2014 Reading List

Number of books read in 2014: 162
New reads: 159 (I re-read three works: Stephen King’s The Stand, and Ruth Rendell’s Make Death Love Me and A Judgement in Stone)

Number of books read in 2013: 192
Number of books read in 2012: 180
Number of books read in 2011: 158
Number of books read in 2010: 150
Number of books read in 2009: 103
Number of books read in 2008: 99
Number of books read in 2007: 85
Number of books read in 2006: 64
Number of books read in 2005: 56

Average read per month: 13.5
Average read per week: 3.11

Number read in worst month: 4 (November)
Number read in best month: 23 (June)

Female authors: 34
Male authors: 32

Fiction: 148
Non-fiction: 14 (marked *; 2013: 17; 2012: 16; 2011: 6; 2010: 12; 2009: 16; 2008: 12; 2007: 10; 2006: 4; 2005: 2)

Scifi/fantasy: 18
Mystery/crime: 97
Literature/fiction: 27
YA: 5
Horror: 1

January (18)
Riot Act by Zoë Sharp
Hard Knocks by Zoë Sharp
First Drop by Zoë Sharp
Road Kill by Zoë Sharp
Second Shot by Zoë Sharp
Third Strike by Zoë Sharp
Fourth Day by Zoë Sharp
Fifth Victim by Zoë Sharp
Die Easy by Zoë Sharp
The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard
Marking Time by Elizabeth Jane Howard
Confusion by Elizabeth Jane Howard
Casting Off by Elizabeth Jane Howard
All Change by ELizabeth Jane Howard
The Shape of Water by Andrea Camilleri
Swimming Sweet Arrow by Maureen Gibbon
The Terracotta Dog by Andrea Camilleri
Coming Clean by Kimberley Rae Miller*

February (12)
The Voice of the Violin by Andrea Camilleri
Excursion to Tindari by Andrea Camilleri
The Scent of the Night by Andrea Camilleri
The Two Sisters of Borneo by Ian Hamilton
Rounding the Mark by Andrea Camilleri
The Patience of the Spider by Andrea Camilleri
The Paper Moon by Andrea Camilleri
August Heat by Andrea Camilleri
The Wings of the Sphinx by Andrea Camilleri
The Track of Sand by Andrea Camilleri
The Potter’s Field by Andrea Camilleri
The Age of Doubt by Andrea Camilleri

March (20)
Machine Man by Max Barry
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
The Ask and The Answer by Patrick Ness
Death of a Policeman by M.C. Beaton
Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Salvation of a Saint by Keigo Higashino
The Telling by Ursula Le Guin
The Headmaster’s Wife by Thomas Christopher Green
The Dragon Head of Hong Kong by Ian Hamilton
The Short History of a Prince by Jane Hamilton
In the Morning I’ll be Gone by Adrian McKinty
The Undertaking by Audrey Magee
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
Mind’s Eye by Håkan Nesser
Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman*
Everything Under the Heavens by Dana Stabenow
Borkmann’s Point by Håkan Nesser
The Return by Håkan Nesser
The Inspector and Silence by Håkan Nesser
Münster’s Case by Håkan Nesser

April (22)
Hour of the Wolf by Håkan Nesser
Where the Spirits Dwell: An Odyssey in the New Guinea Jungle by Tobias Schneebaum*
The Weeping Girl by Håkan Nesser
The Strangler’s Honeymoon by Håkan Nesser
Generation Loss by Elizabeth Hand
Available Dark by Elizabeth Hand
The Crossing Places by Elly Griffiths
The Janus Stone by Elly Griffiths
The House at Sea’s End by Elly Griffiths
A Room Full of Bones by Elly Griffiths
Ruth’s First Christmas Tree by Elly Griffiths
Dying Fall by Elly Griffiths
The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths
Borderlands by Brian McGilloway
Gallows Lane by Brian McGilloway
Bleed a River Deep by Brian McGilloway
The Rising by Brian McGilloway
The Nameless Dead by Brian McGilloway
The Golden Egg by Donna Leon
By Its Cover by Donna Leon
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Insurgent by Veronica Roth

