A mostly mainstream year

The figures are in. Actually they’ve been in since January 1 but I’ve only just got round to processing them. Of the books read in 2009, with 2008’s figures in brackets:

  • Total: 54 (53)
  • Science fiction /fantasy: 19 (30)
  • Translated from Swedish: 1 (4)
  • (Auto)biography/fact: 9 (5)
  • Crime: 3 (3)
  • Gave up: 1 (2)

A mere 19 science fiction or fantasy! That’s even counting ones like Boom! by Mark Haddon which is technically of that genre but not entirely serious – but not, though, counting No Highway by Nevil Shute, which for the most part is an enjoyable and prescient progenitor of the techno-thriller genre punctured at the end by a séance providing the denouement. I got the feeling Shute ran out of ideas: “The vital clue is lying in the middle of the Canadian wilderness and our hero needs to find it – how I can get it to him?”

But anyway. 19 out of 53. 36%! That must be the lowest quite literally for decades. A marked increase in factual reading, though. Other people’s lives can be interesting. I also note that I managed an entire year without reading a single thing by Terry Pratchett, which has been unheard of since I first discovered the man. That would have changed if anyone had got the hint and given me Unseen Academicals for Christmas. (Gosh, I have a birthday in February, what could people possibly give me? [Bonusbarn muses: “You probably don’t want anything pirated, do you?”]).

And because I know you’re dying to ask, the 54 are:

  • The Years of Rice and Salt, Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Resurrection Men, Ian Rankin
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Strange Itineraries, Tim Powers
  • Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell
  • Blind Faith, Colin Harvey
  • The Business, Iain Banks
  • Nice Work, David Lodge
  • Varjak Paw, S.F. Said
  • The Bookseller of Kabul, Åsne Seierstad
  • Stealing Water – A Secret Life in an African City, Tim Ecott
  • The Sacred Diary of Adrian Plass, on Tour: Aged Far Too Much to Be Put on the Front Cover of a Book, Adrian Plass
  • Changeling, Mike Oldfield
  • The Oz Suite, Gerard Houarner
  • The Stress of her Regard, Tim Powers
  • The Second Rumpole Omnibus, John Mortimer
  • The Odessa File, Frederick Forsyth
  • The Day of the Jackal, Frederick Forsyth
  • The Jennifer Morgue, Charles Stross
  • Principles of Angels, Jaine Fenn
  • The Prefect, Alastair Reynolds
  • Where Eagles Dare, Alistair Maclean
  • Moab is my Washpot, Stephen Fry
  • Life of Pi, Yann Martel
  • Dead and Alive, Hammond Innes
  • The Inferior, Peadar Ó Guilín
  • The Uncommon Reader, Alan Bennett
  • Future Bristol, Colin Harvey
  • Icehenge, Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Endymion Spring, Matthew Skelton
  • Microserfs, Douglas Coupland
  • The Ghost, Robert Harris
  • Boom!, Mark Haddon
  • The Owl Service, Alan Garner
  • Jason, J. M. Marks
  • Elidor, Alan Garner
  • Sirius, Olaf Stapledon
  • Odd John, Olaf Stapledon
  • The Last Templar, Michael Jecks
  • Miracles of Life, J.G. Ballard
  • No Highway, Nevil Shute
  • deadkidsongs, Toby Litt
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • A Parliamentary Affair, Edwina Currie
  • Fighter Boys, Patrick Bishop
  • The Storm Prophet, Hector Macdonald
  • Pompeii, Robert Harris
  • John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace, Jonathan Aitken
  • Christianity Explored, Rico Tice & Barry Cooper
  • The Sorcerer’s Tale: Faith and Fraud in Tudor England, Alec Ryrie
  • The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, John Boyne
  • A Spot of Bother, Mark Haddon
  • William Wilberforce, William Hague
  • Out Stealing Horses, Per Petterson

And life was too short to read Master of Hawks by Linda E. Bushyager.

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