Since 2010, I've been keeping a record of the books I read. During this time, I've averaged 68 books per year; the smallest annual total was 33 in 2011, and the largest 108 in 2018. In 2023 I barely beat my lowest count, reading only 35 books. I really can't account for it, other than to say that life happens. We travelled a lot, family matters took up a lot of time and energy, and a couple of projects took priority (I'd like to say that one of those projects was genealogy, but that's another area that got neglected). However, nothing stands out as a reason to have read fewer than three books per month. Here's to a better 2024!

The stats from 2023:

  • Total books: 35
  • Fiction: 28 (80%)
  • Non-fiction: 7 (20%)
  • Months with most books: November (6)
  • Month with fewest books: October (0)
  • Most frequent authors: Brian Jacques and J.R.R. Tolkien each had four; Jeff Wheeler, Trenton Lee Stewart, and Zenna Henderson had three; other than that it was ones and twos. As I said, it was a slow year.
  • Interesting fact: Nine of the 35 books I read on the recommendation of grandchildren, six were recommended by an author friend, and many of the others were an indulgence in books/authors from my childhood. I'm not making much progress on my extremely long "To Read" list, but I am having fun.

Here's the list, sorted by title; links are to reviews. The different colors in the titles only reflect whether or not you've followed a hyperlink. The ratings (★) and warnings (☢) are on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest/mildest. Warnings, like the ratings, are highly subjective and reflect context, perceived intended audience, and my own biases. They may be for sexual content, language, violence, worldview, or anything else that I find objectionable. Nor are they completely consistent. For example, Brandon Sanderson's books could easily rate a content warning in all of the above categories, yet they are mostly not inappropriate to the context and could be considered quite mild—for a modern book. Your mileage may vary.

Title Author Category Rating/Warning Notes
Antifragile Nassim Nicholas Taleb non-fiction ★★ Really hard to rate this. Some very interesting ideas, but the style is as confusing to me as Joyce's "Ulysses," so I didn't get much out of it.
The Anything Box Zenna Henderson fiction ★★★  
The Art of Evil Blair Bancroft fiction ★★★★ ☢ Almost a must-read for visiting the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. Language and mild sexual references.
At First Light Barbara Nickless fiction ★★★ ☢  
Badger Hills Farm 0: Timothy of the 10th Floor Jenny Phillips fiction ★★★★ Good story, but intended for school so the format is annoying.
The Bible: Apocrypha   non-fiction ★★★★ Revised Standard Version
The Bible: New Testament   non-fiction ★★★★★ King James Version
The Bible: Old Testament   non-fiction ★★★★★ King James Version
The Black Stallion Returns Walter Farley fiction ★★★★  
Captain Cook Alistair MacLean non-fiction ★★★★  
The Christmas Train David Baldacci fiction ★★★  
Force 10 from Navarone Alistair MacLean fiction ★★★★  
The Guns of Navarone Alistair MacLean fiction ★★★★  
The Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkien fiction ★★★★★  
Holding Wonder Zenna Henderson fiction ★★★  
A Hunter-Gatherer's Guide to the 21st Century Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein non-fiction ★★★★ Lots of good, a small amout bad, some weird.
Is It Always Fun to Travel Abroad? Antonio Morales-Pita non-fiction ★★  
The Island Stallion Walter Farley fiction ★★★★  A huge favorite from childhood.
Jack Zulu and the Waylander's Key S. D. Smith and J. C. Smith fiction ★★★ Interesting story, weak in places, some very nice spots.
Kingfountain 1: The Queen's Poisoner Jeff Wheeler fiction ★★★★★ An absolute delight.
Kingfountain 2: The Thief's Daughter Jeff Wheeler fiction ★★★ Mostly great, but too much romance.
Kingfountain 3: The King's Traitor Jeff Wheeler fiction ★★★★ Not quite as good as the first book, but still excellent.
The Lord of the Rings 1: The Fellowship of the Ring J. R. R. Tolkien fiction ★★★★★ Always worth re-reading.
The Lord of the Rings 2: The Two Towers J. R. R. Tolkien fiction ★★★★★  
The Lord of the Rings 3: The Return of the King J. R. R. Tolkien fiction ★★★★★  
Maigret and the Apparition Georges Simenon fiction ★★★  
MBS 1: The Mysterious Benedict Society Trenton Lee Stewart fiction ★★★★★  
MBS 2: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey Trenton Lee Stewart fiction ★★★★  
MBS 3: The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma Trenton Lee Stewart fiction ★★★★  
Menace at Lincourt Manor Blair Bancroft fiction ★★★★  
Poems and Uncollected Stories Zenna Henderson fiction ★★★  
Redwall 9: Pearls of Lutra Brian Jacques fiction ★★★★★  
Redwall 10: The Long Patrol Brian Jacques fiction ★★★★★  
Redwall 11: Marlfox Brian Jacques fiction ★★★★★  
Redwall 12: The Legend of Luke Brian Jacques fiction ★★★★  


Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, February 19, 2024 at 9:41 am | Edit
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I only read 33! Way too distracted by my computer. I did have some projects like another t-shirt quilt and my genealogy obsession.

Most of the books I read were the dark murder mysteries set in Scandinavia or the British Isles. I did read Demon Copperhead, which was a Pulitzer Prize winner. Seems like I should have followed it with David Copperfield to see the connection, but I didn't.

I read two non-fiction, one about hiking the AT and the other that someone wrote about growing up in Granby. My desire to read non-fiction has gone nearly completely out the window.

Posted by dstb on Monday, February 19, 2024 at 11:01 am

My fiction percentage has been gradually rising over time. Partly because books recommended by grandchildren tend to be shorter, easier, and fictional, as do some of the books of my childhood. (Jonathan is the exception; his books are either very long fiction or nonfiction with more philosophy than I can comfortably swallow.) But also, these days I find myself gravitating toward "comfort reading."

Posted by SursumCorda on Monday, February 19, 2024 at 12:03 pm
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