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Janet's Reading 2011

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#53 - finished 24 November 2011

 

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Pollyanna by Eleanor H Parker

 

The ‘blurb’

 

A miraculous story about the power of optimism.

 

When an orphaned Pollyanna moves in with her maiden aunt, she transforms the lives of everyone she meets with her optimism. She uses the “glad game” her father taught her to appreciate what she has – until one day something so terrible happens that even Pollyanna doesn’t know how to feel glad about.

 

Pollyanna is eleven years old when she is sent to live with her prim and proper unaffectionate aunt Polly after becoming an orphan. Aunt Polly has rules that are to be strictly enforced, but somehow Pollyanna doesn’t seem able to stick to these rules. However, the punishments meted out to her, such as having to sleep in Aunt Polly’s bed after she’s discovered sleeping outside on the roof don’t seem like a punishment at all to Pollyanna, who sees them as a treat!

 

Pollyanna’s natural exuberance melts the iciest hearts of those she meets, from the invalid Mrs Snow to the haughty Mr Pendleton – the villagers, including the kindly Dr Chilton, all grow to love Pollyanna, and even Aunt Polly’s heart begins to thaw, but then tragedy strikes which affects the entire village.

 

I read this book as part of my Decades Challenge. The language is obviously a little dated, this being first published in 1913 but it’s a sweet story of how to appreciate what you have, rather than looking at what you don’t have.

 

I haven’t seen the Hayley Mills version of this for years, but there is a version with Amanda Redmond in the role of Aunt Polly and this is a cracking adaptation!

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#54 - finished 30 November 2011

 

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Searching Issues by Nicky Gumbel

 

The ‘blurb’

• Why does God allow Suffering?

• Do all religions lead to God?

• Is there anything wrong with sex before marriage?

 

Tough questions… that require straight answers. Nicky Gumbel discusses these and four other common objections to the Christian faith.

 

This book is suggested reading for those doing the Alpha course. I read it trying to put myself in the position of someone who either doesn’t believe in God, or who has just come to God and wants answers to these questions, but of course, answering them is not an easy thing to do.

 

I found Gumbel’s style of writing quite patronising and also dated. One would hope that more recent editions might reflect the 2010s rather than the 1990s when it was first published. I found his chapter on homosexuality particularly patronising. I know that the bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong… and this, for me, is the main stumbling block when it comes to religion. Nicky talks about gays being ‘cured’ – but I don’t see it as an illness that needs curing. I don’t believe that people choose their sexuality. I also don’t believe that God, who is merciful, would turn his back on someone just because of their sexuality. With regards to this subject, the church and I will just have to agree to disagree.

 

The question about other religions is an interesting one. It’s very much presented as “it’s my way or the highway” – but none of us will no the truth until the day we die. Again, I would have expected more tolerance.

 

I think evangelical Christians will love this book – but those with no faith will not be persuaded by its answers.

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#55- finished 10 December

 

055-2011-Dec-10HomagetoCatalonia.jpg

 

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell

 

The ‘blurb’

‘Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism as I understand it.’ Thus wrote Orwell following his experiences as a militiaman in the Spanish Civil War, chronicled in Homage to Catalonia. Here he brings to bear all the force of his humanity, passion and clarity, describing with bitter intensity the bright hopes and cynical betrayals of that chaotic episode.

 

This was the penultimate of Orwell’s ‘full sized’ books that I had left to read. It deals with the Spanish Civil War – a subject I knew very little about. I must admit that I had been putting this one off as I thought it might be a bit dry.

 

At the age of 33, Orwell headed to Spain, after getting the necessary paperwork from the British ILP (Independent Labour Party) to allow him access to the country under the guise of being their correspondent, and he enlisted in the POUM (Workers' Party of Marxist Unification) to be trained as a soldier. He discovers that the group are ill-equipped to go to war, many of them being just seventeen or eighteen years of age, and none of them having any decent equipment, but they are sent to the Aragón front where they stay for several months.

 

Orwell is frustrated by the lack of decent weapons, but somehow he survives (despite getting shot in the throat!) and is ultimately sent back to Barcelona where he gets caught up in a conflict over a Telephone Exchange (as unlikely as that seems!). His wife Eileen is in Spain with him during the war. Ultimately the Orwells, together with many other members of the POUM have to leave Spain in a hurry.

