Wednesday, 31 December 2014

My reading for 2014

Time now to think about the sort of reading year I had in 2014. In some ways, it has to be said, it was a hugely successful year for me. For the first time ever - at least since I've been keeping a record - I've managed to read 100 books in one year. I'm quite a slow reader so, to be honest, I never previously thought it was possible for me to do this. The point at which I realised it might be possible was in June when I saw that I'd read 57 books already and that if I carried on that way I would wind up with a total of 100 or more. I started to run out of steam in September. It was inevitable really, 10 books a month is hard to keep up. And the last couple of weeks with Christmas and so on it's been really hard to concentrate on reading. 'But' I got there.

So what now? Well, nothing. I have absolutely no intention of ever trying to do it again. Why? Because it's a pretty pointless exercise really. I read because I love reading and books. Not to clock up numbers. It's a bit like the differance between Twitchers and Bird-watchers. The former have lists and collect birds to fill their lists. The latter just go out and watch any bird because they love them and that's the way I feel. Next year I will read less. Not necessarily less words and pages but probably less books. It seems like a peculiar thing for a book lover to say, but it is so. But that speculation is for another post. In the meantime these are the books I read in 2014:


1. Spilling the Beans – Clarissa Dickson Wright
2. The Long Winter – Laura Ingalls Wilder
3. Space Plague – Zac Harrison
4. Consider Phelbas – Iain M. Banks
5. The Yellow Dog – Georges Simenon
6. Darke – Angie Sage
7. Strictly Ann – Ann Widecombe
8. Shards of Honour – Lois McMaster Bojold
9. Tentacles – Roland Smith
10. The Talisman Ring – Georgette Heyer


11. Have His Carcase – Dorothy L. Sayers
12. Lock 14 – Georges Simenon
13. Letters from the Horn of Africa – Sandy Curle, ed. By Christian Curle
14. The Mad Hatter Mystery – John Dickson Carr
15. Sundiver – David Brin
16. A Voyage Long and Strange – Tony Horwitz
17. Good Evening Mrs. Craven – Mollie Panter-Downes
18. Maigret in Holland – Georges Simenon
19. A Moment of Silence – Anna Dean
20. A Greedy Man in a Hungry World – Jay Rayner


21. The Nine Tailors – Dorothy L. Sayers
22. Touch Not the Cat – Mary Stewart
23. Sisters of Sinai – Janet Soskice
24. West with the Night – Beryl Markham
25. Fer-de-Lance – Rex Stout
26. The Middle-Aged Mountaineer – Jim Curran
27. A Gentleman of Fortune – Anna Dean
28. A Woman of Consequence – Anna Dean
29. Among Others – Jo Walton
30. Madame Maigret’s Own Case – Georges Simenon


31. Thirtheenth Child – Patricia Wrede
32. Huntingtower – John Buchan
33. The Red House Mystery – A.A. Milne
34. The Ocean at the End of the Lane – Neil Gaiman
35. Lost Things – Jo Graham and Melissa Scott
36. What Makes this Book so Great – Jo Walton


37. Cuckoo’s Egg – C.J. Cherryh
38. The Man in the Queue – Josephine Tey
39. A Fete Worse than Death – Delores Gordon-Smith
40. Death by Silver – Melissa Scott & Amy Griswold
41. The Outcast Dead – Elly Griffiths
42. The Last Continent – Terry Pratchett
43. Detective Stories from the Strand – ed. Jack Adrian
44. The River of Adventure – Enid Blyton
45. Demon in the House – Angela Thirkell


46. Alanna: The First Adventure – Tamora Pierce
47. The Moving Toyshop – Edmund Crispin
48. Death in the Clouds – Agatha Christie
49. The Fair Miss Fortune – D.E. Stevenson
50. More than Love Letters – Rosy Thornton
51. The Turkish Embassy Letters – Lady Mary Wortley Montagu
52. Buried for Pleasure – Edmund Crispin
53. The Sixth Lamentation – William Brodrick
54. The Burning Soul – John Connolly
55. Out of the Deep I Cry – Julia Spencer-Fleming
56. Up with the Larks – Tessa Hainsworth
57. Holy Disorders – Edmund Crispin


