Trilogy. I read it, and opined on it, all 953 pages.
Happy New Year 2020! The 2010s are almost behind us but we'll never forget them.
There isn't enough time,
There never was
Ease of Reading: Subterranean
Educational Content: Priceless
*Many of the e-books I read were classics that obviously predated the existence of e-books. The books listed here are the exact copies I read, not the original mode of publication. This stat is more to track my own reading habits than to suggest that I gravitate toward e-readers. I don't even own an e-reader, preferring to read e-books the old-fashioned way: as PDFs.