 

It’s not as dry as I expected it to be and I found it most enjoyable. I found Orwell’s writing this book as enjoyable as in others, although Down and Out in Paris and London remains my favourite of his non-fiction full-length books. In this one, a bit of Orwell’s human side comes out. At one point, his hotel room is raided by plain clothed policemen, searching for evidence of Orwell’s involvement with POUM, it having been declared an illegal organisation at the start of the conflict, and they remove all of Orwell’s paperwork. He laments its loss, and is largely concerned with the fact that they had taken letters he had yet to reply to. He writes “incidentally, they took a number of letters I had received from readers. Some of them have not been answered, and of course I have not the addresses. If anyone wrote to me about my last book, and who did not get an answer, happens to read these lines, will he please accept this as an apology?” – it is great to hear that Orwell cared enough to reply to his readers and was concerned that he hadn't done so.

 

One thing that amused me was his thoughts on Sagrada Família, the famous Catholic church in Barcelona. “...I went to have a look at the cathedral - a modern cathedral, and one of the most hideous buildings in the world...” LOL – this is on my ‘to do’ list – I really want to see it. Clearly Orwell wasn’t impressed! :lol:

 

The book contains two appendices – formerly chapters 5 and 11 – which concentrate on the politics of the war. Orwell urges the reader to “skip” these if they are not interested in the deep politics of the situation. I must admit to having skim read them! The rest of the book was really enjoyable though and it is with a little sadness that I look forward to my last full-length offering of his, Burmese Days, knowing it is the last for me apart from the essays.

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#56 - finished 12 December

 

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War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

 

The ‘blurb’

Albert had stopped brushing me and dropped the straw on the ground. His mother was standing on the steps by the door of the farmhouse. She had her hand to her mouth. ‘Oh dear God.’ She said softly. ‘Oh dear God.’

 

In 1914 Joey, a young farm horse, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges towards the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France.

 

But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey’s courage touches the soldiers around him, and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer’s son he left behind.

 

Will he ever see his true master again?

 

I saw the trailer for this when I went to see The Help (an excellent film if you haven’t already seen it – and an excellent book if you haven’t already read it!) and I definitely want to see the film – even though I know I’m going to need an entire box of tissues – so I thought I’d better read the book first.

 

Joey is the narrator of this story. He is bought at market by an unkind farmer and at first it appears that life will be tough, but the farmer’s son Albert takes Joey on and trains him up to be a proper farm horse. The two become inseparable. But when war is declared, Joey finds himself sold to an army captain. Albert is desolate and resolves one day to track down Joey and bring him home.

 

And so begins Joey’s adventures in WW1. What will happen to him, and will Albert ever find his beloved horse again?

 

I love Michael Morpurgo’s books. He writes for children on all manner of subjects at a level that they can understand, but never patronising them. His subjects are varied and always interesting (of those I’ve read, anyway!) and they always make me want to go and find out more about the subject after I’ve finished. This book is no exception – and it made me cry at the end! Definitely recommended – and I can’t wait for the film!

 

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#57 - finished 18 December

 

057-2011-Dec-18AChristmasCarol.jpg

 

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

 

The ‘blurb’

Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserly old skinflint. He hates everyone, especially Children. But at Christmas three ghosts come to visit him, scare him into mending his ways and he finds, as he celebrates with Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim and their family, that geniality brings its own reward.

 

The following is what I said about the book in 2007.

 

A Christmas Carol is one of my all-time favourite stories (from the films, that is, as this is the first Dickens book I’ve ever read!) so I thought it was high time I gave the book a go.

 

It didn’t disappoint. The story is so wonderful - so clever and the prose is excellent. I’ve heard people say that Dickens is too ‘wordy. Well, I don’t know whether it’s just that this book is so short, or that I’m so familiar with the story that I didn’t notice, but I didn’t find it rambling at all.

 

Having now read the book, I think the truest adaptation I’ve seen is the one with Patrick Stewart as Scrooge, although the Alistair Sim one is probably my favourite. The Albert Finney musical one is great too!

