Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: Reading in Review

186 books. 1,014 shorts.

Not too shabby!

I'm pretty sure I won't match those numbers again this year for a couple of reasons. First, whenever I do a heavy reading year, I tend to follow it with a year where I (at least start) lag. The reading brain is saturated, and must rest. Second, as you'll see from the numbers, 47 of those books were audio. I could listen to that number of audiobooks as I was involved in a long-term project at work that used relatively little brain power, enabling me to listen to audiobooks. Given that the project is winding up and we're probably going to move (dumping me into an "open office" setup), I'm not sure if I'll be listening to as many audiobooks.

As long as I make my stated goal of 365 short works and 60 long works each year, I'm happy. And, for most years, I exceed that goal. No worries.

Best shorts? Given that number, I can't really pick out any outstanding titles, mostly due to the sheer volume. The best anthologies of the year were probably those themed anthologies edited by Jonathan Strahan. Good stuff all around. Hopefully this year I'll concentrate on the massive backlog of "annual best of" anthologies that are tottering on the electronic Mount Toberead. That's always a good way of finding more author's to read (do I need new books by people new to me?).

Best long works? I started the year with Gaiman and ended the year with Eco and went everywhere in between. Written works informed graphic works which informed audio works which informed written works (there was a clear link between, for example, Gaiman, Gibson, Borges and Eco this past year).

2014 was the year I started delving deeply into graphic novels, thanks to my work on The Three Hoarsemen Podcast, courtesy of the ongoing education by my co-hosts, Jeff Patterson and John Stevens. I may have read most from Warren Ellis (thanks to one episode of our podcast), but also enjoyed a lot of independent/non-superhero novels. I am reading superhero stuff, and in fact, made a conscious decision to concentrate on the Marvel "canon". However, I think I've gotten more bang for the buck out of that field.

Best non-graphic works included The Martian by Andrew Weir; A Rumor of War by Philip Caputo; Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes; The House on the Borderland by William Hope Hodgson (read five times!); two by Jorge Luis Borges. Best re-reads of the year came from Clifford D. Simak, Patrick O'Brian, Terry Pratchett. I failed in my attempt to read more out of my "null set", but at least I read. That puts me ahead of 99% of the people I work with!

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