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This year, for the first time ever, I resolved to review every book I read. It’s not quite the end of the year, and I intend to boost the total quite a lot over the next ten day , thanks to the combination of books as presents and time to read.

However, everyone seems to be doing their end of year book recaps this week, so I thought I’d join in. Tomorrow, I’m putting up my rather random awards. For today though, as I’m in a very geeky mood, here on some stats on my reading and a list of what I read:

    •  I read 25 books. I’d have liked it to be more and I’d estimate that it usually would be, but writing/editing/promoting my books inevitably eat into my reading time.
    •  2 were fiction (both self-publishing advice) the others were all fiction. Apart from my university years when I’d probably read about 4 history books a week, that’s always been roughly my ration. I like my writing to be as far removed from reality as possible.
    • I was keen to review books that I re-read cover to cover, as well as new ones. In the end, there was only one re-read, The Forbidden Game. I was surprised but pleased to find I still loved it almost as much as when I was a teenager.
    •  It’s a slightly artificial distinction, but of the fiction, I’d say 10 were YA and 13 “proper adult.”  Note to self: grow up!
    •  I don’t like the distinction that’s often made between “literary fiction” and “genre fiction” Out of interest however, I’d say that at face value, I read:
          • 2 books that were fairly clearly literary (probably my worst record since my teens, but in my defence I was researching a vampire novel)
          •  9 that were broadly paranormal
          • 4 that were fantasy
          • 1 that was sci-fi
          • 4 dystopian (when that did become a genre all of its own?!)
          • 2 “chick-lit” (urgh)
          • 1 crime
          • I’d add that 2 that I’ve classed as fantasy and one that I’ve classed as crime could easily be regarded as literary too by a sympathetic, open-minded reviewer.
  • Ratings-wise I gave:
          • Three 2 stars
          • Eight 3 stars
          • Twelve 4 stars
          • One five stars
  • Looking at that I think I’m definitely on the generous side with reviews (I’m not sure all those ‘four starrers’ really merited it) but I think it shows I’m also getting good at picking outs books I’m going to enjoy. There’s nothing worse than when someone gives a book a 1 star review on the basis that “I hate vampires/elves/time travel, they’re stupid and over-done” when the blurb made abundantly clear that that’s what the book is about.

Here’s a list of the books, in order of when I read them.

  1. Forbidden Game Bind-Up (LJ Smith)
  2. The Wise Man’s Fear (Patrick Rothfuss)
  3. The Lies of Locke Lamora (Scott Lynch)
  4. Soulless – The Parasol Protectorate (Gail Carriger)
  5. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins)
  6. Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins)
  7. Got You Back (Jane Fallon)
  8. Mockingjay (Suzanne Collins)
  9. Pretties (Scott Westerfeld)
  10. The Slap (Christos Tsiolkas)
  11. Girl Reading (Katie Ward)
  12. The Fledging of Az Gabrielson (Jay Amory)
  13. Nightfall – Vampire Diaries 5 (LJ Smith)
  14. The Urth of the New Sun (Gene Wolfe)
  15. Shadow Souls – Vampire Diaries 6 (LJ Smith)
  16. Midnight – Vampire Diaries 7 (LJ Smith)
  17. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (Susanna Clarke)
  18. The Secret Life of a Slummy Mummy (Fiona Neill)
  19. The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern)
  20. Smart Self-Publishing (Zoe Winters)
  21. Consider Phelbas (Iain M Banks)
  22. Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing (Catherine Howard)
  23. The Iron Witch (Karen Mahoney)
  24. Oxford Whispers (Marion Croslydon)
  25. Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)

So how does that compare with your reading for the year, in terms of quantity, quality or variety? What did you think of any of these books?

Tune in tomorrow for my pick of some of the best and worst of these, alongside some more personal awards…