Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Sunday Salon: Final Thoughts on 2015


In case you're tired of these end-of-the year posts, let me apologize right up front. I've already shared my favorite books and the initial plan was to skip these gritty details. But when I sat down and filled in the blanks, there were a few things I found interesting and recording it here is the only way I'll remember.

Overall, I'm happy with the way 2015 turned out:

Number of books read
53, roughly one book per week

Fiction/nonfiction
A goal for 2015 was to read more nonfiction, and I broke 30% for the first time ever. 69% fiction and 31% nonfiction

Male/female authors
18 male / 24 female

New-to-me authors
31 authors were new to me this year

Most-read author
No surprise here. I read 6 books by Anthony Trollope in 2015. Elena Ferrante is the runner-up with a total of 5. I've never read more than three books by one author in a single year - 2015 was the year of the author binge!

Books in translation
10 - a record!

Books from my Classics Club list
12 - I've now read 39/50 and my goal is to finish by April 15, 2017.

Audiobooks
I listened to 25 audiobooks in 2015... 10 were audio only, 15  were read/listen combinations. I really love this total immersion approach, especially for classics. I like to have a print copy on hand when I listen to nonfiction. Don't want to miss any maps, graphs, charts, or photos!

Longest book
The Last Chronicle of Barset  by Anthony Trollope
837 pages

Shortest book
The Horla  by Guy de Maupassant
34 pages

Most disappointing book
West of Sunset  by Stewart O'Nan  - a favorite author, a good book, but far from his best (my review)

Reflections

1.
 One book per week is a comfortable reading pace. I don't like to rush and I will not avoid titles simply because they are long. No goodreads challenge for me in 2016... and that's a good thing because my first book of the year is 944 pages long! (City on Fire  by Garth Risk Hallberg)

2.  As much as I enjoy literary fiction and classics, I really love nonfiction, too.  Reaching 30% in 2015 was a first. I'll strive for one third nonfiction in 2016.

3.  Ten translated works happened because of the five Elena Ferrante novels, all translated from Italian. That was a record high, but it would be great to match that number in 2016. I would like to include Russian, German, and Japanese this year.

4.  I've loved audiobooks for nearly 15 years, but the read/listen combination is a newer habit and it's fast becoming an addiction. I started with classics, then expanded to include nonfiction. My walking and listening should increase dramatically when we get to Florida in a couple of weeks.

In closing...

Today is Downton Day! Are you as excited about tonight's episode as I am?
I'll  be back tomorrow with my usual  It's Monday, What Are You Reading?  post.


38 comments:

  1. I think a book a week is great - you do have a life outside of books. Happy New Year!

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    1. Kathy - So true! I would love to read more, but don't have anything I really want to give up.

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  2. I really enjoy statistics posts. Thanks for sharing your summary of a great year in reading!

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    1. Pat - Thanks for reading it all. It was a great year and always fun to reflect on what I've read.

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  3. It does sound like a great year! As you know, you've addicted me to the read/listen combo, and if I can add the walk part it will be perfect. And yes, can't wait for tonight!

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    1. Audrey - The walk is much easier when there is a beach nearby! I've not done very well in the exercise department this fall. 30 minutes until Downton!!!

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  4. I love seeing how everyone reads and I like how you did your stats. I definitely want to read more nonfiction this year. It's one of my favorite genres this year but it got a little neglected last year. I'm also really excited to start tracking audio books this year. I have no idea how many I listened to last year and without tracking them it's harder to remember each one. Have a great week!

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    1. Katherine - Discovering that lighter nonfiction took me out of a reading slump was key this year. I just kept right on reading all sorts of nonfiction after that!

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  5. What a great post! I'm reading City On Fire right now too and think it's terrific so far. Good luck with your 2016 reading goals.

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    1. Diane - We'll have to compare notes on City on Fire! I've barely started, but really like it so far.

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  6. It's great you were able to read so much nonfiction this year! That's one of my goals for 2016 - to read more nonfiction, and to try and find my "niche" within the genre.

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    1. Katie McD - I'm not quite refine enough to have a nonfiction niche yet, but I do like reading about foodie topics, social sciences, medicine, and some history. It would be nice to refine that though.

