2016 in Review

So, I did not accomplish my reading goal for 2016 (reading and reviewing more books in 2016 than I did in 2015). Many things contributed to that, but the root cause was that I didn't make enough time for reading. Much of the time that could have gone to reading went to playing Hearthstone (a good thing) and obsessing over the 2016 US election (mostly a waste of time and particularly energy, although I'm not sure I could have stopped). That said, I did get quite a lot of reading done at the end of the year, and I'm hoping to keep up that momentum for next year.

In 2016, I did a lot of re-reading and comfort reading. I'm probably going to continue with some of the re-reading in 2017, since I'm enjoying it, but my reading goal for the year is to get back to reading award nominees and previous award winners. There's so much great new stuff being published that I want to discover. I'm not going to set an explicit goal around number of books, but I am going to make an effort to carve out more time in my schedule for reading books (and less for reading on-line news).

This was another year with two 10 out of 10 books. One of them was a re-read: Lord of Emperors, the second book of Guy Gavriel Kay's Sarantine Mosaic. (I also re-read the first book this year, Sailing to Sarantium, and gave it a 9.) I like nearly all of Kay's historical fantasies, but this duology is one of my personal favorites.

The second 10 out of 10 book was a complete surprise: A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman (translated by Henning Koch). My mother found this book and suggested it to me, and I loved every moment of it. I will definitely be reading more of Backman's work.

There were two more fiction standouts this year: Digger by Ursula Vernon, and The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton. The first is a graphic novel about a wombat who is trying to make her way home from an unexpected detour into a mess of magic and gods. The second is the middle book in a trilogy about an attempt to construct Plato's Just City and all of the philosophical and social problems that ensue (with some bonus science fiction and fantasy elements). Both of them are excellent. Walton is consistently one of my favorite authors, and Ursula Vernon was my great discovery of a new author to read this year. (Not that I've followed through on that much, the year in reading being what it was, but I will be doing so.)

My favorite non-fiction book of the year continues my interest in time management in general and Mark Forster's approaches in particular. Secrets of Productive People was the last book I reviewed this year (just a coincidence, not any intentional attempt to set things up for next year) and the best version of his overall approach to date. If you've not read any of Forster based on my previous recommendations, this is a good place to start.

Also worth mentions were Jeffrey Toobin's The Run of His Life, on the O.J. Simpson case, and Andrew Groen's The Empires of EVE, on the history of player empires in the EVE Online MMORPG. I Kickstarted the latter and didn't regret it.

Below are some additional personal reading statistics, probably only of interest to me.

In 2016, I read and reviewed 32 books, not counting three books that I finished in 2016 but whose reviews will be posted in 2017. Compared to 2015 and its 39 books, this is roughly even. Historically, it's very much on the low side, but it's still 8 books more than in 2014, and the new year is off to a good start. Overall statistics, with the change from last year:

Books read 32 (-7)
Total pages 13,241 (-823)
Average rating 7.41 (+0.12)
Pages per day 36.2 (-2.3)
Days per book 11.44 (+2.08)

The statistics are slightly off because I re-read Turn the Ship Around! for the work book club and had already reviewed it. So arguably one should add another book and 272 pages to that total.

Breakdown by genre:

SF and fantasy 22 69%
Mainstream 2 7%
Non-fiction 7 22%
Graphic novels 1 3%
RPGs 0 0%

Even more heavy on SFF this year, which continues to be because I'm focusing on comfort reading (which you'll see reflected in the next statistics as well). Non-fiction dropped a little.

Of the SF and fantasy novels, here's a rough breakdown of the books by reason for seeking them out:

Award winners 1 5%
Award series 0 0%
Re-reads 10 45%
Genre classics 0 0%
Favorite authors 8 36%
Current SF&F 2 9%
Recommendations 1 5%
Random 0 0%

So many re-reads, including more of Mercedes Lackey's Valdemar series, Guy Gavriel Kay's Sarantine Mosaic, and David Eddings's Belgariad (all previously read before I started writing reviews). This is the first year in quite a while when I didn't really even try to read all the Hugo nominees, let alone the nominees and winners of other awards. That's something I would like to get back to doing in 2017.

Last modified and spun 2017-01-01