Surely I’ve read more??
It seems I have been operating under an illusion for the past few months. If you’d asked me one thing about my reading habit this year, I would have said that I read more of the current year’s new titles than ever before. I didn’t set out with a plan to read the new works but I do like to have at least a sense of what’s new in literature. But when I saw the recently-announced list of 80 finalists for the 2015 Folio Prize, I realised the reality was very different from my perception.
Of those 80 books published in 2014, I have read just two: The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee and How to Be Both by Ali Smith. I’m half way through a third title – All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu and have three more on reserve in the library but I doubt they will get to me before the year is over. I know the list represents only a fraction of what was actually published this year, this is meant to be the cream after all, so it was entirely conceivable that I had read some 2014 titles that just never made the cut. A quick look at my reading list reassured me a little – there were another six works of fiction that I’ve read. Panic over!
The experience did make me look more closely at what I’ve been reading this year. I was in for another surprise – I finished only four titles from my Classics Club list which is very slow progress. If I’m going to complete the 50 books in this project by the target date of August 2017, I’m really going to have to get a move on. I did considerably better with my world literature project fortunately (15 of the books I read fell into this category).
I wouldn’t have known any of this if I hadn’t started keeping a list of everything I’ve read. I never did that before I began blogging so if you’d asked me what I was reading 5 years ago let alone 10 or 15, I wouldn’t have had a clue. Lists it seems do have their purpose.
How has your reading year been – any surprises for you too?
28 thoughts on “Surely I’ve read more??”
I’ve also read only two from that Folio Prize list, though I can’t say I’m surprised as I didn’t make any real effort to keep up with new releases last year. I generally find the majority of my reads are between two and five years old, as I gradually get to all the books everyone recommended in previous years!
Isn’t the end of the year always full of reading surprises? There is always something that catches me off guard. I’ve read a lot of newly published books this year, more than I usually do. And I have read more books in general which is a nice surprise.
You regularly come up with some surprising good reads Stefanie
I actually read a lot of classic short stories for my blog where I post the links for others to read. I find reading two or three shorts a week is doable with all the other writing and editing I do and normal life. Somewhere in there I read a novel over a six- to-eight week period. Classic short stories are quite fulfilling and I get to experience so many different authors’ voices … which is he point for me. Great post today!
That’s a good approach to the challenge of competing demands on your time Paula. I don’t know why your blog posts are not coming through in my blog reader even though I’m following you. How annoying.
I looked up that list and realized I haven’t read even one on that list. I do have J on my bookshelf, but I probably will get to that only early next year.
Classics also are a fail, I read five, but all of them were pretty lightweight. Usually, there is one heavy lengthy book, but this year there were none. Overall, I read more books this year, but it looks like quantity has trumped quality 🙁
I’ve decided that it is not worth fretting about Nish. As long as I’m reading something of quality it doesn’t matter when they were published). It’s all reading …
I haven’t read any of the books on this list, although I mean to! I’ve discovered I really didn’t read many new releases this year. Like you, I did well reading books about other countries. I also read a lot of new authors this year (either first novels or new to me) which I always think is important. I love tracking what I read and seeing the trends.
Keep up the reading from other countries. The authors from smaller countries need all the support they can get.
I will publish my stats in January, but sounds quite good this year with I hope 105 books, goal reached
I wonder if I will ever get to read that much in one year. I will look forward to your wrap up and curious to know what you choose at the favourite of all year.
I am very happy that I now keep lists of my reads…and links to my reviews.
Of the list, I have read We Are Not Ourselves, The Paying Guests, The Night Guest, and I have Lila and Some Luck on Sparky, not yet read.
So maybe I am headed in the right direction…I loved the ones I read.
Enjoy your reading…and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES
I’m thinking of getting Lila as an audio book. I’ve never read anything by Robinson so not sure if her style would work well in audio. What do you think Laurel?
Well I have read about thirty books this year published in the last two years out of a total of 126 so far (nearly two weeks to go) that feels like a huge number to me as I am more inclined toward older things, however I know that I missed a lot of noteworthy books. Perhaps I’ll be reading them when I’m 90.
Take heart Ali, the best ones will still be around many years from now. Maybe it’s even better to wait so the flash in the pan titles can be eliminated?
I am very behind in my Classics Club list reading, too, and as we turn the calendar year to 2015, I realize I only have two years to complete it. My list has so many books I want to read, as I’m sure yours does as well; we may have to devote a few months to just our list. 🙂
Of course, I do love World literature, too. Off to check out your link.
it dawned on my some time ago that these are classics which means they have been around for many years and will likely be around for many more years. so if I don’t finish them by a certain date Bellezza, then I’m not going to be too disturbed
Such a good point!
I’m impressed with your progress on the world literature project. I’m behind on making my list so I’m not quite sure where I’ll end up. I know that I went way over the number of books I intended to read about Britain this year!
I was impressed by your dedication to the UK project Joy – you found books I’ve never ever heard of
Welll, your blog isn’t called “Folio Talk” so I wouldn’t worry. 🙂 I’ve learned not to set myself up for challenges that I know I might not make. Of course, I know some – like yourself, obviously, again 🙂 – like challenging themselves. That’s okay, but doesn’t work for me. I just read whatever comes along or grabs my attention at the moment…and sometimes even then I don’t.
Good point Bryan. Ive found that if I think of challenges more as projects then I enjoy the experience far more.
I’ve only read one, the Flanagan, though I should have read two (the Winton also) but I was overseas when my reading group did that and didn’t manage to get to it. I will read two more in the first half of next year – also Aussies – the Carey and the McFarlane.
I guess I’m not really surprised by my reading this year as I’m pretty conscious of what I’m reading, but am a little frustrated that I didn’t get to read much in the way of translated fiction.
I have been keeping a formal record in a database since 1998, so I have a pretty good sense of what I’ve been reading. Before that, for around a decade I used to record what I’d read in a diary but that was more hit and miss.
I tried buying the Winton while I was in the USA recently because I really wanted to read something from Australia but drew a blank. Even worse, there was not a single novel by him in the two stores I visited. So as a form of redress I’ve just signed up for a Coursera course on Australian fiction.
Oh, that’s great, Karen, the course I mean, not the not finding any books. I assume you’ll share your readings with us?
I’ll dig out the reading list. It will be interesting to get your thoughts on how well this reflects the best of Australian literature
Thanks Karen, I’d love to see it.