Sunday, January 09, 2011

2010 Stats

Yes, I did happen to drop off Planet Earth for a while. I didn't know where I was, exactly, until I found out I was on Planet Walking Pneumonia. Say what you will about Planet Earth (and, believe me, I've been known to say quite a lot, especially about its human inhabitants), it's far better than Planet Walking Pneumonia. I'm glad to be back, and I am back just in time to give you my 2010 reading statistics. If I'd gotten back much later, I probably would just have said, "oh, screw it."

For the past two years, I've included my favorites for each category. This year, I'm including favorites and least favorites. Yet again, I have made an effort not to repeat any titles when it comes to naming them, so nothing will show up as a favorite or least favorite in, say, both "# of books read by female authors" and "# of children's/ya books read." Even if I actually happened to like something better than what's actually in a specific category, if it's already been mentioned in another category, or I plan to mention it in another category, I have chosen something else (it's called lying with statistics, so I can give you more titles). Also, I am one of those people who calls listening to audiobooks "reading," so audiobooks are included in my grand total "read" and show up as favorites and least favorites where appropriate. Finally, I only count published books. I don't count the manuscripts I read for work (although maybe I should).

Anyway, here you go:

# of books read: 102. Just four years ago, I was reading about half that many books a year. As contradictory as it may seem, I credit blogging with the increase in number. You-all just make me want to read so much. I can also credit telecommuting. I used to spend 90 minutes a day driving to and from work (sometimes longer when Bob was in seminary). I can now spend that 90 minutes reading.
FAVORITE: The King of Elfland's Daughter - Lord Dunsany
LEAST FAVORITE: The Secret Letters of Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy - Wendy Leigh

# of pages read: 24241. That's a cool number, huh?

# of female authors read: 52. Yea! This feminist finally read more female than male authors.
FAVORITE: The Likeness - Tana French
LEAST FAVORITE: A Royal Pain - Rhys Bowen

# of male authors read: 47. Still reading plenty of male authors, though, just to prove I am not a sexist, anti-male feminist.
FAVORITE: Farewell, My Lovely - Raymond Chandler
LEAST FAVORITE: The Shack - Wm. Paul Young

# of edited collections of pieces written by both male and female authors: 2
FAVORITE: The Haunted Looking Glass: Ghost Stories Chosen by Edward Gorey - Edward Gorey, ed.
LEAST FAVORITE: To Do Justice: A Guide for Progressive Christians - Rebecca Todd Peters and Elizabeth Hanson-Hasty. Not because it was all bad. Gary Dorrien, one of the men I most admire in the world and am proud to know, contributed a chapter. But because it was uneven and because, well, I only read two such edited collections. If this one isn't my favorite, then, logically, it's my least favorite.

# of American authors: 58. Yep, it appears I am still a nationalist when it comes to reading, which is quite disappointing.
FAVORITE: American Pastoral - Philip Roth
LEAST FAVORITE: Cleaving - Julie Powell

# of non-American authors: 40
FAVORITE: Slaves of Solitude - Patrick Hamilton
LEAST FAVORITE: The Giant O'Brien - Hilary Mantel

# of non-American authors translated into English: 6. I wish I could read and understand multiple languages, so I could read everything in its original language, but I am terribly dyslexic when it comes to foreign languages, and so, I have to read everything I read written by authors from non-English-speaking countries in translation.
FAVORITE: The Elegance of the Hedgehog - Muriel Barbery
LEAST FAVORITE: Death Rites - Alicia Giminez Bartlett

# of edited collections of pieces written by both American and non-American authors: 2
Exact same favorite and least favorite as the male and female category. The only other edited collection I read in 2010 was This is Not Chick Lit: Original Stories by America's Best Women Writers - Elizabeth Merrick, ed. Obviously, it doesn't fall under either the male/female or the American/non-American collection category. It was good, but I would argue with that word "Best" in the title. Some of them couldn't possibly be among our best writers.

# of volumes of poetry: 8. I can no longer claim I don't read poetry.
FAVORITE: Begin Again: Collected Poems - Grace Paley
LEAST FAVORITE: None. I liked them all, which means I can also no longer claim that I don't read poetry because I don't really like it.

