Monday, December 31, 2012

My Year of Reading: By the Numbers

Mathematically-speaking, this was a very good reading year for me.  Even with all that was going on with me in 2012--publishing a novel, going on a publicity tour, remodeling a kitchen, watching both seasons of Downton Abbey--I still managed to read more books than I did in each of the last four years.  According to the scrupulous stats I keep on a Microsoft Word document, I read 56 books between Jan. 1 and today--compared to 55 in 2011, 54 in 2010 and a paltry 46 in 2009.

Sticking with the math, I read a total of 14,524 pages....for an average of 259 pages per book.  My page count was down from previous years (14,977 in 2011 and 15,064 in 2010), but the quality of writing I set before my eyes wasn't.  As I look back over the last 365 days, I can think of only one book I wanted to fling across the room to end my misery--Back to Blood by Tom Wolfe--but since I read the majority of that novel on airplanes traveling from bookstore to bookstore, I refrained.  So much of what I read this year went immediately to that other Word document I keep--the one called "Best Books of 2012."  I'm going to have a hard time winnowing down the roster for my Best of 2012 list (coming later this week).  I can give you a sneek peak right now, though: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk, The Casual Vacancy and Canada are on it.  Stay tuned for the full line-up.

The year was bookended by two mysteries: Agatha Christie's Peril at End House was the first book I completed back in January; Anne Perry's A Christmas Visitor is the last (finished just a few minutes ago).  In between, the shelf consists primarily of contemporary fiction, but I also managed to sprinkle in a few memoirs (Beautiful Unbroken: One Nurse's Life by Mary Jane Nealon, Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan, and Dust to Dust by Benjamin Busch were the stand-outs), some excellent poetry (So, How Was the War? by Hugh Martin is highly recommended for fans of war poetry by the likes of Brian Turner), revisited some of my favorite classics (A Tale of Two Cities and A Good Man Is Hard to Find, in particular) and acquainted myself with a new author who'd long been on my reading bucket list (Jack Kerouac via Big Sur).  All in all, except for the regrettable Blood of Tom Wolfe, I had a very good year between the covers.

And what about you?  How was your Reading Year, numbers-wise?

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