Bibliophile’s reading report for 2008

Total books read in 2008:
153, which is 10 more than in 2007, making my weekly average 2,95 books.

Last year’s unfinished books were fewer than the year before and consisted only of 2 books I gave up on and a couple of guide books I borrowed and read only the relevant sections of for my trip to Croatia and Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Breakdown:

Fiction: 117 (76,5%), up by 8,2% since last year.
Non-fiction: 31 (20,3%) down by 10% since last year.
Mixed: 5 (3,3%)

My non-fiction percentage is down from 2007, which means I was unable to fulfil my goal to reach 35% non-fiction in 2009. Maybe this year I’ll do better (I have some juicy travelogues lined up that may pull this average up).

Total no. of pages read: 44691, compared with 38901 in 2007, which is not surprising as I read more books in 2008.
Average number of pages per book: 292. This is 18 pages longer than in 2008. I have some big reads of 700+ pages lined up that may push the average page count even higher this year.
Number of books 300+ pages long: 78 (51%). This percentage was 49% in 2007 and 26,8% in 2006.

Re-reads: 12 (7,8%). This is slightly more than last year.
Library and loan books: 23 (15,1%). This is nearly the same percentage as in 2007.
E-books: 1
Audio books: 1
Translated books: 4 (2,5%)

Books published before 1900:
3. Last year it was 4, so I did not fulfil my goal of reading at least 12 in 2008. However, the count is bound to go up this year, as I am planning on reading some Icelandic Sagas as part of my challenge to read more Icelandic books.
Books published after 2000 (that year not included): 54, or 35,3%, compared with 21,8% in 2008.

Average rating per book (out of a possible 5+): 3+. When I do the actual calculations I interpret the +’s to mean 0,5. Last year the actual average was 3,5 stars, but this year it’s 3,4 stars, so the average rating is ever so slightly down.
Most common rating (out of a possible 5+): Not suprisingly (considering the above), the most common rating is down from 4 to 3,5 stars (representing 34 books, or 22,4%), but the distribution between the most common scores is more even than last year. This year, no books got a score of 1 or 1+, as opposed to 1 each last year. 6 books got 5 stars versus last year’s 5 books, and 3 books got 5+ stars, a distinction given to no book in 2007. I was unable to give scores to 4 books last year, but there were 9 of those in 2007.
(Books that I do not give a score are ones that need different criteria from what I generally use. My usual scoring consists of a combination of literary quality factors (objective, minor point) and reading enjoyment (subjective, major point), but scoreless books generally need not only objective, point-by-point comparison with other books of the same kind, but some also need scoring based on practical application. Those are always non-fiction, usually reference- or educational books, such as craft manuals and travel guide books, and also some history books).

Languages: I read and listened to 148 books in English last year, or 96,7% out of the total. Last year it was 93%. This year’s reading challenge will therefore be to read more books in Icelandic (see posting from December 1st).

Breakdown by genre:
This breakdown is by main genre, so genre-crossing books get classified under one genre even if they could possibly belong to more, sometimes as many as three or four. Books where I only read a few books in the genre are collected under "miscellaneous fiction or non-fiction". The only time I use a fuller genre classification is when there are enough of them to be statistically interesting.
The books that mix (or seem to mix) fiction and non-fiction I divided into genres as I saw fit.

Crime, mystery and action, including one non-fiction crime book: 53 (34,65%), down by 9%
Romance: 44 (28,75%), up by 21,75%
Fantasy, sci-fi, fairy tales, myths and supernatural (incl. horror): 12 (7,8%), down by 5,55%
Miscellaneous fiction: 8 (5,2%) down by 1,85%
Travelogues, memoirs of places, geography, guide books: 15 (9,8%) down by 2,2%
Miscellaneous non-fiction: 21 (13,75%), down by 3,2%

Most read authors:
This was definitely a Nora Roberts year for me. I had been avoiding her non-J.D. Robb books for years because I suspected I would either love or hate her romances and either could be disastrous for my enjoyment of her J.D. Robb thrillers. As it happens, I ended up generally liking the books, but not necessarily loving them. The one standalone novel of hers I read garnered my highest rating out of her Roberts books, a 4. The rest consisted of a novella collection, three trilogies and one tetralogy (that I am trying to hammer together a readable review of), each book with a rating ranging from 2+ to 3+, ending up with an average score of 2,75. The 4 books written by Roberts as J.D. Robb got nearly a whole star more on average than her other books.

The runner-up was Charlotte MacLeod, some of whose books I did love. Her books ended up with an average rating of 3,5. Unsurprisingly, Terry Pratchett came third, as I am still rereading the Discworld novels.

Here is the score:

Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb: 19
Charlotte MacLeod: 8
Terry Pratchett: 7
Jennifer Crusie and Ngaio Marsh: 5 each
Georgette Heyer and Susan Elizabeth Phillips: 4 each
Suzanne Brockmann and Tony Hillerman: 3 each
Rita Mae Brown, Mary & Carol Higgins Clark together (plus one book each), Susan Dunlap, Caroline Graham, Donna Leon, Ellis Peters, Margaret Truman and Connie Willis: 2 each

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