May (9)
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Mink River by Brian Doyle
A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin
The Diddakoi by Rumer Godden
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
The Headmaster’s Papers by Richard A. Hawley
The First Week by Margaret Merrilees
A Plague on Both Your Houses by Susanna Gregory
An Unholy Alliance by Susanna Gregory

June (23)
A Bone of Contention by Susanna Gregory
Eyrie by Tim Winton
A Darker Domain by Val McDermid
Death on Bamboo Lane by Naomi Hirahara
Burned by Thomas Enger
Pierced by Thomas Enger
Scarred by Thomas Enger
The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin
The Quarry by Johan Theorin
The Asylum by Johan Theorin
River of Shadows by Valerio Varesi
The Examined Life by Stephen Grosz*
The Hound of the Baskervilles by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The People Next Door by Roisin Meaney
Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death by M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Vicious Vet by M.C. Beaton
The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith
Agatha Raisin and the Potted Gardener by M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Walkers of Dembley by M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage by M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist by M.C. Beaton
Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death by M.C. Beaton
The Dance of the Seagull by Andrea Camilleri

July (9)
Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey
Caliban’s War by James S.A. Corey
Abbadon’s Gate by James S.A. Corey
Cibola Burn by James S.A. Corey
Treasure Hunt by Andrea Camilleri
Angelica’s Smile by Andrea Camilleri
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Annabel by Kathleen Winter
The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

August (10)
Works of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
The Stand by Stephen King
Untamed State by Roxane Gay
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
Abattoir Blues by Peter Robinson
Principles of Angels by Jaine Fenn
Consorts of Heaven by Jaine Fenn
Guardians of Paradise by Jaine Fenn
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
Bringer of Light by Jaine Fenn

September (15)
Queen of Nowhere by Jaine Fenn
The Swimmer by Joachim Zander
High Sobriety: My Year Without Booze by Jill Stark*
Damaged by Cathy Glass*
Hidden by Cathy Glass*
Cut by Cathy Glass*
The Saddest Girl in the World by Cathy Glass*
Mummy Told Me Not to Tell by Cathy Glass*
I Miss Mummy by Cathy Glass*
The Night the Angels Came by Cathy Glass*
A Baby’s Cry by Cathy Glass*
Please Don’t Take My Baby by Cathy Glass*
Great North Road by Peter Hamilton
Belshazzar’s Daughter by Barbara Nadel
Skeleton Road by Val McDermid

October (11)
The Girl Next Door by Ruth Rendell
The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
Make Death Love Me by Ruth Rendell
A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell
No Man’s Nightingale by Ruth Rendell
Blood Price by Tanya Huff
Blood Trail by Tanya Huff
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
Blood Pact by Tanya Huff
Blood Lines by Tanya Huff
Blood Debt by Tanya Huff

November (4)
Blood Ties by Tania Huff
Blood Debt
by Tania Huff
Pavilion of Women
 by Pearl S. Buck
Imperial Woman by Pearl S. Buck

December (10)
Nora Webster by Colm Toíbín
We are All Completely Beside Ourselves
by Karen Joy Fowler
Cuckoo
by Julia Crouch
Knots and Crosses by Ian Rankin
Hide and Seek by Ian Rankin
Tooth and Nail by Ian Rankin
Strip Jack by Ian Rankin
The Black Book by Ian Rankin
Mortal Causes by Ian Rankin
Let it Bleed by Ian Rankin

While others blog about their year in more general terms, I love looking back at mine via the books I read. I’ll take my cue from Alberto Manguel who considers “his own library of 35,000 to 40,000 books, housed in an old presbytery in rural France, as a type of autobiography”.

A very varied year. Also because I only record things I read from”cover to cover” (so to speak, a misnomer in the electronic age),  this list doesn’t include lots of things I read big sections of. November, with only four books recorded, is the month I was writing a job application and preparing for a job interview. I read LOTS. Web things. Journal articles. Dipped into many books. All useful in helping me prepare, and I got the job. Most are recorded in my diary or my journal, but they didn’t end up in this list.

I always seem to read most when I have holidays or am travelling (see July, 23 books).

Most memorable books:
Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller’s Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman. A fascinating look at cultures very different to mine (Papuan, rich American), and very well-written.