 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and will make a point of reading it again another Christmas. There are a couple of hard backed versions - one illustrated by Quentin Blake - that I have my eye on now!

 

I’m definitely going to try some more Dickens after reading this!

 

My feelings for the book haven’t changed. I did buy the gorgeous illustrated Quentin Blake version. I’ve watched some of the Kelsey Grammer version (rubbish), the George C Scott version (good) and enjoyed the versions mentioned above… but I still haven’t read any more of Dickens’ works! I must rectify this in 2012!

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#58 - finished 22 December

 

058-2011-Dec-22Scoop.jpg

 

Scoop by Evelyn Waugh

 

The ‘blurb’

Lord Copper, newspaper magnate and proprietor of 'The Daily Beast', has always prided himself on his intuitive flair for spotting ace reporters. That is not to say he has not made the odd blunder, however, and may in a moment of weakness make another. Acting on a dinner party tip from Mrs Algernon Stitch, he feels convinced that he has hit on just the chap to cover a promising little war in the African Republic of Ishmaelia.

 

Mrs Algernon Stitch recommends a reporter called Boot to go to Ishmaelia as newspaper The Beast’s war correspondent. Unfortunately due to a mix up the wrong Boot gets ‘called up’ and leaves behind his cosy country home where he writes a column about nature and finds himself out of his depth in a foreign country on the brink of war, amongst a group of journalists as he struggles to come up with a ‘scoop’ that no other journalist gets wind of.

 

The first part of this book is really quite funny, and the character of Mrs Stitch is excellent. Unfortunately she soon disappears from the action and when that happened I felt the book lost some of its spark. There are some amusing moments, but on the whole I found it a bit of a let-down and not as good as Waugh’s Vile Bodies. There has been some criticism of the book due to its apparently racist nature. I think today’s reader has to remember that the book is “of it’s time”, and whilst some of the language wouldn’t be acceptable if written today, it was acceptable at the time, even if it shouldn’t have been.

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#59 - finished 24 December (just in the nick of time!)

 

059-2011-Dec-24LettersfromFatherChristmas.jpg

 

Letters from Father Christmas by J R R Tolkien

 

The ‘blurb’

Every December an envelope bearing a stamp from the North Pole would arrive for J.R.R.Tolkien's children. Inside would be a letter in strange spidery handwriting and a beautiful coloured drawing or some sketches. The letters were from Father Christmas. They told wonderful tales of life at the North Pole: how all the reindeer got loose and scattered presents all over the place; how the accident-prone Polar Bear climbed the North Pole and fell through the roof of Father Christmas's house into the dining-room; how he broke the Moon into four pieces and made the Man in it fall into the back garden; how there were wars with the troublesome horde of goblins who lived in the caves beneath the house!

From the first note to Tolkien’s eldest son in 1920 to the final poignant letter to his daughter in 1943, this book collects all the remarkable letters and pictures in one enchanting edition.

 

What a fantastic book – it’s utterly gorgeous, printed on crisp white paper and illustrated throughout, it’s so tactile! I was recommended this recently and it didn’t disappoint. Fancy growing up with Tokien as a father – it must have been wonderful! The first letter, written to John in 1920 is brief, but as the years go on and he writes to all of his children they become more and more elaborate. Tolkien’s illustrations alone make this a book worth buying – I’m perfectly certain I will read this year after year. I only wish I’d discovered it long enough ago to have read it to my own children. Wonderful and thoroughly recommended!

The paperback is 159 pages long and is published by Harper Collins. It was first published as a complete collection in 2004. The ISBN number is 9780007280490

 

10/10

 

(Finished 18 December 2011)

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Hurrah - book #60 - finished 27 December. I hope I do better at keeping my reviews up to date in 2012!!

 

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Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

 

The ‘blurb’

Holly Golightly, glittering socialite traveller, generally upwards, sometimes sideways and once in a while down. She's up all night drinking cocktails and breaking hearts. She's a shoplifter, a delight, a drifter, a tease. She hasn't got a past.She doesn't want to belong to anything or anyone. Not to 'Rusty' Trawler, the blue-chinned, cuff-shooting millionaire man about women about town. Not to Salvatore 'Sally' Tomato, the Mafia sugar-daddy doing life in Sing Sing. Not to a starving writer. Not even to her one-eyed rag-bag pirate of a cat. One day Holly might find somewhere she belongs. Until then she's travelling.

