Friday, December 30, 2011

Year-End Reading Report 2011

Another year of reading slips away, and on to 2012!

I read 111 books in 2011, for an average of one every 3.3 days. Given that I started a new job, moved house, and wasn't reading maniacally as an awards judge like last year, I rate this year's as a fairly good effort. Of course the books continue to come in faster than I can read them, but there's nothing for that, I'm afraid. Normally I'd wait until tomorrow afternoon to post this, but I've resolved not to start a book book today and use the rest of 2011 to read some of the various piled-up periodicals, so I think I'm safe in putting this out a bit early.

Of this year's reading, just 31 titles were published before 2011 (see my resolution below), with 80 titles published this year (a full 72% of the total). The titles broke down into 66 fiction and 45 non-fiction books (59% fiction, 41% non-fiction).

One of this winter's goals is to finally get all the books in order on the shelves again; they've settled in nicely, but it would certainly be handy to know where to look when I'm on the hunt for something.

And now, my top ten fiction and non-fiction reads for 2011 (in no particular order within the lists):


- The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips (Random House, 2011). Review.

- Pym by Mat Johnson (Spiegel & Grau, 2011). Review.

- The Technologists by Matthew Pearl (Random House, 2012). Review.

- A Study in Sherlock, edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger (Bantam, 2011). Review.

- His Majesty's Dragon by Naomi Novik (Del Rey, 2006). Review.

- Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (Quirk, 2011). Review.

- The Tiger's Wife by Téa Obreht (Random House, 2011). Review.

- The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (Putnam, 2011). Review.

- Scorch City by Toby Ball (St. Martin's, 2011). Review.

- The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011). Review.


- Edward Bancroft: Scientist, Author, Spy by Thomas J. Schaeper (Yale University Press, 2011). Review.

- Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend by Susan Orlean (Simon & Schuster, 2011). Review.

- Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage by Vincent Carretta (University of Georgia Press, 2011). Review.

- Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman by Robert K. Massie (Random House, 2011). Review.

- Books: A Living History by Martyn Lyons (J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011). Review.

Special mention, since it doesn't really fit into a category as such, goes to A Dodo at Oxford, edited by Philip Atkins and Michael Johnson (Oxgarth Press, 2010). Review.

Simply from the number of their publications in my top-ten lists, Random House is the clear winner of my Publisher of the Year nod, but I'll also give Yale University Press special mention again this year, along with Bloomsbury. Kudos to all three for their fantastic titles.

My reading resolution for 2012, since I spent so much time reading brand-new books in 2011, is to go back and play some serious catch-up.

Happy New Year, and may your 2012 be filled with good health, good fortune, and good books!

Previous year's reports: 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006.