If you look at pure numbers of books read by me this year, which is 91, then it would seem to have been a very successful reading year for me. I tend these days though to look more carefully at what I read rather than how many. I'm still pleased. Of the 91, 22 were non-fiction. It could be better but it's twice the amount I read last year. I'd like it be around 30 and therefore a third of what I read so I shall just have to try harder next year.
Another interesting statistic is the library book versus own books one. It seems I read 48 library books which means 43 were either my own or borrowed from family. I had thought that I'd read fewer of my own books, so that's interesting. I'm doing the Mount TBR challenge next year and was aiming for 48 of my own books. Possibly I should have pitched that slightly higher and gone for 60. I'll have to see how I go and adjust my category if necessary.
Anyway, without further ado these are the books I enjoyed the most this year. I've split them into fiction first and then non-fiction.
1. Rendezvous With Rama - Arthur C. Clarke
2. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
3. The Ship of Magic - Robin Hobb
4. Unseen Academicals - Terry Pratchett
5. In the Bleak Midwinter - Julia Spencer-Fleming
6. Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter - Tom Franklyn
7. The Last Runaway - Tracy Chevalier
8. The Dead Secret - Wilkie Collins
9. Helliconia Spring - Brian W. Aldiss
10. Dawn - Octavia Butler
Looking at these, half are science fiction and fantasy and the rest either crime or stand-alone stories. I would have expected there to be more crime but thinking about it I have enjoyed rather a lot sci-fi this year. Picking a favourite is very hard... three stand out as being terrific: The Help, The Ship of Magic and Helliconia Spring. I'm not sure I can choose: the problem being that months stretch between reading these books and the impact wears off a bit. If I read them one after the other it would be easier to pick. I think the prize has to go to The Help by Kathryn Stockett for being such a compulsive, thought provoking, brilliant book. I really could not put it down and was always keen to pick it up whenever I sat down to read. That for me is proof of a wonderful book.
1. Serving Victoria - Kate Hubbard
2. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
3. Down the Nile - Rosemary Mahoney
4. A Point of View - Clive James
5. Travels With Macy - Bruce Fogle
6. One Man and His Bike - Mike Carter
7. Turtles in Our Wake - Sandra Clayton
8. Walk the Lines - Mark Mason
9.A Dog Abroad - Bruce Fogle
10. The Happy Isles of Oceania - Paul Theroux (Not reviewed but enjoyed nevertheless.)
Another hard decision on which is my favourite. I seem to have chosen 7 travel books. No surprise there as I'm a comfirmed armchair traveller. The other three are a book of essays (Clive James), a history volume (Serving Victoria) and the first book of Maya Angelou's memoirs. They're *all* fantastic and trying to narrow it down is hard. It comes down to I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Down the Nile and One Man and his Bike. Given that One Man and His Bike by Mike Carter made me want to immediately pack my bags and head off to Scotland, I think it will have to be that.
His wonderful descriptions of the British coast and in particular Scotland - and specifically the Hebridean Islands - stayed with me for weeks. It might seem a bit perverse to choose such an obscure book for my favourite non-fiction of the year, but there you go, sometimes an obscure book will hit you right between the eyes and that one did. Loved it.
I'll leave my thoughts on what I would like to read in 2014 for another post. Suffice it to say that next year is going to be The Year of the Reading Challenge for me. LOL
Last but not least I just want to wish everyone who reads this blog, whether they comment or not, a very Happy New Year. I hope 2014 will be a good year for all and a much better year for those who are struggling at the moment... and I know plenty are. A little bit of peace in the world would go down very nicely too. Surely it can't be too much to hope for.