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Reading Roundup: 2009/10 in Review

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23 October 2010 | 04:59 pm

The end of August was also the end of my seventh reading-year, dating back to when I first began tracking every book that I read in September 2003.  I read 157 books in 2009/10, making it my second-best reading year to date-- just behind 2008/09, in fact.

This year I began a new policy of selecting the best book I read every month. For curiosity's sake, I put those twelve books into a miniature tournament bracket, and through a complicated process, I was able to rank the "best" twelve books I read all year into a somewhat arbitrary list.  I have to say, I'm rather pleased with the variety of items that came up:

12. The Black Canary Archives, Volume 1 by Robert Kanigher with Gardner Fox and Dennis O'Neil
11. The Absolute Sandman, Volume Two by Neil Gaiman
10. Bernice Summerfield: The Inside Story by Simon Guerrier
9. Lord Jim: A Tale by Joseph Conrad
8. The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley
7. Air (or, Have Not Have) by Geoff Ryman
6. Surfacing by Margaret Atwood
5. His Dark Materials, Book Three: The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman
4. The Woodlanders by Thomas Hardy
3. Adam Bede by George Eliot
2. Doctor Who: The Writer's Tale: The Final Chapter: The definitive story of the BBC series by Russell T Davies and Benjamin Cook
and first and foremost...

Pick of the Year: Arthur & George by Julian Barnes

You can compare everything below to the 2007/08 data here and 2008/09 here.

This is what we can see of my genre/series/author habits of the past year:

Doctor Who
Star Trek141.28.9%
Star Wars
Media Tie-In Subtotal342.821.7%
His Dark Materials [1]60.53.8%
Canopus in Argos: Archives60.53.8%
Tamora Pierce30.31.9%
Planet of the Apes [1]20.21.3%
Other Science Fiction/Fantasy171.410.8%
General SF&F Subtotal342.821.7%
Green Arrow161.310.2%
The Sandman20.21.3%
Other DC Comics131.18.3%
Marvel Comics20.21.3%
Comic Book Subtotal
Thomas Hardy60.53.8%
Other Victorian Literature50.43.2%
Virginia Woolf [1]60.53.8%
Other Literature272.317.2%
Literature Subtotal443.728.0%
Other Nonfiction [2]121.07.6%

NOTE 1: These include not only the primary work, but also adaptations of it (comics, sequels, reinterpretations, stage plays, &c.) and nonfictional texts about it.
NOTE 2: Nonfiction connected to a particular TV series is included with that TV series's total.

This year, I think, is the first time that my "literary" reading has overtaken that of media tie-ins.  Thank you, graduate school and more diverse reading tastes. I can also put this information into a pleasing graph, of course, with the largest subtotal broken down:

These levels have fluctuated quite a bit over the years:

Star Trek41.1%38.0%25.5%14.7%21.1%13.7%8.9%22.9%
Doctor Who16.6%15.5%18.4%11.6%13.2%6.2%10.2%12.9%
Star Wars10.6%11.6%11.3%15.5%12.5%11.2%2.5%10.6%
Other Tie-In0.7%6.2%3.5%3.1%1.3%----2.0%
General SF&F9.9%6.2%21.3%14.7%20.4%22.4%21.7%17.0%
DC Comics--4.7%0.7%2.3%7.2%9.3%19.7%8.2%
Other Comics------3.1%4.6%2.5%1.3%8.2%
Victorian Literature----1.4%6.2%--7.5%3.2%2.6%
Other Literature14.6%10.9%14.9%25.6%16.4%21.1%24.8%18.4%
Nonfiction6.6%7.0%2.8%3.1%3.3%6.2%7.6% 5.3%
TOTAL151129141129152161157 1,020
PER MONTH12.610.811.810.812.713.413.1 12.1

I continue to be pleased by these trends, though I was astounded to see how few Star Trek books I read all last year.  I think I've already read that many this year!  That's what comes of being more picky-and-choosy with the novels, I suppose.  Other Literature rose a little bit, which is nice, and DC Comics, I was unsurprised to see, rose a lotDoctor Who rebounded nicely.

As usual, the rate I read books was exceeded by the rate I acquired them. You can see the number of books I had remaining on this chart:

Sometimes it hold steady, sometimes it goes down, but mostly it keeps on going up.  I'm never getting anywhere, am I?


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