Tuesday, January 1, 2019

2018: 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 now do it every year. This year I've added a couple of new categories (how many books for work and how many different publishers). 

How many books read in 2018? 120. Hit my goal, barely!

How many fiction and non fiction? 58/60. I thought this was going to be skewed more towards nonfiction for a while but fiction caught up. It's interesting, I feel like the NF books have been more consistently reliable. The novels have been more of the disappointments, but also more of the ones that blew me away. Riskier but more payoff.

Male/Female author ratio? 57/66. 

Favorite book of 2018? This one's easy. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. It's kind of crazy to read a book just one month into the year and know, this is going to be the best book I read this year. And the next 11 months bore that out. It was just so great, nothing else could come close. (Except, you know, the sequel.)

Least favorite? A Horse Walks Into a Bar by David Grossman. If it wasn't for my bookclub, no way I would have finished it. I seriously wonder if something was lost in the translation. Not just in the actual language translation, but something about Israel and being an Israeli that most non-foreign readers bring to their experience of the book, and i do not. This is a book screaming for an introduction by an American about some of the stuff we Americans just will not get. An academic well-versed in Israeli literature and culture, but who works in America or England would be perfect. Not an author's introduction. And it should be longish. I don't think I've ever wished for that before.

Any that you simply couldn't finish and why? I had two DNFs: In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin by Erik Larson and The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home by Denise Kiernan. They really weren't holding my attention. For the first one, the problem might have been that I was listening to it. For the second one, it turns out building The Biltmore was the only interesting thing George Vanderbilt ever did. Once it was built, it became a bit tedious. For In the Garden, it was more that I was so irritated by Martha Dodd, the idiotic daughter of the US embassador to Germany, who never met a Nazi she didn't like--the more evil, the better--and by her wildly ineffectual father, that trying to keep up with who was who felt like a chore. These were both on my list of 10 books I really wanted to read this year, so they were surprising, but I really have raised my standards for my non-Macmillan reading. I have so little opportunity, I can't squander it.

Oldest book read?  Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing, published in 1959. Reads like it was published yesterday.
Newest?  Carnegie Hill by Jonathan Vatner, comes out August 20, 2019, in 8 months.

Longest and shortest book titles? (not including subtitles)
Longest: If You're in My Office, It's Already Too Late (45)
Shortest: Less

Longest and shortest books?
Longest: Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow 818 pages
Shortest: The Lady Astronaut of Mars by Mary Robinette Kowal 19 pages. Anything called a "novelette" is a shoe-in for this slot.

How many books from the library? 34, mostly audios.

How many audiobooks? 26. That's a lot but five fewer than last year.

How many graphic books? 16. I haven't tracked this one in previous years. I didn't call them "graphic novels" because I have plenty of nonfiction mixed in as well. I know that category is considered good for both but it bothers me.

Any translated books? One. And sadly, it was a disappointment. Based on the foreign reviews for this book (A Horse Walks Into a Bar), I do wonder if something wasn't lost in the translation.

Most read author of the year, and how many books by that author? Three by Mary Robinette Kowal, the first three in the Lady Astronaut series, although the first "novelette" actually takes place at the end. But books 3 and 4 haven't been published yet, and that one was actually published first. Three by John Lewis, the March trilogy about the Civil Rights movement.

Any re-reads? 
Calypso by David Sedaris. I read it when it first came out. Then I reread it on audio a few months later. I miss a lot of the jokes when I read it myself, although fewer than I used to, as now when I read it, David's voice is in my head. 

Favorite character of the year? Constable Twitten from A Shot in the Dark by Lynne Truss

Which countries did you go to through the page in your year of reading? Antarctica (technically, not a country, but still kind of feels like one), Cameroon, Australia, England (and Scotland), Israel, Florin and Guilder (fictional), Canada, Denmark, the Philippines (and other U.S. colonies/territories), France, Germany, Morocco, India, Japan, Greece, 

Which book wouldn’t you have read without someone’s specific recommendation? I absolutely take recommendations! I have so much I have to be, I need to be really judicious in my choices
Sadie (Annie among others!)
Impossible Owls (Ben)
Heartland (Leora)
Black Klansman (Jamie)
Popular Crime (Jake)
March (Nicole)
Manfried the Man (Fuse#8 Plus Kate podcast--Betsy Bird)
Shout (Mary Alice and Maria)
An Unexplained Death (Rebecca)
Bad Blood (Penny)
Heating & Cooling (Kristen)

Which author was new to you in 2018 that you now want to read the entire works of? Mary Robinette Kowal

Which books are you annoyed you didn’t read? Only one. Ask a Manager: Clueless Coworkers, Lunch-Stealing Bosses, and Other Work Conversations Made Easy by Alison Green. I'll get around to it! I own it. 

How many books did you read for work? 76. Now, for this number I don't count the picture books or the early reader books. Basically, a book must take me at least an hour, or it doesn't count. If I include all of those, I have read about 200 more books than I record in Goodreads!!

How many different publishers (not imprints) did you read? 12, including Macmillan. I know, it's not much, but considering how much that I read MUST be Macmillan, it's not bad. The big 5 of course, some mid-level publishers, and one small.

Did you read any books you have always been meaning to read? 
If "always" means for the last 3-4 years, then:
We Should All Be Feminists, As You Wish, The Princess Bride, Endurance, The Soul of an Octopus, On the Move, Call the Midwife #2

2018 TOP FOUR Book Events in Carin’s Book Life (this used to be 8 but that was always very difficult to do, and will be more so when I have a steady job and am no longer on the WNBA board):
4. Hosted book club for the very first time ever! I know this doesn't seem impressive, but after being in various book clubs for a couple of decades, it never worked out. Everyone had fun, everyone fit, I got compliments on our apartment, and I hope to be able to host again!
3. Met Tan France, Rick Atkinson, and James Comey. My job is so cool!
2. Finished being on the WNBA Board! It was fun, important, exhausting and I learned a lot. I am so glad I was able to be the WNBA VP, President, and Past-President, but after years of service to the organization, I'm very glad to just be a regular member again.
1. Was pleasantly shocked to find my name towards the top of a couple of PowerPoint slides in a presentation by the EVP of Sales in a year-end presentation, as I seem to be doing very well at work!

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