 

I’ve had this one on my reading pile for a couple of years. I’ve never seen the film so I didn’t have a clue what it was about.

 

Holly Golightly lives in the same apartment block as the unnamed narrator. She doesn’t notice him until the man who she usually woke when she’d forgotten her key moves out and she starts knocking on his door at all hours. He’s an aspiring writer and he becomes friendly with Holly – although Holly is a user.

 

 

Holly is a girl with a past and she’s also very naïve. Her past is about to catch up with her, and the good deed that she does visiting a prisoner is not all it seems and may yet be her downfall – will she be jailed for an innocent act, or will she be able to make an escape?

 

 

 

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is only 100 pages long and is an easy read, but it didn’t really do it for me and less than a week after finishing, I’m struggling to remember details –not a good sign!

 

However, this novella also contains three short stories - House of Flowers, a tale about prostitute in Port-a-Prince who falls in love and leaves her profession – a decision her close friends struggle to come to terms with, A Diamond Guitar about a hardened criminal in prison whose life is touched by a young man, and (my favourite of the three) A Christmas Memory a seven year old and a “sixty-something” year old who are cousins and best friends. I must admit that I preferred these to the main story – I would say it’s worth getting hold of the book for these as they were great!

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MY YEAR IN REVIEW

 

FICTION

The Elephant Keeper by Christopher Nicholson - 9½/10

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci - 4/10

The Hundred and Ninety-Nine Steps by Michel Faber - 9/10

The Triple Echo by H E Bates - 7/10

The Illustrated Screwtape Letters: Letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil by C S Lewis - 2/10

The Outcast by Sadie Jones - 10/10 (re-read)

A Kestrel for a Knave by Barry Hines - 8/10

Ferney by James Long - 8½/10

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson - 9/10

Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie - 7/10

Silas Marner by George Eliot - 9/10

Somewhere, Home by Nada Awar Jarrar - 8/10

The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu - 7/10

Tell Me No Secrets by Julie Corbin - 10/10

The Novel in the Viola by Natasha Solomons - 10/10

When God was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman - 7/10

Solomon's Oak by Jo Ann Mapson - 6/10

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry - 10/10

By Night in Chile by Roberto Bolaño - 5/10

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn - 10/10

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov - 8/10

The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam by Lauren Liebenberg - 10/10

The Screaming of the Innocent by Unity Dow - 10/10

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald - 10/10

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy - 10/10

Stones of Bobello by Edwar Al-Kharrat - 4/10

Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood - 10/10

The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham - 10/10

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie - 8/10

Waiting by Ha Jin - 9/10

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson - 9/10

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - 10/10

Scoop by Evelyn Waugh - 7/10

Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote - 7/10 (This volume contains three short stories too - I think I preferred those to the main one!)

 

 

CHILDREN'S/YOUNG ADULT FICTION

Hitler's Canary by Sandi Toksvig - 8/10

A Parcel of Patterns by Jill Paton Walsh - 9/10

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell - 10/10

Kiss of Death by Malcolm Rose - 9/10

Transported: The Diary of Elizabeth Harvey, Australia 1790 by Goldie Alexander - 7/10

The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry - 7/10

A Traveller in Time by Alison Uttley - 9/10

The Wreck of the Zanzibar by Michael Morpurgo - 03.08.11 - 8/10

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder - 7½/10

Montacute House by Lucy Jago - 9/10/

Pollyanna by Eleanor H Parker - 8/10

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo - 10/10

Letters from Father Christmas by J R R Tolkien - 10/10

 

NON-FICTION

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee - 10/10

The Autobiography of a Super-tramp by W H Davies - 7/10

Yes Man by Danny Wallace - 9/10

Save Karyn by Karyn Bosnak - 8/10

Delight by J B Priestley - 6½/10

Why I Write by George Orwell - 7/10

A Beginner's Guide to Acting English by Shappi Khorsandi - 10/10

Howards End is on the Landing by Susan Hill - 9/10

The Cherry Tree by Derek Tangye - 6/10

Neither Here Nor There by Bill Bryson - 8/10

Searching Issues by Nicky Gumbel - 5/10

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell - 8/10

 

PLAYS

An Ideal Husband by Oscar Wilde - 9/10

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MY STATS!

