This was my first bookblogging post, a rather brief impression of two Neil Gaiman works. Since then I have read about 3,860 books, an average of 257 per year or 21 per month. This peaked in 2008 (371) and 2009 (348), when I had a new job with a long commute and lots of work travel as well. More recently my annual total dropped to 221 in 2016, when I was very distracted by real-world politics, and rose only slightly last year to 243, thanks to the distractions of the Hugo awards. In the first ten months of this year I've already read almost as many books as in the whole of last year (236). I still have a long commute, slightly less business travel (though still quite a lot), but have allowed myself to be overfed by the information firehose of social media of late.
My personal top book for each (calendar) year that I've been reviewing is as follows (with links to my end-of-year round-ups once I started them):
2003 (2 months): The Separation, by Christopher Priest.
2004: The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien (reread).
- Best new read: Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, by Claire Tomalin
2005: The Island at the Centre of the World, by Russell Shorto
2006: Lost Lives: The stories of the men, women and children who died as a result of the Northern Ireland troubles, by David McKittrick, Seamus Kelters, Brian Feeney, Chris Thornton and David McVea
2007: Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
2008: The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition, by Anne Frank (reread)
- Best new read: Vanity Fair: A Novel without a Hero, by William Makepeace Thackeray
2009: Hamlet, by William Shakespeare (had seen it on stage previously)
- Best new read: Persepolis 2: the Story of a Return, by Marjane Satrapi (first volume just pipped by Samuel Pepys in 2004)
2010: The Bloody Sunday Report, by Lord Savile et al.
2011: The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Edward Gibbon (started in 2009!)
2012: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Brontë
2013: A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
2014: Homage to Catalonia, by George Orwell
2015: collectively, the Arthur C. Clarke Award shortlist, in particular the winner, Station Eleven, by Emily St John Mandel. However I did not actually blog about these, being one of the judges at the time.
- Best book I actually blogged about: The Life and Death of Mary Wollstonecraft by Claire Tomalin
2016: Alice in Sunderland, by Bryan Talbot
2017: Common People: The History of an English Family, by Alison Light
2018 so far: Gulliver's Travels, by Jonathan Swift (reread)
- Best new read so far: Weapons of Mass Diplomacy, by Abel Lanzac and Christophe Blain
(I am struck by how few sff books I have put on the above list, and how many non-fiction books.)
I count almost 2000 authors in those 3800 books (there are about 60 rereads). The author I have read most books by in that period is veteran Doctor Who writer, Terrance Dicks, with 80 (if I count correctly). Tied for second place, at 40 each, are another Doctor Who writer, Justin Richards, and some guy called William Shakespeare. The woman who I've read most books by is Lois McMaster Bujold (19), followed by another Doctor Who writer, Jacqueline Rayner (17). My two top non-white writers are both authors of particular series of graphic novels that I enjoyed, Keiko Tobe (8) and Bryan Lee O'Malley (7).
It's been fun. I am not sure how much longer I will continue to use Livejournal, which is showing all the signs of creeping decay, but whatever happens I hope to continue bookblogging in one form or another.