Untamed State by Roxane Gay. I don’t know how to describe this book without giving anything away. Very powerful writing.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan. I’ll admit I wouldn’t have read this if it hadn’t won the Booker Prize, because I am not a fan of war novels. I’m glad I got over my prejudice and read this. Telling the story from the point-of-view of the Australian prisoner-of-war and his Japanese captor was what made it for me, I think. I’ll have to read the author’s other works.

Nora Webster by Colm Toíbín. I’ve enjoyed all of Colm Toíbín’s works. I like his spare style.

Most disappointing:
The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse. So many people rave about Jeeves and Bertie Wooster. I read this one because I thought I should see for myself. I’m sure I’m missing the point but I just kept thinking: “WHY DON’T YOU ALL JUST TALK TO EACH OTHER AND THEN ALL THIS SILLINESS CAN BE CLEARED UP?!” Yes, I must be missing the point.

Other:
Finally read Ian Rankin’s Inspector Rebus series. (I haven’t quite finished it yet – saving Exit Music to prolong the experience.) I tried reading this years ago and could never get into it – probably because I kept trying to read the books but never in the order they were written. Enjoying it and of course now I want to go to Edinburgh.

My non-fiction reading is bulked up by the Cathy Glass books which are her stories of being a foster mother. You might think these books aren’t my usual preferred genre, but they have something in common with the sorts of books I most enjoy: something goes wrong, and the intrepid protagonist solves the mystery/fixes things. See the high number of crime/mystery/thriller works read in 2014: 97 books.

I want to read more Chinese and Malaysian/Indonesian works in their original languages in 2015. This means I will have to use the public library more. Nothing against the public library, I just don’t want to have to return things on time!

Other lists
Jessamyn West’s – this list was the one that inspired me to start my own.
Ricklibrarian’s. I’ve been reading Rick’s blog for years.
Darcy Moore’s.
Elizabeth’s.

Update:
How could I leave out Angel Rivera’s list?

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How do you

The following is an anecdote told by a senior academic at the farewell for the Vice-Chancellor at My Place of Work yesterday.

J, the senior academic: I asked K [the VC], how do you succeed as Vice-Chancellor?

K: Two words: Good Decisions.

J: How do you make good decisions?

K: One word: Experience.

J: And how do you get experience?

K: Two words: Bad Decisions.

At another function, I had the opportunity to ask the VC how he managed his time and stayed balanced. He told me: “8 hours sleep everyday, and take time out whenever you can.”

Good lessons.

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Me and my writing

Page of writing with broad nib

In case you can’t read my scratchings:

Sometimes my writing is just so I can hold the pen and watch the words come out of the nib, liquidly, with ink in whatever colour I might have chosen (usually an unimaginative shade of blue, or plain black, but that’s not the point.)

Right now I’m writing this with my special-purchased-in-Den Haag-Pelikan with its beautiful bold [i meant broad] nib and just loving how it all feels on its paper. Writing my letters with extra flourishes, just so, because I can.

Writing for the sheer mechanics of writing. I hope I never stop enjoying this aspect of it, too mundane for most, I suppose.

 

Other times, of course (in fact most times) the writing is because I have something to say. Or I just want to see my words onscreen. (This month’s writing exercises have been challenging, though. I had to stop writing confessional pieces every single day. I don’t think anyone should be subjected to reading that much tripe!)

It’s not just the physical act of writing, pleasurable though I find it, but the thought that’s behind it, the ideas and the choice of words to convey them, the construction of sentences. I love choosing one word over another, exercising my vocabulary muscles.

I was thinking today about my writing and imagining how my writing would be if I wrote as much as I read. (Is there enough time in the day for that much reading and writing?) Presumably – hopefully – my writing skills would improve.

I don’t think I have a book in me. I mean, I’ve never wanted to write a book, or a novel. From time to time I idly toy with the idea of doing a PhD but I don’t know if there’s any topic that would engage me that much.

I already said I have to write a fair bit for my job (email, papers, articles, reports). Ultimately I just want to write better. However that’s defined.

~~~~~

Today’s topic: “Me and my writing”.

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