In case you hadn’t noticed, we’re past the halfway mark in this, er, interesting year — some would say a tumultuous year. I’ve found that, when successive local and world events each seem to exceed the previous in horror or bizarreness, reading has always been found some sort of consolation, balancing the sense of powerlessness that I sometimes feel at those times.
And then, as an exercise in looking back at my reading habits over the last six months, I compiled some basic stats which, with massive diffidence, I now share with you.
In the table below 1st indicates a first read, rr means a reread and y means … ‘yes’. I show whether a book is new or secondhand (2nd), whether the author is female or male and whether the book counts as fiction (with possible genre) or nonfiction. I’ve already shared which titles belong to my Mount TBR challenge, so you don’t need to be told that again, do you? (Though you may argue that you don’t need to be told any of this, and that’s fair enough.)
|Alison Croggan||The Bone Queen||y||n||f||fantasy|
|A S Byatt||Angels and Insects||y||2||f||literary|
|Donna Leon||The Jewels of Paradise||y||2||f||crime fiction|
|J K Rowling||Fantastic Beasts and where to find them||y||n||f||fantasy|
|Fleur Dafydd||The White Trail||y||2||f||magic realism|
|Joan Aiken||The Stolen Lake||y||n||f||fantasy|
|Erich Kastner||Emil and the Detectives||y||n||m||classic|
|Gregory Maguire||After Alice||y||n||m||magic realism|
|Gerald Morgan||Castles in Wales||y||2||m||history|
|Rainbow Rowell||Kindred Spirits||y||n||f||YA|
|Timothy Husband||The Cloisters||y||n||m||history|
|Terry Pratchett||Reaper Man||y||n||m||comic fantasy|
|Glenda Leeming||Who’s Who in Austen & the Brontës||y||2||f||who’s who|
|Joan Aiken||A Bundle of Nerves||y||n||f||YA|
|Marie Brennan||A Natural History of Dragons||y||n||f||YA|
|Nicola Bayley & William Mayne||The Patchwork Cat||y||n||f||m||picture bk|
|Henry James||The Spoils of Poynton||y||2||m||classic|
|Kate Atkinson||Case Histories||y||2||f||crime fiction|
|J A Hazeley and J P Morris||How it Works: the husband||y||n||m||humour|
|Michael Crichton||The Andromeda Strain||y||2||m||SF thriller|
|Neil Gaiman||The Ocean at the End of the Lane||y||n||m||fantasy|
|Jean Rhys||Wide Sargasso Sea||y||2||f||classic|
So, any conclusions? Well, first off that’s 24 books in 26 weeks, which isn’t bad going for me. Only two were re-reads, which was a surprise to me as I’d thought I’d planned to do more than that. A little over half (13) I’d bought new, which was also a surprise as I haunt an awful lot of secondhand bookshops and charity shops! Fourteen titles were authored or co-authored by women as against eleven of the other gender (I haven’t however analysed any writer’s sexual orientation or enquired whether they are trans or intersex, though not through any bias, I emphasise).
Nonfiction titles so far show a leaning towards history and literature, while fiction genres include fantasy (5), magic realism (2), crime fiction (2), modern classics (4), young adult (3) and one each of humour, literary, techno-thriller and picture books, though I’m prepared to concede that boundaries between genres tend to be very amorphous.
And you, dear reader, are you succeeding with your planned book consumption, exceeding your expectations or ceding the battle over completing your reading list because of lack of time and opportunity, or even due to disinclination or just plain laziness?