58. Sovereign – C.J. Sansom
59. Charlotte Fairlie – D.E. Stevenson
60. The Rendezvous and other stories – Daphne du Maurier
61. The Library Book – Ed. Rebecca Gray
62. Sanctus – Simon Toyne
63. The Overloaded Ark – Gerald Durrell
64. Helliconia Summer – Brian W. Aldiss
65. Lorraine Kelly’s Scotland – Lorraine Kelly
66. The Dead in their Vaulted Arches – Alan Bradley
67. A Shilling for Candles – Josephine Tey
68. For the Time Being – Dirk Bogarde


69. Tea Time for the Traditionally Built – Alexander McCall Smith
70. Wild Strawberries – Angela Thirkell
71. Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
72. Anthem for Doomed Youth – Carola Dunn
73. Letters from Skye – Jessica Brockmole
74. Elizabeth and her German Garden – Elizabeth von Arnim
75. Watson’s Choice – Gladys Mitchell
76. They Came to Baghdad – Agatha Christie
77. Fortunately, the Milk – Neil Gaiman
78. Come, Tell Me How You Live – Agatha Christie Malloran


79. Hag’s Nook – John Dickson Carr
80. Silver Borne – Patricia Briggs
81. The Twenty-third Man – Gladys Mitchell
82. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls – David Sedaris
83. A Coven of Vampires – Brian Lumley
84. Night of the Living Deed – E.J. Cpperman


85. Love Lies Bleeding – Edmund Crispin
86. The Unburied – Charles Palliser
87. A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush – Eric Newby
88. Clouds of Witness – Dorothy L. Sayers
89. The Sittaford Mystery – Agatha Christie


90. The Hills is Lonely – Lillian Beckwith
91. Laurels are Poison – Gladys Mitchell
92. Surgically Enhanced – Pam Ayres
93. Murder on the Links – Agatha Christie
94. Point of Hopes – Melissa Scott and Lisa Barnett


95. Point of Knives – Melissa Scott and Lisa Barnett
96. Recipe for Love – Katie Fforde
97. Once Upon a Christmas – Sarah Morgan
98. A Christmas Hope – Anne Perry
99. Gone West – Carola Dunn
100. A Christmas Grace – Anne Perry

Basically, for me, 2014 was the year of the vintage mystery. I had a 'lot' of fun with Bev's Vintage Mystery Bingo challenge, (reading 25 books for it in all) and while I'll not be doing it in 2015 I will certainly return to it another year. I discovered authors I'd never even heard of and the experience definitely enriched my reading for 2014.

I didn't do brilliantly with non-fiction - 21 this year - but then I never seem to. I fancy I did slightly better in 2013 but not much. On the other hand, the 21 I did read were all pretty good.

In no particular order, here're my top 5 non-fiction:

1. A Voyage Long and Strange - Tony Horwitz
2. Sisters of Sinai - Janet Soskice
3. What Makes this Book so Great - Jo Walton
4. Come, Tell me How You Live - Agatha Christie Malloran
5. The Hills is Lonely - Lillian Beckwith

I'll do a top 12 for fiction.

1. The Long Winter - Laura Ingalls Wilder
2. Have His Carcase - Dorothy L. Sayers
3. Among Others - Jo Walton
4. The Outcast Dead - Elly Griffiths
5. Charlotte Fairlie - D.E. Stevenson
6. Nine Tailors - Dorothy L. Sayers.
7. Helliconia Summer - Brian W. Aldiss
8. Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell
9. Letters From Skye - Jessica Brockmole
10. Point of Hopes - Melissa Scott and Lisa Barnett
11. Out of the Deep I Cry - Julia Spencer-Fleming
12. The Sittaford Mystery - Agatha Christie

I'm not going to choose favourites. This is partly because there was no stand-out fabulous book this year. And secondly, I liked all of these books for different reasons.

