Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Reading in 2018

Happy New Year!

January is the month where I typically spend a lot of time writing about the movies from last year that I watched. And I'm gonna get to that again this year, but I also want to record some thoughts about books that I read, so I'm gonna do that first.

The next few posts will go into some detail about specific books, but one of the advantages of using Goodreads to keep track of my reading is that it gives me all sorts of fun stats at the end of the year. It also sponsors an annual reading challenge where you pledge how many books you want to read. I've participated the last three years, always exceeding my goal and upping my target for the next year.

In 2016, my target was 21, but I read 29. In 2017, I raised the target to an easy 24 and read 34. So last year I raised it a little more ambitiously to 36. I read 57.

I'm counting audiobooks in that number and a good portion of them were comics collections and short stories, so please don't think I'm reading a novel a week. I know people who can do that, but I'm not one of them. I'm actually a pretty slow reader, because I read aloud in my head and spend a lot of time imagining what I'm reading. Still, I'm pretty happy with 57. According to Goodreads, I read the equivalent of 14,094 pages.

The shortest book I read was a short story called "The Doll's Ghost" by F Marion Crawford. It's 30 pages. The longest book I finished was the three-volume The Complete Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson. It's 1,456 pages. And I should note that I didn't actually start it this year. David and I had been reading it together for a while, but got distracted. I decided to finish it on my own.

The average length of the books I read was 247 pages, which isn't too shabby. I'll go into detail in future posts, but of the 57 books I read, 22 of them were novels, 3 were non-fiction, 22 were comics collections (I'm not counting individual, floppy comics in this), and 10 were short stories.

Among Goodreads users, the most popular book I read was Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (1.2 million readers last year). The least popular book I read was the graphic novel Olympus, Vol. 1 by Geoff Johns, Kris Grimminger, and Butch Guice (5 readers).

I tended to like what I read, giving an average of 3.6 out of 5 stars. The book I read that was most liked by other Goodreads users was The Complete Calvin and Hobbes with an average rating of 4.82 stars. Goodreads doesn't track the least liked book for some reason, but that's probably for the best.

Over the next few posts, I'll talk about the different categories of books I read and what I thought about them. Then we'll get into movies.


Erik Johnson Illustrator said...

Thats an admirable and intriguing post to anticipate, especially from a writer.

Since 2017 I've been trying to combat the short term rewards of internet distraction by making a list of titles I want to read by the end of the year. Its great way to combat the feeling that I need to be busy all the time. "Read to Feed" I call it. Just letting my brain take in new material so that it product inspiration later.

Most of the books on my list the last couple years have been nonfiction books. My favorites are usually about the makings of films I admire, or biographies of creative or influential people.

Comics are also something I want to get back into, specifically some of the Silver Age titles I grew up with, but also try out some newspaper strips. Its just a matter of deciding which series I want to commit.
Maybe I'll make that another category for this year's list.

Given our discussion over Fred Rogers biographies, I'm looking forward to further comparing of notes.

Michael May said...

For sure on Fred Rogers. I picked up that thick, new biography for myself just before Christmas and then a friend got me Simple Faith as a gift. Planning to dig into at least one of those this year.


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