Ben Scofield

me. still on a blog.

My 2014 in Reading

I had a lot of fun writing up my year in reading last year, so I thought I’d do it again for 2014.

Goals

I mentioned in last year’s post that committing upfront to read an average of 3 books a week took a bit of the fun out of reading. As a result, I reoriented my goals this year. On Goodreads, I committed to reading two books a week (which I figured, correctly, would be relatively easy). Aside from that, I set a few vague outcome goals: to read fiction, to read more non-fiction, and to burn down the stack of printed books I’ve accumulated over the years (especially important now that I’m mostly reading digitally).

The numbers

Goodreads challenge

So, for 2014 I ended up reading 184 books (well, books plus other written works of various types; Goodreads doesn’t differentiate between novels, short stories, of even single issues of comics, though I’ve not added my floppy comics reading to it). Those books add up to somewhere north of 51,000 pages, for an average of ~140 pages a day.

What I read

Genre breakdown

Of the 184 books I read, 120 were fiction and 64 were non-fiction.

  • I only read three graphic novels this year, way down from the 26 I read last year.
  • Of the non-fiction, 30 were tech/business-related; the rest were philosophy, psychology, history, and lots of other stuff. One was an art book (Legend of Korra: The Art of the Animated Series, Book Two).
  • I burned down my physical book stack by 26, which made for 14% of my total reading

When I read

Completions

So, my pattern from last year – less reading when I didn’t have a job – didn’t repeat this year; I took about a month off between leaving 6wunderkinder and starting at BookBub, and while I slowed down a bit as I wrapped up with 6wunderkinder in September, I read 12 books in October. I did slow down a bit in late November and early December, but I’m still not sure what caused that (or the September slowdown, either).

Favorites

I read a lot of great books (and a lot of mediocre ones) this year. Ten really stood out, though:

  • Eleanor & Park, by Rainbow Rowell – I can’t remember the last time I read something so evocative of being a teenager.
  • The Golem and the Jinni, by Helene Wecker – Beautifully written, and teetering on the line between fantasy and magical realism. My favorite novel of the year.
  • Velveteen vs. the Junior Super Patriots, by Seanan McGuire – I’ve read a lot of McGuire over the past couple of years. Her take on superheroes is both hilarious and deep.
  • The Hero of Ages, by Brandon Sanderson – This was they year I really dove into Sanderson. I love the worldbuilding.
  • The Monuments Men, by Robert M. Edsel – Inspiring; way better than the movie.
  • The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern – Full of beautiful imagery, and I’m a sucker for books that weave multiple narratives together.
  • Creativity, Inc., by Ed Catmull – The best business book I’ve ever read, easily.
  • The Shadow Hero, by Gene Luen Yang – I’ve loved Yang’s work for years, but this (a new version of the first Asian-American superhero) is phenomenal.
  • Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson – I haven’t read a ton of Epic Fantasy (capitals intended) for a long time, but holy crap is Sanderson’s take on it good.
  • Lock In, by John Scalzi – Scalzi’s another perennial favorite, and Lock In is one of his best. Like a lot of his work, it’s also incredibly thought-provoking.

Comments