Give a Hoot, Read a Book

I’ve always been a prolific reader, it’s something I inherited from my mom. So a few years ago, I decided to start keeping track of what I was reading. I made – surprise – a spreadsheet to track the book title, author, number of pages, and where it was a new read or a re-read.

So what did I find?

First of all, that I was pretty prolific. In 2013 I read 42 new books and 42 re-reads, for a grand total of 84 books. The re-reads included books that I just enjoyed the journey with such as Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings, Douglas Adams’ Hitchiker series, Heinlein’s Moon is a Harsh Mistress, and the Harry Potter series. Other re-reads include books I hadn’t read in a while such as Terry Brooks Shannara series and Stephen Donaldson’s Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

Yeah, I’m a sucker for science fiction and fantasy.

Balancing the re-reads were some new books like Scalzi’s Red Shirts (an homage to Star Trek, loved it), Goldman’s Princess Bride (saw the movie many times but never read the book), and Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (a classic.) Towards the end of the year, it helped that I ran across an NPR survey of the 100 best scifi/fantasy books of which I think I’d already read about 30 or so.

So in 2014 I resolved to read more new stuff and to reach 100 books. So I added to my re-read list old stuff like Animal Farm and 1984, and Asimov’s Foundation and Robots series.

That year I inherited some of my mom’s old scifi collection and tracked through that too, including one of her favorites the Andre Norton Time Traveler series (which I’d never read before.) I also found at the library the Robert Jordan Wheel of Time series – that was 10,000 pages that took almost 4 months. Oh, and I ended up with 101 books of which 70% were new.

So last year I hit more stuff I’d always wanted to get around to reading, like the rest of Jules Verne and Harry Turtledove’s WWII alien series. I also did the Ben Bova Grand Tour series, which ended up being 18-odd books that sort of related to each other. Interspersed were the latest from Terry Pratchett’s DiscWorld series (very enjoyable, if you like British wit) and John Scalzi, among others.

I ended with my best year yet at 105 books with 72% new.

As this year winds down, I see that I finally got around to Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern (25 books) and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes series (the latter inspired by Diane’s gift of his works, which was in turn inspired by our watching the fabulous BBC series with Freeman and Cumberbatch. I also enjoyed Pratchett/Baxter’s Long Earth series, as well as the latest of various authors I’ve read over the years.

With a few days left, the tally stands at 100 books and only 61% new. (My October was quite busy, which threw off my groove.)

I realize that I haven’t read Dune in a while (I think I tracked through the series in 2012) but I’m not sure I can take that again. I may have to revisit that NPR list, since I think I’ve only hit maybe 60 or so of their 100.

Two NPR entries I tried, and just couldn’t finish. Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale just took too long for anything interesting to happen. I gave it like 80 pages and got bored. Clockwork Orange, on the other hand, was loaded with unfamiliar slang/jargon that just pissed me off after a dozen pages. I know it’s a classic, but I just couldn’t. Kind of like Moby Dick, another book I couldn’t finish. Sheer stubbornness took me through about half of it, but it was a long wordy boring infomercial on whaling in the olde timey days and I just couldn’t deal.

Oh well.

Not much humor in this, so hence the image above.

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