And just to whet my own appetite for next year's reading, here's a shelf of books I hope to get through next year:

If I get to the end of the year and have read most of these and nothing else, I shall still be a happy bunny.

Happy New Year and Happy Reading in 2015 to all those who pop in and read my ramblings whether you comment or not.



DesLily said...

wowzer!!!! can't say much more lol just WOWZER!!!

I so loved Letters from Skye! and really liked The Hills is Lonely too! I had a year of reading like this, I think 2 yrs ago.. then dropped by half last year and a few less this year ! But there is always a book by my chair so I know if it's many or less that I still enjoy the reading. :)

You had a great year of reading sis!!!!

Carl V. Anderson said...

I came close one year, but never have managed to read 100 books. And like you, I'm not itching to try. Hitting a number is a pointless exercise. I do set a goal on Goodreads to read 65 books, as that feels like what I do read on average when I'm just taking my time and reading what I want, but I'm not concerned if I don't hit it. I didn't get close this year.

You have a great variety to what you've read. I'm jealous to see you read Consider Phlebas. I'm wanting to try Banks at some point. There is just so much to read.

Anonymous said...

Yeay 100 books! I read 100 books this year too, though some were re-reads (but they were still read, so I think that counts). As you say though, it's nothing to do with the numbers of books, it's the reading - the numbers are really incidental... I'm so glad you liked Point of Hopes too - it's one of my favourite books! And Fangirl!

My New Year job tomorrow is to sort my fiction shelves, and at the end I'm hoping to have a to-read shelf, and to know where my sci-fi books are, for the Sci-Fi Experience. I love your bookshelf pic... *g*

(Now let's see how this works, coming from a different blog platform...)

Kailana said...

Yeah... I used to read, um, a lot. Nowadays I have slowed down... This actually was one of my slowest reading years ever. And, blogging stopped almost entirely! I will be curious to see where my 2015 goes. I hope you have a great reading year!

GeraniumCat said...

Thank you for another year of lovely thoughtful reviews, and happy reading in 2015, Cath!

Penny O'Neill said...

Your posts, reviews, insights are always a pleasure and inspiration for me, Cath. This list is tops. :) Thanks for all the books you lead me to read (or want to read, sigh).

Happy New Year!

BooksPlease said...

Well done, Cath! Like you I'm not bothered about clocking up numbers - it's more important to enjoy your reading! Are you cutting back on reading challenges this year?

Happy New Year and happy reading!

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Cath,

I could never hope to achieve those dizzy heights, so job well done !!

My sights are set much lower, but I can honestly say I have enjoyed almost every book I have read this year, so that'll do me!

In 2014 I discovered Goodreads and made some great new friends into the bargain, both bloggers and authors alike. I also managed to walk away with half a dozen Goodreads Giveaway wins, so I am one happy bunny, as I generally never win a thing!

You have some excellent classic mystery writers and vintage titles as part of your list. I have managed to read one or two books from this genre and have to say, that a return to a slower pace of story, where the writing is much more descriptive and is of equal importance to the storyline, is quite a welcome interlude sometimes.

Enjoy some fantastic reading in 2015 and have a Very Happy and Peaceful New Year.


Cath said...

Pat: Thanks! Yeah, I think as long as we still enjoy the reading all is well, whether we read heaps or a bit less.

Carl: It's a very pointless exercise and I'm definitely not trying to do it again next year. My plan is try and get some chunky books off my tbr pile and at the moment that feels like a fun personal challenge.

Jenny: Rereads definitely count as you're still reading the whole thing just the same as if it was new to you.

I adored both Point of Hopes and Fangirl. I'm thinking we must have very similar taste in books.

