Dec 29, 2009

Reading Retrospective: 2009 in Review

Back at the end of June I took a look at my reading habits over the first six months and set some goals for myself for the remainder of the year. I'd like to take a look at the entire year as a whole and see if I managed to meet the projections I made for myself.

Over the course of 2009, I managed to read 39 books and 20 graphic novels (59 individual items total)

Here's a few interesting stats over the last 12 months.

Science Fiction: 16
Fantasy: 16
Horror: 2
General Fiction: 1
Literary Fiction: 3
Urban Fantasy: 5
Non-Fiction: 3
Star Wars Books: 6
Short Story Anthologies: 3
Young Adult Books: 5
Fiction Authors I Hadn't Read Before: 20 (+3 Graphic Novel Authors)
Books over 500 pages: 8
Graphic Novels: 20
Male Authors: 23 authors, 29 total fiction books
Female Authors: 5 authors, 7 total fiction books

I also managed to read 20 fiction authors I never have before as well as 3 new graphic novel writers.
  • Paolo Bacigalupi
  • Joe Abercrombie
  • Stephenie Meyer
  • Jose Saramago
  • Susanna Clarke
  • Bernard Beckett
  • Alan DeNiro
  • China Mieville
  • Christie Golden
  • Harry Connolly
  • Joe Schreiber
  • Lauren Beukes
  • M.L.N. Hanover/Daniel Abraham
  • Norman Partridge
  • Paul McAuley
  • Philip K. Dick
  • Scott Westerfeld
  • Tim Waggoner
  • Robert Charles Wilson
  • Paul Kemp
  • Brian K Vaughn
  • Bryan Lee O' Malley
  • Joss Whedon
Out of those 20 I would say Abercrombie, Bacigalupi, Mieville, Beukes, Abraham, Westerfeld, and Kemp are the ones I would be most likely to read again. I won't mention the worst but lets just say Urban Fantasy is very hit or miss for me.

My goal for this year was to average at least 50 pages a day or about 1 full length novel a week. Without graphic novels I finished with 40 completed fiction books, 12 off the book a week of 52 (77%) Page count wise, I read a grand total of 14,858 or so pages regular word filled book for an average of 40.7 a day. This puts me at 81.4% of my goal, a little bit higher than my book count but still below my goal. I’m going to try to shoot for the 52 book or 50 pages a day mark next year, but I don’t know if it will be doable with increased workload, getting married, moving, and trying to maintain this blog.

On the other hand if you include my 20 graphic novels and 4388 pages, I am suddenly at 59 books and 52.7 pages a day. So I kinda made it but unfortunately not to my own satisfaction.

I continued to manage the even balance of Fantasy and SF that I started the year with. I didn’t read as many series in the second half of the year but as I bounced from genre to genre, I managed to get a good mix of everything from Star Wars to Urban Fantasy to Hard SF to Literary fiction without being oversaturated. I would like to increase my horror input ever so slightly next year, and with a few suggestions from Llaird Barron and upcoming novels from Joe Hill and a few others, I might be able to do it.

I find that reading a variety of fiction lends itself to keeping things fresh. I’ve read other blogs that tend to focus more on one aspect of speculative fiction (Epic Fantasy for example) that have mentioned that reading and reviewing similar books over and over again can get monotonous. Luckily for me, I enjoy most of the speculative subgenres and finding something new and different is fairly easy. It’s reading everything I want to that’s a problem.

One place where I will admit that I need to work on is reading books by female authors. Only 7 books out of 40 were written by women which is hardly excusable. My only defense is that the 2nd half of the year was oriented toward Keeping An Eye On authors which were predominantly male but I need to be more conscious of this in 2010. I don’t want to set a quota for myself but there are a lot of good authors out there that I’m simply not reading and I'm not sure what else I could do. There will probably be something to address this in my forthcoming 2010 Reading Resolutions post but I’m not quite sure what yet.

