2022: A Year in Books

Once again, let’s take this cold and wet New Year’s Eve to reflect on the books and reading over the past year.

And in retrospect, although I have the feeling that I was somewhat underwhelmed by my reading this year, looking back I recognise that I have read a number of great books and five star books, and books I have raved over – that “Oh my gosh, why have I never read this before…?” feeling. That may, however, be a reflection of how much energy I have as this year has worn on: the second half of 2022 was somewhat brutal!

Reading Statistics

I don’t really hold with having reading targets as such: I am very much a mood reader and read for pleasure, rather than to reach an arbitrary total. But I also do enjoy a good spreadsheet and I created my own for last year which, to be honest, served rather well and neatly and I will continue with the same one (with some tweaks) next year.

So the following statistics are drawn from that spreadsheet.

Reading Totals

Total number of books read: 59, up from 56 in 2022

You can see on that graph how my reading slowed down from July / August, just as the new term began.

Total number of pages read, 21,531 which equates to 414 pages a week or 59 pages per day.

This is only an estimate and includes some of the reading I did with my daughter and audiobooks I have listened to, and it is generally slower to read aloud than in your head. Nor does it include books begun but not yet completed such as The Trees by Percival Everett.

Shortest Books Read

Mrs Caliban, Rachel Ingrams: 128 pages
Small Things Like These, Claire Keegan: 128 pages
All Systems Red, Martha Wells: 154 pages
Treacle Walker, Alan Garner: 160 pages
Psalm for the Wild Built, Becky Chambers, 160 pages

There were perhaps more shorter books on my reading this year than in most, which possibly accounts for the higher number of books read this year!

It is telling perhaps that two of these books were on the Booker Prize this year…

Actually, these were all among my favourites of the year, but I might select Treacle Walker as my top pick.

Longest Books Read

The Book of Form and Emptiness, Ruth Ozeki: 560 pages
Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens: 608 pages
Eyes of the Void, Adrian Tchaikovsky: 608 pages
Cloud Cuckoo Land, Anthony Doerr: 626 pages
The Ink Black Heart, Robert Galbraith: 1024 pages

Definitely some lengthy tomes here, and Robert Galbraith proved that there is no correlation between length and quality: the word “interminable” did spring to mind…

Ruth Ozeki and Anthony Doerr’s both meditate with great perspicacity on the nature of books and of humanity and identity, but The Book of Form and Emptiness was my pick here.

Oldest Books Read

The Tempest, William Shakespeare: 1611
Oliver Twist, Charles Dickins: 1838
Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte: 1847
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson: 1883
The Code of the Woosters, P. G. Wodehouse: 1938

I’ve got to confess, a couple of these were read for work and I decided not to include Dracula again after half-following Dracula Daily via Tumblr. I really do want to read (re-read) more of the classics. I have probably read a large proportion of the classic canon, but mainly as a University student. Revisiting them now would be interesting… but other writers do keep producing books!

Most Recent Books Read

Unraveller, Frances Hardinge: September 1st 2022
The Bullet That Missed, Richard Osman: September 15th 2022
Shrines of Gaiety, Kate Atkinson: September 27th 2022
The Lost Metal, Brandon Sanderson: November 15th 2022
The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels, Janice Hallett: January 19th 2023

Some of these are with many thanks to the publishers and authors making them available through NetGalley and I did enjoy all of these. Unraveller was a wonderfully dark fairy tale; Sanderson and Osman are reliable writers of good enjoyable reads. But my pick here is without a doubt Shrines of Gaiety.

Five Star Reads in 2022

Reading by Genre

What I do with my reading spreadsheet is give myself the chance to award both a genre and sub-genre, which then feeds into the graphic so that Treasure Island is both Classic and Adventure, Shrines of Gaiety is both Literary and Historical Fiction.

And it comes as no surprise to me – nor to readers of the blog – that Literary Fiction is the most read category, followed by Historical Fiction and then both Crime and Fantasy.

Reading by Representation

Whilst I merrily added to certain lists in my spreadsheet over the year, I tried to keep the categories of representation quite specific and limited although it did grow a little bit over the course of the year: the plight of those in the care system seemed to become more prevalent in my reading this year, and I tried to separate gender and sexuality spectra which do seem to me rather different things.

I also have the anxiety that, for me, the mere presence of a female character or a gay character or a character in care is not always enough to consider it “representation” is it..?

It is unsurprising though that women are represented heavily: I have always found the Women’s Prize for Fiction a more varied and courageous list than the Booker and I try to follow both each year.

In terms of author diversity, it felt like a rather British set of voices in the main, of whom 14 were persons of colour.

Reading By Setting

Yes… I did feel my reading was rather centred on the UK this year. Not that there is anything wrong with that in itself. And yet…

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This makes 2022 my most popular year so far, a fact that I am wholly humbled by and grateful for everyone who has dropped by and commented.

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Farewell to 2022

And as the year draws in its final breaths, it leaves me only to say fare well and thank you so much for contributing your time, your comments and your thoughts on the blog. I am truly humbled and have a fantastic new year!

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