The Year in Books

According to the Gregorian calendar, the earth has completed yet another orbit around the sun, and thus Earthlings like myself are prone to reflect on the previous orbital period or somesuch. I'm still catching up with 2014 movies (as per usual), but expect the annual Movie Awards season to start shortly. I just posted about my year in beer, so now it's time to take a look at what I read this year. I keep track of my book reading at Goodreads, and they have some fancy statistic generator things that are pretty cool, especially since I now have 5 years worth of reading tracked on the site (though, of course, I'd love to see more details).

First up, let's take a look at overall books read:
Overall Books Read in 2014
So I read 46 books in 2014, significantly more than 2013, but less than my record of 50. There is a bit of a distortion here due to the fact that I was following along with the Hugo Awards this year, so a lot of the "books" are actually short stories, novelettes, or novellas (breakdown below). Cheating? Well, I've certainly done similar things in the past two years, so while it's probably above par, it's not completely ridiculous. Also, it appears that I made up for those shorter stories by reading stories that were significantly longer because my total pages read is the highest ever:
Number of Pages Read in 2014
Significantly more than 2013, but eking out 2012 by just a few hundred pages. Of course, it is tricky to measure your reading by page numbers, but this is basically the most I've read in a year (since I've been keeping track, at least - I'm sure I read more during my schooling days). So anecdotal evidence over the past few years seems to indicate that I read more when I include a lot of shorter material in my literary diet. I'll have to try that out again this year, which should go similarly since my Hugo membership also applies to 2015... Anywho, let's break down the books a bit more:
Longest Book and Book Breakdown
So The Eye of the World takes the honor of longest book, which is not as long as a few books I read in 2013, but at 800 pages, is no slouch. Hitting the runner up (I think) is Edmund Morris' biography of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex (772 pages).

You can also see the breakout of types of book I read:
  • 1 Comic Book (a volume of Locke & Key, which I should really get around to finishing up at some time)
  • 2 Short Stories (though it looks like 2 of the short stories I read for the Hugos were not listed on Goodreads, so I guess the numbers aren't as inflated by this as they may seem)
  • 11 Novellas (also includes Novelettes, because who makes that distinction anymore?) This is the greatest increase from previous years, and takes up a larger chunk of the pie normally reserved for Non-Fiction.
  • 5 Non-Fiction books (which is significantly lower than the past couple years, probably due to my Hugo run)
  • 8 Books written by women (which is a decrease from last year any way you measure it. (Note that this does not include anthologies, but even then, it's still low))
  • 41 Fiction books (probably even more SF/F than in previous years due to my Hugo run)
Goodreads also provides a neat little gizmo that graphs publication dates, which now looks like this:
Books Read by Publication Date
The oldest book of the year was the 1974 The Mote in God's Eye, certainly not as old as I normally go, but again, as you can see in the graph, there were a lot of 2013 and 2014 books in there because of my Hugo run. I'm guessing something similar will happen in 2015 if I follow the Hugos again.

So it's been a pretty good year for reading. I certainly did better than last year, though I did find that the Hugo Awards process distorted things perhaps a bit too much. I enjoyed the exercise, and since my membership still applies, I will most likely follow along again in 2015, but I don't know that I will be paying as close of attention in the following years unless this year's Hugos really knock my socks off. It's a good thing to read outside your comfort zone, but at the same time, I didn't particularly love many of the books/stories on last year's ballot. We shall see, I suppose. In the meantime, I've got plenty of stuff to read, so stay tuned.