Speaking of Reading Resolutions, let's take a look at my Goals for the 2nd Half of 2009 that I made at my Mid-Year Review. You don't really have a choice do you?

Goals for the 2nd Half of 2009
  1. Continue to read at a 50+ page a day pace
  2. Read at least 3 more short fiction anthologies
  3. Read Shadows of the Wind
  4. Read at least 3 more Hugo/Nebula winners
  5. Tackle Y: The Last Man (10 Graphic Novels)
1. Continue to read at a 50+ page a day pace (Actual 40.7) – Failed

I don’t know if this is a realistic goal but I went for it. I’ll try it again next year too.

2. Read at least 3 more short fiction anthologies (Actual 1, Started 2 others) – Failed

I have trouble sticking with anthologies because it’s so easy to jump outside the anthology once you finish a story and set the book down. It also doesn’t help that novels get all the attention on the blogosphere so they tend to be much more hyped

3. Read Shadows of the Wind (Actual Did not read Shadows of the Wind)

No Excuse Here

4. Read at least 3 more Hugo/Nebula winners (Actual 0, Possible 1 if The Windup Girl get what it deserves

Focusing more on new books rather than old books to establish the blog was the culprit here. Look for a Reading Resolution here too.

5. Tackle Y: The Last Man (Actual BOOYAH!)

I’m not a complete failure.

I’m also pleased to say that I've successfully maintained this blog and written over 200 posts to date. I've also slowly developed a tiny following here at Stomping on Yeti, enough that I’ve started attracting attention from a couple of publishers. I’m definitely open to receiving review copies of books but the core principle of my blog remains the same: high quality, honest content. Some of my once favorite blogs have become nothing more than publisher mouthpieces full of contests and excerpts and little else. I don’t want to join those ranks. If I can get through 2010 with blog, integrity, sanity, and real life intact, I won't have too much to complain about.

If you feel up to it, take a look at your own year in review and post a link in the comments. I'd be interested to see what my readers are reading.

Now is also the chance to comment on anything you like, dislike, want more of/less of here at Stomping on Yeti. Any recommendations you have to make my blog better in 2010?

Come back later this week for my 5 Favorite 2009 books (everyone is doing it!) as well as my Reading Resolutions for the 2010 campaign.


  1. Looking forward to seeing what you bring us next year, Patrick!

  2. Hi Patrick,

    I'll lead off with the figures:

    61 Books in total (my reading year starts on the 16th Dec 2008 and Ends on the 15th Dec 2009)

    36 SF
    8 Fantasy
    12 YA (A mixture of Sf & Fantasy)
    5 Urban Fantasy

    (23,418 pages in total)

    26 Authors (15 Male/11 Female)

    (There were also 3 novels I started that I didn't finish)

    The only graphic novels read were the first 5 collections of Robert Kirkman's "The Walking Dead"

    I've returned to reading spec fiction after a close to 2 decade break, so all of the authors I read are new to me.

    Because I'm catching up on nearly 20 years of spec fic, one of my approaches has been to work my way through book series.

    I'm also a steady reader of non-fiction (which is pretty eclectic) but I'm not sure how many I read this year.

    Doing a rough and ready calculation I've worked out that I'd would read in the range of 7 - 11 hours a week.

    I use public transport(bus, train, bus) to get to and from work three days a week - and I pass the transit and waiting times by reading. I also get out of my office most lunchtimes and usually read for 30 to 40 minutes each time. I also have some tasks at work that create lull times (generally while I'm completing some Audio/Video digitising/editing/rendering/transcoding etc) where I read while the computers chugging away.

    Most nights after I've done my kid wrangling and chores, I will do some reading.

    I don't watch movies anymore, I don't watch much TV and I'm a very casual video game player. My other main recreation is solving sudoku (and related) puzzles.

    Reading is one my main enjoyments in life and after close to 2 solid decades of reading non-fiction, I'm glad that I've rediscovered my love of reading spec fic. It's also reading it with a couple of decades of "adulthood" under my belt.




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