 

Total books read – 60

Total pages read – 14,743

Average number of pages - 246

 

Fiction – 34

 

Type – General fiction = 23, Modern Classic = 6, Classic = 5

 

Non-fiction – 12

 

Type – Essay = 4, Travel = 3, Autobiography = 3, Autobiography and travel combined = 1, humour = 1

 

Children’s/YA – 13

 

Plays – 1

 

Female authors – 38.33% (23)

Male authors – 61.67% (37)

 

Authors new to me = 42

Authors read before = 15

 

I read 2 by Agatha Christie, 2 by George Orwell and 2 by Michael Morpurgo – the rest of the books were by individual authors.

 

5 read for ‘real life’ book club, 2 read for BCF reading circle, 9 read for decades challenge, 9 read for world challenge the rest read for no reason other than I wanted to!

 

Country of birth of author – England = 32, US = 8, Scotland = 2, France = 2, India = 2, Australia, Botswana, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Iran, Ireland, Lebanon, Netherlands, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Russia, Wales = 1

 

Setting of book – England = 27, US = 7, Various countries = 5, No setting/none mentioned = 4, Africa = 4, Europe = 3, Scotland = 2, Spain = 2, Asia = 2, Middle East = 1, South America = 1, England/North Pole = 1, Fictional = 1

 

January = 7, February = 5, March = 4, April = 4, May = 2, June = 4 July = 4, August = 7, September = 5, October = 6, November = 6, December = 6

 

I’ve always ranked out of 10 for some reason! (I might try to simplify this year!)

 

2/10 – 1

4/10 – 2

5/10 – 2

6/10 – 2

6½/10 – 1

7/10 – 10

8/10 = 11

8½/10 – 1

9/10 – 11

9½/10 - 1

10/10 – 18

 

Shortest book at 55 pages was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald, the longest, at 614 was A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry – these also took the shortest (an hour) and the longest (three weeks) to read!

 

The earliest in terms of publication date was A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, published in book form in 1843. I read 3 published in 2011

 

My years are too many to list individually, but broken down they are:

 

1800s – 5

1900s – 28

2000s – 22

2010s – 5

 

Favourites (all rated 10/10):

 

The Outcast by Sadie Jones (re-read)

The Novel in the Viola by Natasha Solomons

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam by Lauren Liebenberg

The Screaming of the Innocent by Unity Dow

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood

The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

Letters from Father Christmas by J R R Tolkien

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee

A Beginner's Guide to Acting English by Shappi Khorsandi

 

Least favourite:

Stones of Bobello by Edwar Al Kharrat (ugh!)

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

The Illustrated Screwtape Letters: Letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil by C S Lewis

 

Number of books acquired 2011 – 53

 

Total cost of books acquired 2011 – £62.29

 

Of these read – 35

 

At the end of July I resolved to try to use the library more and stop buying books!

 

Library books borrowed and read - 8

 

Before this resolution the number of books acquired was 31.

 

After resolution, books acquired (not including library books = 14.

 

3 were gifts, 3 were bought for ‘real life’ book club and 1 for online book club (I like to annotate) 2 were borrowed from friends, 2 were bought for my decades challenge (not available in library), 1 bought at Church Christmas fete (I thought if I had to buy something it might as well be a book!) and 2 were bought because I’ll re-read them.

 

Where/How acquired = Charity shop = 21, Amazon 8 (6 Marketplace, 2 new), Library = 8, Gifts = 7, Waterstone’s = 3 (two of these acquired with Gift Vouchers), Borrowed from friends = 2, WHS = 1 (bought on BOGOF offer – other book a birthday gift), Other shop = 1, sent to me by publisher = 1, Ebay = 1

 

I will try to use the library more in 2012 but our library is pretty rubbish! I'm going to try to get my 'to read' pile down - I haven't dared to count it but it's pretty big! I'm not sure where my Kindle will fit into all of this - or how it will affect my reading - I'm still not 100% sure about it! :lurker:

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Wow, some very detailed stats you have there :D I'm in awe of you, you've been brave enough to keep a tally of how much your bought books cost you last year. I would never dare do that!

