Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Year End Reading Retrospective

It is that time of year, isn't it? I've been seeing round-up posts popping up everywhere, and there is something quite satisfying about quantifying what you've been doing all year. Of course, this time of year also makes me realize I will never have enough time to read all the books I want to, probably not even all the books I have on my shelves. But I will keep trying, nevertheless. 2007 was a good year for reading - all the encouragement and suggestions from bloggers and our many challenges kept me picking up one book after another. How pleasant!

Books Bought 2007
Honestly, no idea. I don't keep track at all (perhaps that's why my shelves are overflowing)

Books Read 2007

By Women: 88
By Men: 52
Non-gendered reading (multiple authors etc.): 6

Rereads : 4

In Translation: 8 (oh, that's low. I have to try harder to increase the variety of my reading choices)

Non-Fiction: 32 (12 of these were on writing/literature)

Multiple Books by the same author:
3 - Alexander McCall Smith, Martine Desjardins
2 - Wilkie Collins, Frances Itani, Elizabeth Goudge, Jane Austen, Ray Bradbury, Earlene Fowler

And as for my favourites, well, it's hard to choose favourites, I've read so many really good books this year. But if I was to pick, by completely subjective criteria like how much fun I had reading or how much I admired the writing style, or how I was surprised by something utterly unknown to me when I picked it up, my Top Fiction reads of 2007 would be:

5/6. Smuggling Donkeys / David Helwig
A Feast of Longing / Sarah Klassen
4. Changing light / Nora Gallagher
3. Remembering the Bones / Frances Itani
2. Fairy Ring / Martine Desjardins
1. The Dream Life of Sukhanov / Olga Grushin

Likewise for Non-Fiction:

3. Burning down the House / Charles Baxter (read recently and not reviewed, but enjoyed)
2. Art Objects / Jeanette Winterson ( I was astonished by her brilliance)
1. Lectures on literature / Vladimir Nabokov (I just finished this, on the recommendations of many bloggers and am amazed by him and ready to start at the beginning again)

And just for interest's sake -
Challenges Joined 2007: 5 (2 still ongoing)

Challenges Completed 2007: 1 (yes, that's right -- 1! although that's not stopping me from joining a ton more for 2008!)


  1. As I have from other reader's year end lists, I've gotten some ideas from yours of things I want to track this year with my reading. I need to get a list of stats ready now so that I can just fill in the blanks as I read this year to make the year end post of '08 even easier.

  2. Carl - me too! I like the idea of cribbing some of the stats I've seen on other lists and then filling in the numbers as the year progresses.

  3. I got a chuckle out of your books bought section. :-) I am not sure I want to know how many books I bought this past year.

    This past year I started keeping track of narrative voice and stuff like that just to see how it would turn out. Like you an Carl, I get ideas from reading other people's lists. I hadn't thought of tallying up the translations, although I doubt that would be hard to do considering how little translated books I read. Still, something to keep in mind for next year.

    Have a wonderful New Year and Happy Reading.

  4. It may be better to forget the number of books bought. The truth can be rather startling. ;p

    But 147 books read is SUPER.

    I've placed a order for Martine Desjardins on your recommendation. But it's still on its way to the bookstore. *sigh*

    And I like how the stats reveals so much about our reading habits. I've already set out some things I want to keep track of for 2008. I'm still keeping track of number of books purchased, and I'm doing a closer analysis of my non-fiction reads.

    Good luck for your 2008 challenges. We all need help completing them! :)

  5. It sounds like a good year! 146 books is an impressive number, as is 32 nonfiction books. I'm intrigued by what everyone says about Lectures on Literature; perhaps I'll have to get a copy ...

  6. I have read none of your top reads, which is wonderful because it means they are still out there for me to enjoy. I know what you mean about works in translation. I don't read anywhere near enough either.

  7. 146! Wow! That's almost three years of my reading in one year! What's your secret? Happy New Year!

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  9. Literary Feline - I get lots of ideas from other people's stat lists, including yours!

    Dark Orpheus - I am lucky enough to be able to read very quickly; and I don't have many distractions to keep me otherwise occupied. I hope you'll like the Desjardins once you finally get your hands on it.

    Dorothy - do try the Lectures on Literature. I'm hoping I'll have read enough Russian lit by next December that I can tackle his Lectures on Russian Literature next Xmas.

    Table Talk - Hi, thanks for dropping by. I like going through people's Top 10's for ideas too! And I'm sure the Russian Reading Challenge will up my 'in translation' numbers for next year.

  10. Stefanie - well, I read quickly, and I am not a busy student. My idea of fun is to sit quietly at home reading, and so is my husband's, so we do a lot of that. I've just been reading Robertson Davies on reading; he points out that reading just to be done a book is what he calls "end-gaining" rather than luxuriating in the experience of reading. So I'm going to try slowing myself down a bit next year and make notes/reflect as I go.

  11. Your top fiction reads all sound so good! Congrats on a great year of reading. :) And happy new year!

  12. I've just been reading Robertson Davies on reading; he points out that reading just to be done a book is what he calls "end-gaining" rather than luxuriating in the experience of reading. So I'm going to try slowing myself down a bit next year and make notes/reflect as I go.

    Oh yes -- it was what Robertson Davies wrote that made me reconsider my own "end-gaining" attitude to reading too! We all have so much to learn from this great man.

    I heart Robertson Davies. Need to read the "Salterton Trilogy" this year -- but I will imbibe "A Voice in the Attic" slowly -- as it should be.

  13. Dark Orpheus - aha! I couldn't remember who had mentioned this book, but I ran out and got it at the library. It's wonderful! Lots to learn from Davies.

  14. That Davies essay sounds interesting. I don't think I've ever read him before. I'll have to look him up at the library!

  15. I really need to get hold of Nabokov's lectures since I keep hearing rave reviews all over the book blogs. Congrats on a great year of reading!


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