2009: A Year in Review

December 30, 2009

Well, I was hoping to finish North and South before posting this, but it’s time to admit defeat on that one. I will certainly spend some time tomorrow reading it, but I highly doubt that I will be able to complete it by the evening. I spent some time counting up the books I read and categorizing them using categories that I used last year, even though I didn’t have a blog then! I believe that I must have stolen the idea from Danielle over at A Work in Progress, because that was one of the first blogs I started reading. Since I can’t link to the previous year’s numbers, I will just document them here, in the same place. The first column is last year’s data; the second column is this year’s data. Next year, I plan to record all my books in librarything, because that seems easier than tallying everything by hand.


Books completed: 33 / 57

Fiction: 25 / 49
Non-fiction: 8 / 8

Of the fiction:
Classics: 14 / 15
Mysteries: 0 / 14
Young adult novels: 0 / 1
Short story collections: 0 / 3
Individual stories: 0 / lots
Graphic novels: 0 / 0
Plays: 1 / 0
Modern literature ? / 10
Other ? / 6
In my system, a book must be only one genre. Therefore, Wilkie Collins counts as a “classic”, not as a “mystery,” etc.

Books written by women: 16 / 35
Books written by men: 17 / 22
Books written by multiple authors: 0 / 0

Books by American authors: 13 / 23
Books by British/Irish authors: 4 / 28
Books by Canadian/Australian authors: 2 / 2
Books in translation: 14 / 4

Books that were re-reads: ? / 1

There are a few themes here that deserve comment:

1. I read many more books! I think this was because I read much shorter books. It’s not recorded on the blog, but most of the books I read last year were huge, long, translated books. This year I read many more “average length” books.

2. This was the year of the mystery. I read 14 mystery stories, and that doesn’t even count Wilkie Collins. Also, two of the non-fiction books I read, The Monster of Florence and The Mysterious Mr Whicher, were very mysterious books as well. I found three modern mystery series that I love: Jacqueline Winspear’s amazing Maisie Dobbs books, Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily books, and Rhys Bowen’s Her Royal Spyness series. It’s not surprising that these series combine historical fiction and mystery, two of my favorite genres.

3. I finally read some short stories! In 2008, after compiling the list above, I was horrified to learn that I hadn’t read a single short story. In the past, I had always been a huge story advocate. I resolved to read at least one a week in 2009. I definitely kept that resolution–I completed three short story collections and read many more single short stories out of other books. This is something that I really enjoyed doing and definitely plan on continuing in 2010.

4. I didn’t read as much literature in translation. This is something that I’m only slightly sad about, because I was pretty surprised that last year over half of my books were by non-Americans. Of course, this year that’s true, too, I simply just read a lot of English literature by non-Americans. I’m not too worried about this, but I do have a slight desire to try and read more contemporary literature in translation instead of just classic translated works.

I’ll complete my wrap-up tomorrow with some more qualitative questions that I’m borrowing from Savidge Reads.



  1. What a great reading year! I love seeing stats and I love how you separated it out by which country the literature was from. I still haven’t figured out how much I read last year….I’m thinking it will be a lot of work…

  2. Great stats! My number of books read jumped this year too because I read shorter books. Yay for short book! :)

    • Yeah, the shorter books make for quicker reads. I think I might focus on some longer books this year, though. It might depend on my mood.

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