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Thanks, frankie. :) Although I had all those details on a couple of spreadsheets it took me a while to assemble them!

 

I buy the majority of my books second-hand (or with gift vouchers as presents) and I thought it would be interesting to see how much I spent in a year. It worked out at just over £5 per month, which wasn't bad at all. I'm hoping it'll be less this year with Kindle freebies, library usage and trying to reduce my 'to read' pile. :)

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It's definitely a very low sum of money, seeing how many books you've bought. Gotta love those secondhand shops and charityshops! :)

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Yes! Although I'm trying not to go into charity shops at the moment. I'm not sure how long I'll last!

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Yes! Although I'm trying not to go into charity shops at the moment. I'm not sure how long I'll last!

 

Janet, if we all stop going into charity shops to keep our TBR piles down do you think it'll impact highly on their takings? We may be what's keeping them afloat... ;-))

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MY STATS!

 

Total books read – 60

Total pages read – 14,743

Average number of pages - 246

 

Fiction – 34

 

Type – General fiction = 23, Modern Classic = 6, Classic = 5

 

Non-fiction – 12

 

Type – Essay = 4, Travel = 3, Autobiography = 3, Autobiography and travel combined = 1, humour = 1

 

Children’s/YA – 13

 

Plays – 1

 

Female authors – 38.33% (23)

Male authors – 61.67% (37)

 

Authors new to me = 42

Authors read before = 15

 

I read 2 by Agatha Christie, 2 by George Orwell and 2 by Michael Morpurgo – the rest of the books were by individual authors.

 

5 read for ‘real life’ book club, 2 read for BCF reading circle, 9 read for decades challenge, 9 read for world challenge the rest read for no reason other than I wanted to!

 

Country of birth of author – England = 32, US = 8, Scotland = 2, France = 2, India = 2, Australia, Botswana, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Egypt, Iran, Ireland, Lebanon, Netherlands, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Russia, Wales = 1

 

Setting of book – England = 27, US = 7, Various countries = 5, No setting/none mentioned = 4, Africa = 4, Europe = 3, Scotland = 2, Spain = 2, Asia = 2, Middle East = 1, South America = 1, England/North Pole = 1, Fictional = 1

 

January = 7, February = 5, March = 4, April = 4, May = 2, June = 4 July = 4, August = 7, September = 5, October = 6, November = 6, December = 6

 

I’ve always ranked out of 10 for some reason! (I might try to simplify this year!)

 

2/10 – 1

4/10 – 2

5/10 – 2

6/10 – 2

6½/10 – 1

7/10 – 10

8/10 = 11

8½/10 – 1

9/10 – 11

9½/10 - 1

10/10 – 18

 

Shortest book at 55 pages was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald, the longest, at 614 was A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry – these also took the shortest (an hour) and the longest (three weeks) to read!

 

The earliest in terms of publication date was A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, published in book form in 1843. I read 3 published in 2011

 

My years are too many to list individually, but broken down they are:

 

1800s – 5

1900s – 28

2000s – 22

2010s – 5

 

Favourites (all rated 10/10):

 

The Outcast by Sadie Jones (re-read)

The Novel in the Viola by Natasha Solomons

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn

The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam by Lauren Liebenberg

The Screaming of the Innocent by Unity Dow

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F Scott Fitzgerald

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

Lady Oracle by Margaret Atwood

The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Black Swan Green by David Mitchell

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

Letters from Father Christmas by J R R Tolkien

As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee

A Beginner's Guide to Acting English by Shappi Khorsandi

 

Least favourite:

Stones of Bobello by Edwar Al Kharrat (ugh!)

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

The Illustrated Screwtape Letters: Letters from a Senior to a Junior Devil by C S Lewis

 

Number of books acquired 2011 – 53

 

Total cost of books acquired 2011 – £62.29

 

Of these read – 35

 

At the end of July I resolved to try to use the library more and stop buying books!

 

Library books borrowed and read - 8

 

Before this resolution the number of books acquired was 31.

 

After resolution, books acquired (not including library books = 14.