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  7. I'm trying to read more translated works. My first book of 2016 was from the Italian and very enjoyable. I also love the audio/print options together - I try to cover my based whenever possible with the library copy so I can walk & listen or sit and read LOL

    Here's to a great reading experience in 2016

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    1. Diane - The read/listen combination numbers really surprised me this year, but I do love that feeling of total immersion. Elena Ferrante sure helped my translation numbers ;-)

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  8. I love your stats here. And I also like the listen/read type of thing on occasion. I don't know when I decided that I needed to push harder to read more. Probably when saw how many books some bloggers read. In years past, like 20+ years ago, I read 40-50 a year. Now, I push to be sure to top 100 and even more. I like the slower pace you are suggesting and may try to be OK with that this year. I think I might enjoy my reading more. And, as you said, you don't have to worry about those long books taking up more than their fair share of time.

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    1. Kay - I'm almost embarrassed by my numbers when compared to other book bloggers, but there are just so many other things I like to do! The 50 books a year mark feels right because I can be part of the community and still pursue other interests. Have never been able to break 100!

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  9. Congrats on a great reading year! That's great that you were able to read more non-fiction and books in translation. I was able to add a bit more non-fiction this year and hoping the trend continues this year! Hope your first read of the year is a good one!

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    1. Iliana - I'm pretty happy with the direction my reading took this year. Fingers crossed it continues!

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  10. I am thrilled that it is Downton Abbey day, but am sad that it is coming to an end. I love immersion reading too.

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    1. Nise' - I am literally counting the minutes until Downton now!!

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  11. One book a week is about my pace too, more or less. I haven't read much non fiction of late, although I did enjoy historical non fiction in the past.

    Happy New Year, hope yours was great!

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    1. Greg - We had a great New Year. Lots of family, lots of food and fun... the diet starts tomorrow! I haven't read much historical fiction this year and need to add more in for 2016. Hope your new year is off to a good start!

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  12. I too love the read/listen method of reading classics. The voices make such a differences. I plan this in the future too for classics.

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    1. Pam - I especially like beginning classics on audio. For some reason, it's easier for me to get into the story that way.

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  13. I love reading everyone's stats, so no need to apologize! You had a great year. I think a book a week is respectable and I often wonder how some of my blogging friends manage to read 3-4 a week! I came in a bit low this year with a total of 44, but I was traveling for 6 weeks (yikes!) and I never read much when I'm away. Go figure! I hope to read more from my shelves this year and plan to mix it up with fiction and nonfiction. I'm off to a decent start, as I've already finished one novel and am about to finish a memoir. I'm on a roll! :)

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    1. Les - I'd choose traveling for 6 weeks over reading more books any day!! Sounds like you're off to a great start this year :)

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  14. My favorite way to read nonfiction is the read/listen combo. I loved doing this and then passing my print book along to my dad.

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    1. Beth F - I do the same with my FIL! He's getting Oregon Trail next.

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  15. I'm glad you decided to post your stats. I've never kept track but I might starting this year.

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    1. Vicki - I've always liked these posts, but am never sure if others find them boring. It's fun looking back over the year!

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  16. Good job with your book totals! You're brave to take on City on Fire. I really want to read the Ferrante novels (thx to you). I also really got into audio books this year for the first time. Now I'm listening to one per week. It's fun while walking my dog. So good too.

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    1. Thecuecard - Hooray for audiobooks!! The Ferrante novels are excellent on audio, I did a read/listen combo for the last 3. I love it when audiobooks make me want to walk beyond my normal route.

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  17. Looks like you read a great mixture of books in varying forms last year. I also made progress on my Classics Club list and read more non-fictions. Happy reading in 2016.

    p.s. We've already seen Downton Abbey - I hope you enjoy it :-)

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    1. Jessicabookworm - I'm jealous that you get to see Downton Abbey before we do, but I'll be so sad when it ends. Already looking forward to next week's episode!

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  18. I love your summary - great statistics. I need to remember about not rushing as well. It seems that I don't have as much time to read now as I once did and I shouldn't push myself too much as some of the great books I want to read are very long (Tom Jones and Middlemarch!).

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    1. Laura - Middlemarch is such along book, but definitely worth the effort! It's a good thing I haven't signed up to the goodreads challenge... I'm still reading City on Fire and it's 900+pages!

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  19. I'm skipping the Goodreads challenge in 2016, too. Last year I set a low number to try to encourage myself to read longer books but then I paid no attention to that number at all. Which is as it should be!

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    1. Lisa - I haven't regretted my decision to skip the challenge this year. I'd be freaking out about how long it's taking me to read City on Fire if I'd signed up ;-)

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