Wednesday, 2 January 2019

Reading statistics 2018

A new year means statistics from the old year. It is quite interesting to go through what you have read last year. Some books you tend to forget you have read, but when you see the titles they come up to the surface again. I don't have any one book that stands out this year. It probably means that I have been on a good, even level in my reading.

I have read 83 fiction (78%) and 23 non fiction (22 %) books. They are divided into: Historical fiction 8, Classics 20, Mystery 28, Other fiction 27; Biographies 6, History 5 and other non fiction 12. Top individual categories turn out to be Mystery and Classics. The division between fiction and non fiction is quite good. Although I might try to read some more non fiction this year. I listened to five audio books, and I am at the end of another, rather long one. It takes a long time for me to go through the audio books, since I listen mostly when out walking. I read both paper books and e-books and enjoy both ways of reading.

Overview of 2018 books

The 2018 reading year was for me quite different than usual. First of all, I read a lot of classics which, to a large extend, was due to my university course in Literature. It made me discover some unexpected pearls. For example Chrétien de Troyes' Lancelot. Estimated to have been written in 1177 and 1189, it holds a freshness and modernity that is amazing. Another classic I enjoyed was Voltaire's Candide. A humorous intake on the world at his time, and a real pleasure to read even today. Maybe not much have actually changed?

By far the best mystery was Jane Harper's Force of Nature, which had a compelling story which kept you guessing until the end. I also liked the two detectives and their interaction. I wanted to read another book by her, but I never got around it. Just lets me have some joyous reading for 2019.

A wonderful combination to read was Henry James' The Portrait of a Lady and the continuation of the story, Mrs Osmond, as written by John Banville. Always a fan of Henry James, as is John Banville, which is the reason it took him many years to decide on a sequel. It is done with utmost skills and a language close to James, that it is hard to notice a difference. The only difference might be that Banville makes an ending.

I cannot say that any book this year stood out against the others. It was an even reading year, a lot of mystery books, which I usually not read a lot of. Maybe the influence on being in Scandinavia? Most books appealed to me, but Arnaldur Indridason always sticks out. I must admit though that the last book I read, The Shadow Killer, left me without a clue on whodunnit? Anybody who has read it and can give me a hint. I wanted to re-read the last chapter again, but forgot and gave the book back before reading it through more thoroughly.

After many years on my TBR shelves, and thanks to the Classic Club, I finally read Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarder. It is an interesting book, where Gaarder manages to make you understand a little bit of philosophy. That is, until the philosophical world enters the real world. Or, is it the real world that enters the philosophical world? Hmm! A pearl of a book and a must if you are interested in philosophy.

Always interested in people's lives, I enjoyed a few biographies. To mention is Miranda Seymour's The Bugatti Queen, with its tale of an unusual woman's life. The Mysteries of Beethoven's Hair by Russell Martin and Lydia Nibley is another interesting story of how life move items through history. A last mentioning will go the Marie Benedict's The Other Einstein. A historical fiction about Einstein's first wife Miléva Maric. An interesting take on the value of wives' influence over scientific husband's work.


  1. I just did my book year-end too -- I love reading what other people read. I usually end up with one or two (or more) to put on my list and am always intrigued at how we who read choose different things and chronicle them in so many interesting ways. Happy New Year, Lisbeth. I look forward to seeing more of your posts (and bookmarks!) in the new year!

    1. Thank you Jeanie. Had no time to read your post on your reading, but have saved it for later. Will get back to you with a comment. Seems you did pretty well, on top of everything else you are doing. You are so creative and active. It is always a pleasure to read your posts and to see what you have been up to.
      All the best for 2019.

  2. ooh, lots of goodies here! I should revisit Lancelot, I was so in love with him when I discovered him in grade school (French school system).
    I plan to try Jane Harper. I love a lot Gaarder's style, I have read several by him. I read The Mysteries of Beethoven's Hair years ago and found it fascinating. I loved The Other Einstein and her next book, Carnegie's Maid, but was a bit disappointed by her 2019 release, The Only Woman in the Room.
    I love doing stats, here is my post:

    1. Seems we have quite a lot in common when it comes to books. Yes, Lancelot was a great surprise to me. Imagined it dry and boring, but totally the opposite. Lucky you who can read him in French. Jane Harper was a good acquaintance, and looking forward to her other books. I would also like to try something else by Marie Benedict. Thank you for the tip of Carnegie's Maid.
      Looking forward to more exchanges in 2019. I will follow your choices closely, since we seem to have a lot in common when it comes to reading.

  3. Hmmm....Mrs. Osmond is interesting. I am not always a fan of Henry James, but Portrait is one I did enjoy, and it did leave me wondering what would become of Isabel.

    1. It was an interesting read. I would be curious if someone with a big knowledge of James' writing would detect that somebody else had written the sequel (if unaware of it). Probably would though. I enjoyed it. I find James' often leaves his stories without a 'proper' ending. You are always left hanging and waiting for more.