# of volumes of short stories: 6
FAVORITE: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk - David Sedaris
LEAST FAVORITE: Again, none. Seems I also need to stop saying I don't like short stories.

# of plays: 2. Did I at some point say I was going to read more drama in 2010? Shame on me!
FAVORITE: Othello, the Moor of Venice - William Shakespeare
LEAST FAVORITE: The Effects of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds - Paul Zindel. Only by default, because there were only two. I loved, loved, loved it and wish I could see it performed (the folks who are now at The Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT could do a marvelous job with it, I'm sure), and I probably ought to see the movie. But, well, you know, it isn't Shakespeare...

# of graphic works: 8. (That's if you don't count all six of Nick Bantock's Griffin and Sabine books, which I don't. I don't really know how to classify them.) Okay, so maybe I read so many books this year, because so many of them were graphic or written by Nick Bantock.
FAVORITE: Believe it or not, it's a really tough call for a year in which I read 3 more of Neil Gaiman's Sandman collections (brilliant, brilliant, imaginative, creative stuff!), all three of the Persepolis books (I learned so much!), and The Complete Peanuts, 1950-1952, but for some reason Beowulf - Garth Hinds, just manages to squeak past the others. (Oh, who am I kidding? It's because Beowulf is one of my all-time favorite pieces of literature. Shhh! Don't tell me it's a poem and that I supposedly don't like poetry.)
LEAST FAVORITE: French Milk - Lucy Knisley
Not horrible; I like Knisley's drawing style. Just not great, especially when stacked up against all those others.

# of unfinished books: 4
FAVORITE: (Seems odd that there would be a favorite here, but there is.) Gulliver's Travels - Jonathan Swift. I will finish it. I'm just taking my time, and I've read it before, so I can do that.
LEAST FAVORITE: Bel Canto - Ann Patchett. I did try to understand why it's so beloved. And I read much, much more of it than I typically read when I give up on a book. In fact, I'm not really sure why I didn't finish it, because I certainly didn't hate it the way I, say, hated Cleaving, which I managed to finish, but still, it's here, unfinished and least favorite.

# of audiobooks: 5. Maybe this should really be 6 1/2 because I listened to about 1/2 of 3 others (The Haunted Bookshop, American Pastoral, and Jane Eyre) before deciding to finish them in print, but let's stick with 5, which was all I listened to from start to finish.
When You Are Engulfed in Flames - David Sedaris. The only thing better than reading David Sedaris is hearing him read his stuff.
LEAST FAVORITE: Away - Amy Bloom

# of rereads: 4
FAVORITE: My Family and Other Animals - Gerald Durrell
LEAST FAVORITE: The Murder of Roger Akroyd - Agatha Christie. Once again, only by default. Poor thing. Despite how much I enjoyed it, it just can't measure up to Jane Eyre, Othello, and My Family and Other Animals.

# of children/y.a. books: 5
FAVORITE: The Twelve and the Genii by Pauline Clarke. I won it from Ms. Musings, and it was superb (especially accompanied by English Mars Bars).

# of 21st-century books: 53. Hmmm...still reading more of those than any others, despite claiming I don't read much contemporary stuff. Chalk it up to graphic works and chick lit.
FAVORITE: Life of Pi - Yann Martel. A book about storytelling whose main character's name really does come from 3.14? How could I not love it?
LEAST FAVORITE: Wishin' and Hopin' - Wally Lamb. It's not that I disliked it so much. It's just that I read so much other stuff that was much better.

# of books written between 1950 and 1999: 33
FAVORITE: The Talented Mr. Ripley - Patricia Highsmith. Tells you how weird I am that something so creepy winds up as a favorite.
LEAST FAVORITE: A Window over the Sink - Peg Bracken. I sure chose a lot of not very good books for my 2010 TBR challenge. It wasn't that this one was really so bad, but it certainly doesn't hold a candle to Bracken's other books, and I was extremely disappointed.