 

3 were gifts, 3 were bought for ‘real life’ book club and 1 for online book club (I like to annotate) 2 were borrowed from friends, 2 were bought for my decades challenge (not available in library), 1 bought at Church Christmas fete (I thought if I had to buy something it might as well be a book!) and 2 were bought because I’ll re-read them.

 

Where/How acquired = Charity shop = 21, Amazon 8 (6 Marketplace, 2 new), Library = 8, Gifts = 7, Waterstone’s = 3 (two of these acquired with Gift Vouchers), Borrowed from friends = 2, WHS = 1 (bought on BOGOF offer – other book a birthday gift), Other shop = 1, sent to me by publisher = 1, Ebay = 1

 

I will try to use the library more in 2012 but our library is pretty rubbish! I'm going to try to get my 'to read' pile down - I haven't dared to count it but it's pretty big! I'm not sure where my Kindle will fit into all of this - or how it will affect my reading - I'm still not 100% sure about it! :lurker:

 

 

Wow Janet

Very impressive list of details. You are so organized !

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That list :thud:

 

I love lists. Absolutely love them. I wish I had a list like that. Maybe I'll keep one this year!

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Janet, if we all stop going into charity shops to keep our TBR piles down do you think it'll impact highly on their takings? We may be what's keeping them afloat... ;-))

 

Chaliepud :o I never thought of it that way. This frightens me. I might have to go and rescue my local charityshop later today! Jänet, I insist you do the same! Everyone! Join the force! :angcat:

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Janet, if we all stop going into charity shops to keep our TBR piles down do you think it'll impact highly on their takings? We may be what's keeping them afloat... ;-))

I certainly think that if all of us on here stopped then there would be a big impact. I can just see the charities head office staff scratching their heads and wondering why their sales figures have dipped! :giggle2:

 

Wow Janet

Very impressive list of details. You are so organized !

Thanks! I started keeping Excel spreadsheets a few years ago and they've evolved as I think of new categories to add!

That list :thud:

 

I love lists. Absolutely love them. I wish I had a list like that. Maybe I'll keep one this year!

I have several, but my main ones are (they look marginally clearer if you click on them)

 

'Books Acquired (x Year)':

 

ForNoll1.jpg

 

Books Read (x Year):

 

ForNoll2.jpg

 

From this year, the same as above but for Kindle books - and also 'Books Acquired 2010 and 2011 and read 2012'!

 

I'm a bit mad...! :giggle2:

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Chaliepud :o I never thought of it that way. This frightens me. I might have to go and rescue my local charityshop later today! Jänet, I insist you do the same! Everyone! Join the force! :angcat:

Oh dear - but I'm trying to reduce my 'to read' pile! :lol:

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Very nice spreadsheets, Janet!

 

I have one spreadsheet for books read, with title, author, date started, date finished, date of publication (decade, not exact year - don't know why) and number of pages. I could never add the cost; it would be too much to know what I spend on books. :( Having said that, I did keep a budget last year with a specific section for books, so I have a vague idea.

 

I love all of the extra columns you have. :)

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Oh dear - but I'm trying to reduce my 'to read' pile! :lol:

 

I know I know :D But I can't help but play the devil's advocate today, it's one of those cheeky days :giggle:

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Hrmm I did recently acquire Excel, maybe I should break it out. Not even for listing the books/authors/pages etc necessarily, since I track all those in my blog,but for the costs. I haven't bought any books this year so far, and it'd be interesting to see how much I spend in the coming months. With all of my non-existent money. :lol:

 

It will also help me avoid situations like one I had literally five minutes ago: discovering I have TWO copies of The Swan Thieves, because the covers are different and I tend to remember books by their covers - I obviously assumed I hadn't bought it. :thud:

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I know I know :D But I can't help but play the devil's advocate today, it's one of those cheeky days :giggle:

 

Yes, I've noticed! I was thinking of commenting on how you seem to be trying to get anyone and everyone to buy more books today.

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Yes, I've noticed! I was thinking of commenting on how you seem to be trying to get anyone and everyone to buy more books today.

 

What do you mean? I've only tried to talk myself into buying more stuff on BookDepo. I've only egged Janet on. You tried to make Karsa Orlong buy more books per one order! Don't try and blame me on stuff you are guilty of yourself, missy!

:giggle:

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