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Friday, January 1, 2016

2015: The Year in Review

2015: The Year in Review

In 2010 I got this meme, I think from Boston Bibliophile. It was a fun way to summarize the year, so I thought I'd do it again.

How many books read in 2015? 
My Goodreads goal was 100.

How many fiction and non fiction? 
46 fiction to 54 nonfiction. I'm surprised it's not more skewed. I've been reading what feels like nothing but nonfiction for the last three months, showing how much my two book clubs, which read almost exclusively fiction, influence my reading list.

Male/Female author ratio? 
Last year I made a concerted effort to read more women (about 2/3) and I was worried that this year my list would skew more male just because of books I'd skipped last year, so this was a pleasant surprise: 38 males, 62 females (1 anonymous, don't know). So without even trying, I not only didn't skew male, but I came in around the same as the year when I was trying very hard to read more women. Before last year's effort, my list almost always split exactly 50/50.

Favorite book of 2015? 
Phenomenal: A Hesitant Adventurer's Search for Wonder in the Natural World by Leigh Ann Henion

Least favorite? 
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondō

Any that you simply couldn't finish and why? 
The Botanist and the Vintner: How Wine Was Saved for the World by Christy Campbell. Just too dense. Too much botany, too much entomology. Maybe if I was in a different place mentally, but I just can't do it now (and I believe ever although I think that's also affected by my current mood.)

Oldest book read?  Either The Natural History of a Yard by Leonard Dubkin (1955) or Siegfried's Murder by Anonymous, translated by A.T. Hatto (this translation is 2006 but the original is 13th century)
Newest?  Golden Age by Jane Smiley (published Oct. 1, 2015)

Longest and shortest book titles? (not including subtitles)
Longest:  Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County
Shortest:  As If!

Longest and shortest books?
Longest: Hawaii by James A. Michener (1036 pages)
Shortest: Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Iowa Story by William Anderson (50 pages)

How many books from the library? 
38. Wow, that might be a record for me!

Any translated books? 
After two years of no translated books, I signed up for a reading challenge for translations, and this year I managed 3. (Japanese, Norwegian, and Middle German)

Most read author of the year, and how many books by that author? 
Jane Smiley, three books. I read her Hundred Years Trilogy.

Any re-reads? 
As usual, I reread a few Little House on the Prairie books (The Long Winter, Little Town on the Prairie), but again, I've done it so many times, I don't track those books any more. Also Domestic Arrangements by Norma Klein.

Favorite character of the year? 
Flora 717 from The Bees by Laline Paull

Which countries did you go to through the page in your year of reading? 
England, France, Germany, Ireland, Greece, Australia, Kenya, Spain, Venezuela, Tanzania, Mexico, Norway, Japan, Iran, the North Pole, the Confederate States of America, the British colony of Massachusetts, the unclaimed Western territory of North America, the independent kingdom of Hawai'i, the moon.

Which book wouldn’t you have read without someone’s specific recommendation? 
A lot this year! Starting with the books that were gifts.
Siegfried's Murder was given to me by Brian of Toadstool Bookshop.
The Natural History of a Yard was forcibly loaned to me by my mother.
The Way of All Fish was a gift from my husband.
The Remains of the Day was a graduation gift from my favorite professors.
Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar was a gift from Ellen Urbani after a WNBA event.
All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid I read based on a review by Tina in the WNBA.
How to Start a Fire and Dietland I read based on the recommendation of Sally Brewster, the owner of Park Road Books.
In a Dark Wood: What Dante Taught Me About Grief, Healing, and the Mysteries of Love I read based on the recommendation of Penny in WNBA.
The Bees I read based on the ravings of Simon on the podcast The Readers.
Letters from Yellowstone I read based on my sister Laura's review.
Nothing to Do But Stay I read based on the recommendation of Susan in the WNBA.

Which author was new to you in 2015 that you now want to read the entire works of? 
Kazuo Ishiguro

Which books are you annoyed you didn’t read? 
Life Itself by Roger Ebert (saw the documentary!), and Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America's Favorite Spectator Sport by Matthew Algeo were both on this list last year and I still didn't manage to read them. Adding to these are: Lafayette in the Somewhat United States by Sarah Vowell; When Books Went to War: The Stories that Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning; Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward; In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume; The White Monkey by John Galsworthy; A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Did you read any books you have always been meaning to read? 
These are all books I've owned since before 2010 and Remains I've owned since 1995. It was a college graduation gift:
Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett
Pobby and Dingan by Ben Rice
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle
She Got Up Off the Couch: And Other Heroic Acts from Mooreland, Indiana by Haven Kimmel

2015 TOP EIGHT Book Events in Carin’s Book Life - in no particular order:
8. Succeeded in taking a MOOC, my first one, on Laura Ingalls Wilder, yay! Last year I tried to take the MOOC on the first half of the Little House books and failed, but my schedule was lighter for this second class and it covered the later books which are my favorites anyway.
7. I was asked to be a speaker at a Nonfiction Authors Association meeting in Raleigh.
6. Lead the WNBA Annual National Meeting in New Orleans.
5. Attended Winter Institute and SIBA's fall trade show.
4. I did my very first index, for The Changing Face of Motherhood in Spain: The Social Construction of Maternity in the Works of Lucia Etxebarria by Catherine Bourland Ross.
3. I am three quarters of the way through my term as president of the Women's National Book Association!
2. My book, An Insider's Guide to a Career in Book Publishing, was picked up for coursebook adoption by a university (Belmont University) and is being considered by two others!
1. Four colleagues and I launched All About the Authors, a site with videos and blogs all about writing and publishing.

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