Reading stats for 2013

Inspired as always by Sean Wright, where he shows his reading stats for the world to see, I’ve decided to do the same again this year. In 2012, I made a lot of rash claims about what I would do in 2013 reading wise. I met very few of those claims. And I quote:

  • Claim 1: “I am really looking forward to Perfections by Kirstyn McDermott, Blood and Dust by Jason Nahrung and Quiver by Jason Fischer. They are all loaded up on the Kindle ready to read and get my year off to an Australian start. “

Well OK, yes I did this one. And they were all brilliant (see my reviews of PerfectionsBlood and Dust and Quiver).

  • Claim 2: “I also should mention the last volume of the Wheel of Time series is coming out in a few days. I started reading this series when I was a teenager and now sheer bloody mindedness is keeping me going. Having said that the last three books did lead me to the writing of Brandon Sanderson and I do quite like his work. But mostly I just need to see how the damn thing ends.”

OK, I did that one too. Finishing The Wheel of Time series has removed a weight I didn’t know I was carrying around. I’ve also determined that I won’t need to read the series again until I retire and am scratching around looking for ways to fill the empty void that my life will probably become. Or something.

  • Claim 3: “I’m also hanging out to see what Deborah Biancotti does next. Given how much I’ve enjoyed all her work so far, I don’t even really mind what it is that she writes, but I am secretly hoping for something longer set in the Bad Power universe.”

She didn’t publish anything! Well, not anything in the long form. She did announce the publication of a novella, but not until 2015. That’s a long time to wait, Ms Biancotti. A long, long time. So, not done but not my fault.

  • Claim 4: “I’ve just received the Library of America 1950s Sci-Fi collection curated by Gary K Wolfe – I think there are 9 novels in there, which will constitute the “learning more about the history of the genre” phase of my reading this year.”

Yeah, I didn’t read a single one of those novels. They look very nice on my bookshelf though. I know Gary is a huge reader of this blog (*) so my apologies. 2014 is the year of improving my SF reading credibility – promise!

  • Claim 5: “I’m currently rethinking my short story approach, but I will look to read Jonathan Strahan’s Best of the Year for 2012 to catch up on the good quality short fiction from 2012 that I missed. I’m also considering committing to Strahan’s Eclipse Online series of short stories which I think is an excellent forum.”

Well, I bought Jonathan Strahan’s Best of the Year for 2012. Does that count? Short fiction reading went the way of the dodo for me this year. I kept up with Aurealis (barely) and that was about it. My Kindle mocks me with oodles of back issues of Analog, Asimovs, Clarkesworld, Lightspeed etc, which I’ve only dipped into sporadically and randomly. 

  • Claim 6: “There are quite a few “must read” books from 2012 that I haven’t actually read yet (e.g. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson)”

I did actually manage this, in the dying gasps of the year. And pretty much only 2312 by KSR. I can’t even remember what the other “must read” books of 2012 were.

  • Claim 7: “I also intend to have read the Ditmar and Aurealis Award short lists before the respective award ceremonies, especially so I can vote intelligently in the Ditmars.”

Yeah, I didn’t do that. And frankly, I was a bit silly for even suggesting I would. There are a LOT of works published in Australia each year.

  • Claim 8: “In 2012 I completely failed to read the Hugo short list. I intend to fail to do so again this year.”

Nailed it! As promised, I completely failed to read the Hugo short list in 2013.

So, given all that failure, what did I read? 

  • Total number of books read: 26 (down from 42)
  • Total by female authors: 13 (50%) (down from 60%)
  • Total by male authors: 12 (46%) (up from 40%)
  • Total by a mix of authors: 1 (4%)
  • Total by Australian/New Zealanders: 17 (65%)

While I was happy to be focusing on the greater Australiasian region, in going back over my admittedly small sample of books read, I didn’t read anything outside of the North America/UK/Australia/NZ block in 2013. And that is really disappointing.

Looking back over my Goodreads reviews, my 5 star reviews included two books by Kirstyn McDermott (Perfections and Caution: contains small parts), The Corpse-Rat King by Lee Battersby, Black Glass by Meg Mundell and Blood and Dust by Jason Nahrung. So, I guess that constitutes my reading recommendations for the year that was (and early 2014 5-star review went to Bloody Waters by Jason Franks, but I shouldn’t spoil next year’s reading post too much!).

The 2013 Australian Women Writers Challenge was another source of inspiration for reading this year, and I’m pleased to say that I made it to my goal. I’ve signed up again for 2014 – if you haven’t already, then check it out.

What else for 2014? Well, if 2013 has taught me anything it is that making rash predictions is a mugs game. But I’d like to get to that “history of the field” reading I mentioned in last year’s blog. And I’d like to read more fiction from non-North American/UK/Australia/New Zealand sources. And I really do need to keep up with those Best of the Year books. THESE ARE NOT PREDICTIONS. Just statements of desire.

What did you read that tickled your fancy in 2013? What’s coming up in 2014 that you absolutely cannot wait for? Tell all in the comments below.

 

(*) This is what we call in the industry “a lie”. Gary K Wolfe wouldn’t be seen within 5 kms of this blog! Well unless he is very lost. Or has a Google alert on his name. In which case: hi!

Author: mark

A writer of speculative fiction and all round good egg. Well, mostly good.

OK, sometimes good.

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