End-of-year reading meme

It’s quite shameless, the extent to which I have taken to stealing from Stuck in a Book, but I suppose these things are meant to attract imitators. Soon there will be fewer lists on this blog.

But for the time being, here’s a rundown of what I read last year. It’s horribly skewed by my having had to read for academic purposes practically everything Roald Dahl wrote for children, but there we are.

How many books read in 2010?
101, which I’m sure is a personal best and one I expect never to surpass. About 50 is more my standard.

Fiction/Non-Fiction ratio?
79/22, I make it.

Male/Female authors?
79/20, which included a run of 41 consecutive books written by men in the middle of the year. 1 book written by a man and a woman in collaboration, 1 edited by a woman but containing multiple contributions from both sexes. I do read more books by men than by women, guilty, but this isn’t exactly representative of the normal balance because of all the Dahl. Let’s do this again next year and see what happens.

Favourite book read?
I’d be happier choosing a handful, but I thought a great deal of John Updike’s Rabbit, Run.

Least favourite?
I suppose Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, which is quite abysmally bad, but at least it didn’t take long to read. More frustrating was Carol Mavor’s Reading Boyishly, which I got through about 400 pages of before deciding I couldn’t take any more. Beautifully presented, but I just couldn’t get my head around it. My problem, I expect.

Oldest book read?
I thought this would be Jane Austen’s Sanditon, but a glance down the list reminds me I read As You Like It (c. 1599).

Newest book read?
I read The Fry Chronicles as soon as it came out.

Longest book title?
Excluding subtitles, it must be Tim Key’s marvellous and imaginative Instructions, Guidelines, Tutelage, Suggestions, Other Suggestions and Examples etc.

Shortest book title?
Boy. Though it has a subtitle, so Gigi is also a contender.

How many re-reads?
21, almost all Dahls.

Most books read by one author this year?
Roald Dahl (24) – could have sworn it was more. Followed by Henry de Montherlant and Terence Rattigan (3 each), and Muriel Spark, P.G. Wodehouse, Philip K. Dick, James M. Cain and Edward Gorey (2 each).

Any in translation?
3 from French, 1 each from Russian, Italian, Czech and German. And 1 read in French, though it was only a play. I’ll do some more reading in French this year, but it would be good to keep the German up too. I don’t think I’ll ever be ready for Mann in the original, so maybe I should just take the plunge now.

How many books were borrowed from the library?
47, which is more than I’d expected. Three of them I liked so much I bought my own copy afterwards.

Name a book you’ve read this year which was recommended by a blogger?
There are many, but eight at least were prescribed on account of my vow to read four each from the ‘top’ books lists of The Argumentative Old Git and Occasional Scribe published here in 2009. I ended up reading books like James Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner and William Golding’s The Inheritors as a result.

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2 Responses to “End-of-year reading meme”

  1. Fran Wilson Says:

    Remember, Gareth, that imitation is the purest form of flattery…..!

    Quite a tally! Puts my reading last year rather to shame, though it wouldn’t do me any harm to log what I read (if I can remember!). I intend to start The Hare With The Amber Eyes this week (Costa shortlist) which has been well-reviewed (though that is not necessarily a reason for choosing a book, in my view: usually I select reading matter because it interests me/takes my fancy….). Happy reading in 2011! 🙂

  2. Gareth Says:

    And to you! If I read anything particularly good in 2011 I’m sure it will turn up here in the fullness of time.

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