GoodReads

A Year of Reading

Been a good year for reading for me (not yet for writing, but there's still time so watch this space). Picked up another couple of books during the week including the Fifth Elephant by Terry Pratchett, which is one of the nine Discworld's I've yet to read.

This week I surpassed the forty books I'd set as a target for the year on GoodReads.

Somehow forty books in some ways doesn't sound that much to me, but it's a struggle to get the reading time in some weeks with our busy lives and so I've got to be pretty satisfied with getting close to a book a week. And it's mad when you look at the average number of books people read or the number of books the average person reads (which is quite different). Apparently the average number of books is around 10 to 12 or so, but the median number (i.e. the number that most people profess to have read in a year) is only 4; the average number being skewed so much by the heavier readers out there. Damn stats, hey. Data suggests that more intelligent - sorry I should say better educated - people read more books, women read more books than men, and incredibly around a quarter of people don't read any books at all (FFS).

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These stats seem quite reasonable when I think about it. I've got mates that read no books at all and a few who read maybe five or so. I've had years in the past when I didn't read as much as I do now and I wish that wasn't true (that said I may have been strumming my guitar more some years and I feel guilty about not doing that as much as I used to now); basically there's only so much time.

Roughly 50% of the books I've read so far this year have been SF/Fantasy (so far so predictable) and 25% non-fiction and there have been a few classics thrown in there (The Tempest, Macbeth, Lord of the Flies, Of Mice and Men, Titus Groan). All in all many very satisfying and fascinating reads. Some have made me think about my writing methods and style but mostly they have just given me fabulous escapism and provided me with worlds away from this hopeless dystopia we appear to be in at the moment.

All these hours of escapism are priceless and I wish more people would read more, but you can lead a horse to water etc. It would entertain, inform and de-stress many a bod I know if they would. If we all had a few hours away from the google-box and the news and those bloody adverts it would be a better place (imagine if Donald Trump sat back and read a history book or six, and maybe looked at an atlas rather than SNL, Fox and his Twitter feed. Ho hum.).

Fifth Elephant

Anyway's for my next bit of escapism I am heading back to the Discworld to find out about the Fifth Elephant.

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The Discworld on the back of the Great A'Tuin
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2017 in Reading

Planned Reading in 2017

So I've set myself a target of reading
40 books in 2017, but which books will they be?

I'm planning on continuing through my shelves picking off books I've bought but not got to yet and there will be plenty of SF and non-fiction stuff too. Of course the books can't
all be picked now, but a fair few can. Some heavyweights and some lighter ones. It'll be interesting wherever I end up.

To date my 'definite' reads to come include:


Non-Fiction

'White Mughals' - William Dalrymple
'Return of a King' - William Dalrymple
'Jerusalem' - Simon Sebag Montefiore
'One Summer' - Bill Bryson

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Classics

'Macbeth' - Billy Shakes
'The Tempest' - Billy Shakes
'Something or other' - Charlie Dickens
'Name of the Rose' - Umberto Eco


SF and Fantasy

'Gormenghast' - Mervyn Peake
'The Silmarillion' - Tolkien
'The Golden Compass' - Philip Pullman


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Silmarillion



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2016 in Reading

Goodreads and Reading

I've been a member of
GoodReads for four years now and I must say I quite like it. It's not over intrusive in the way Facebook and Instagram are always trying to get in your face. You can look up recommendations based on your reading, but they're not constantly rabbiting at you- which is great.

I do like to see a record of what I've read when. With my memory it's very handy.

Last year I set myself a reasonable target for me of
26 books, a book a fortnight. As it happened I managed 41, which was great- the more reading the better. A nice mix of fiction and non-fiction with of course rather a big nod to SF and fantasy on the fiction side, and ale on the non-fiction (and fiction: Weird Ales).

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Unlike recent years the vast majority of the books I read were actually books.
Paper books, off shelves and everything. Had the not unusual idea of perhaps reading some of the untouched or barely started books from my heavy shelves. And it was a cracking idea I must say.

Not sure if any would be classified as 'Classics' I suppose Graham Greene's 'Our Man in Havana', Philip Roth's 'The Plot Against America' and Primo Levi's 'Periodic Table' could be and perhaps a couple of the Atwood's, but what's a classic anyway?

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Two of the books feature your's truly too - Flash Dogs 'Time' and Theresa Derwin's edited 'Weird Ales'. Both thoroughly recommended for other people's stuff at least.

I'm going to pick my
Reading Top 10 from 2016. Why? Well, you do that kind of thing at this time of year, don't you? All of them cracking.

  • 'Imaginary Cities' Darran Anderson
  • 'Cloud Atlas' David Mitchell
  • 'The Plot Against America' Philip Roth
  • 'To Say Nothing of the Dog' Connie Willis
  • 'Oryx and Crake' Margaret Atwood
  • 'Tough Guys Don't Dance' Norman Mailer
  • 'Our Man in Havana' Graham Greene
  • 'Years of Rice and Salt' Kim Stanley Robinson
  • 'The Anti-Death League' Kingsley Amis
  • 'Trigger Warning' Neil Gaiman

Now I've got to look forward to 2017 and the reading ahead. I'm aiming for a similar number of books that I achieved this year (40) and if the reading is half as good as last year's then I'll be very happy.

Happy New Year folks and Happy Reading - whatever you may be getting your head stuck in to!
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Post NaNo... Back to Reading

During November there was little time for reading with all the hours required for the NaNoWriMo writing challenge, so it is good to get back to it again. At the start of the year I set a target on Goodreads to read 26 books, it seemed reasonable to aim for a book a fortnight. I've already achieved that and now I'm aiming to get to 40 - which will be my best reading year for some many a year.

I just finished a book with a great little background to it; To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis. A time travel book with a Three Men in a Boat theme; what could be finer? It was a good read and my 37th book of the year.

And now I'm on to a big hardback which has been on my shelves untouched for a good few years now.: The Years of Rice and Salt, by Kim Stanley Robinson. It won the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 2003.

TheYearsOfRiceAndSalt(1stEdUK) TSNOTD

It's very much been a year of books this year, rather than a year of Kindle. I've been trying to read some of the many books I've got on my shelves that I've never got around to. For too long I've been buying books even though I've got plenty of reading to in the house. I've tried to avoid second hand bookshops a bit more this year, not completely successfully.



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