Good luck with your first stab at the Sci-Fi Experience!

Kelly: I don't think it actually harms to slow down a bit. I plan to this year.

Geranium Cat: Thank you and the same to you.

Cath said...

Thanks, Penny! Happy reading to you in 2015 and a Happy New Year as well.

Margaret: I'm not sure if I'm cutting back on the number reading challenges but I am definitely aiming lower when it comes to the number of books to read for these challenges. If that makes sense...

Happy New Year to you too.

Yvonne: Thank you. I don't think I'll ever reach those dizzy heights again and don't plan to try. LOL!

I'm so pleased you've enjoyed every book you've read this year, that's the main thing in my opinion. In the main I did too, nothing was really bad, just a few were average

Goodreads is huge fun and well done on winning some books on there!

I have so enjoyed the vintage crime books I've read. So different in tone to modern crime novels. I shall definitely read a few more this year.

Thank you, and the same to you and yours.

Kristen M. said...

Un Lun Dun is on my reread list for the year and I swear I am going to get to The Name of the Wind!

I regularly just pass 100 books each year but I'm a fast reader. I think we should all just read at a comfortable pace and be happy with that!

Cath said...

Kristen: I too swear that 'this year' I WILL get to Name of the Wind.

I totally agree with that sentiment.

Nan said...

Your shelves look wonderful. I just recently quit Goodreads, but the few times I peeked in this year, I was amazed at how many books you were reading! You've always said we read about the same amount, but not this year! Do you attribute it to anything special? Did you take certain times in the day to read a certain amount of time? I've missed your words, and hope I can spend more time reading blogs this year.

Cath said...

Nan: You just answered a question I had about Goodreads and that was why I'd lost a follower. I had no idea who it was.

I think one of the reasons I got through more books was because I read a lot of vintage crime books which are not very long. Most are only around 200 pages. Also for several months of the year there was no much on the TV in the evenings so I was reading instead.

I rather expect our numbers will be more similar this year.

You have new grandchildren and I know from experience that they take up more of your time. Enjoy, they are not babies very long. My grand-daughter is now 14 and my grandson - 8. Your books will be there when you're ready for them.

Susan said...

Wow, what a year of reading, Cath! Loved all the SF books you read as well as the vintage crime. I also took a peek at your shelf of books to read and smiled when I saw all the fantasy on it!

I have never made it to 100 books. I was on target this year and then October happened. So, when I can read like that again - more than 8 books a month is hard, isn't it? And I want to absorb what I'm reading, take it in, because I am spending my time on it. I want to enjoy my books! So, while 100 is a goal, it's mostly to remind myself that I could be reading :-)

Happy 2015 Cath. I'm happy you had so many favourites from this year.

Cath said...

Thanks, Susan! It really was a vintage crime year for me and I really enjoyed those books much more than I imaged I would.

The fantasy books are in readiness for Carl's OUaT challenge. I like to be ready for these things. LOL!

I honestly did not think I could ever make it to 100. Yes, more than 8 books a month is hard. Several months I found it easy but then suddenly in September, for some reason, it became really hard and I was struggling. Overdosed a bit maybe. Reading too quickly...

Happy 2015 to you too, Susan. I really hope you are able to get back to reading properly this year.

Nan said...

I can't believe how old your grandchildren are now! I've been reading about them, in little mentions for years now. I have never enjoyed my time like I do now. It's so amazing! Speaking of vintage crime, I seem to be able to read just one author now on my kindle and that's Arthur Upfield. I think I won't stop until I've read every one of them. And now I've ordered paper versions of his short stories.

Cath said...

Nan: I know... the time flies and it's rather scary. I'm so pleased to hear you're enjoying your time with your grandchildren. It really is a very special time when they're that young. And *grandma* is a very special person to these little ones. :-)

I'll investigate Arthur Upfield as he's a completely new author to me.