# of books written between 1900 and 1949: 8. Supposedly this is my favorite literary era, and yet I only read 8?! How pathetic is that?
FAVORITE: The Haunted Bookshop - Christopher Morley. One long TBR list disguised as a wonderful, light, romantic mystery.
LEAST FAVORITE: okay, put a gun to my head...No, not even with a gun to my head can I name a least favorite. I guess this really is my favorite era. Either that, or I just choose to ignore the more difficult works written back then.

# of 19th-century books: 3
FAVORITE: Oh, how can it not be Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte?
LEAST FAVORITE: Pleading the Fifth again. I guess the 19th century is another one of my favorite eras, despite what seems to be evidence to the contrary.

# of 18th-century books: 0
Of course, by the logic I used for the last two categories, this would be my favorite era of all. It's not, but that doesn't mean I should have completely ignored it in 2010. Oh well...

# of 17th-century books: 1
Have I mentioned Othello already? I have? Rats! It really ought to be here.

# of 15th and 16th-century works: 0
Maybe I'll invite them and the 18th century to a party this year to let them know I don't hate them.

# of Pre-15th-century works: 2
FAVORITE: The Bhagavad Gita
LEAST FAVORITE: None. Beowulf already showed up as a favorite elsewhere.


Anonymous said...

Yay! I'm so pleased you like the Twelve and the Genii!

litlove said...

So very glad to hear that you are feeling better! And I love these end of year lists. Making a note here of all your favourites as there's bound to be gems for me amongst them. :)

Carrie#K said...

I think yours is my favorite breakdown of 2010 reads. I particularly love your Plays section! Nicely said.

(Tana French's latest is out.)

Anonymous said...

I love your list and I read The Haunted Bookshop recently. It was fun, but I did like Parnassus on Wheels better. Have you read that?

Susan said...

You know, I can't tell how many times I've picked up Bel Canto, and put it down again. It seems like a book I might like, and I know so many people who do, though they can't say why. I am more happy than I should be that you couldnt' finish it, since that confirms my inner suspicion that I probably won't like it! lol I like how you call yourself creepy because you liked The Talented Mr Ripley so much. And you place a collection by Edward Gorey among your favourites. I think I like you!!

I'm really happy you are over the pneumonia. If it's the same as the one going around up here in Ottawa, then it lingers on and on, too, much longer than it should.

I never thought of dividing books I read into centuries they were written! I think I would have a pretty sad list if I did that! All 20th century for the most part. Must remedy that. I really like that you like Beowulf so much too, since I read the original recently, saw the movie, and have the modern version by Seamus Heaney to read next.

Emily Barton said...

Ms. Musings, now I know a letter of mine to you must have gone missing, because I distinctly remember telling you how much I loved it, which, yes, I did! And I passed it on to our friend in California, who also loved it (and we know how hard he is to please).

Litlove, thanks. It's nice to be feeling human again. Put Morley's The Haunted Bookshop at the top of your list. I am sure you will love it.

Carrie, thanks (she says, blushing). Yes, I read Tana French's new one. The woman can do no wrong as far as I'm concerned.

Susan, thanks. Yes, it sounds like what's going around here is the same as what you've got up there. If Bel Canto isn't truly calling your name, then I'd say, don't bother, especially since I did what you've been doing: kept taking it off the shelf and putting it back. And there is nothing wrong with reading only in the 20th century (especially the early part of the century).

Bob said...

Hi Emily,

Love the way you slice and dice the data -- obviously all on an Excel spreadsheet, ready for a Power Point presentation. Happy to see American Pastoral high on your list, one of my favorites as you know, and happy to see Bel Canto panned, but don't tell my wife who absolutely loves the book (for the "writing" she tells me). Best news of all, you are feeling better. Tell that Pneumonia to walk!

Emily Barton said...

Bob, yes, I told the pneumonia to walk, and it seems to be doing as it was told. I still have a slight cough, but I feel fine, otherwise, now. American Pastoral was more than amazing, and I have you to credit for pushing me to read it. Mum's the word when it comes to Bel Canto and your wife, although she is not alone among many friends of mine who loved it.

Rebecca H. said...

I read more than ever before, and I credit that to blogging as well. I'm not sure how it happens because I'm spending more time online than ever before, but it does ... I agree with most of your assessments, although I did love Bel Canto. But yes to the Chandler and the Barbery and Hamilton. Great books!