My year in books, unnecessarily charted

Right, let’s assume I’m not going to finish any more books between now and the end of the year. What a ridiculous assumption. Anyway, here’s my 2014-in-reading wrap-up (which won’t cover the books I read between now and the end of the year. I promise to update you if any of them are earth-shattering).
This year I started reading 95 books and got to the end of 87 of them. Nineteen of them were published in 2014. For most of the year I was doing the Australian Women Writers Challenge (my wrap-up of that is here), which made a lot of difference to what I read. I was also in a slipstream book club, shortlisted for two prizes which meant I wanted to read the other shortlistees, concerned with climate change and shipwrecks (thanks to books I’m working on), and a few weeks back I signed up to TBR20 (more on that here).
My favourite books of the year were:
  • Familiar by J Robert Lennon – reality and unreality bundled in together in a masterful bit of genre blurring
  • Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov – as my Goodreads review said, ‘Yes, very good’
  • Gone by Jennifer Mills – chilling and enigmatic and just bloody great
  • Anguli Ma by Chi Vu – Australia looked utterly different while I was reading this Vietnamese gothic horror set in Footscray
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison – I feel like an idiot for not reading this sooner. I had no idea
  • Sea Hearts (also published as The Brides of Rollrock Island) by Margo Lanagan – a bleak fairytale that eviscerates the relationship between women and men
  • One foot wrong by Sofie Laguna – horrible, beautiful, bewitching and repulsive (look, sorry if you came here looking for feel-good heartwarmers…)
  • The sixth extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert – read this book about how humans are killing everything, how in the scheme of things it matters less than you think, and marvel at Kolbert’s light, dry wit
  • Cold Light by Frank Moorhouse – there’s not much I like better than the Edith Campbell Berry trilogy.
And now to the entirely unnecessary charts…
Not everyone is one or the other
Not everyone is one or the other
Australian Women Writers Challenge has skewed my reading...
Australian Women Writers Challenge may have skewed my reading…
Most of those 'real' books were bought at The Sun or Readings.
Most of those ‘real’ books were bought at The Sun or Readings.
There's no way these stats are right...
There’s no way these stats are right…
 Cover image is from

17 thoughts on “My year in books, unnecessarily charted

  1. Finishing 87 books in a year is a damn fine effort. I haven’t kept track of mine but it wouldn’t be anywhere near that many. Finishing 87/95 is also an impressive ratio. I haven’t read any of the books on this list – started Pale Fire but never finished it – but I like the sound of the Kolbert. Thanks for the tip. For what it’s worth the best books I read this year were The Old Ways by Robert MacFarlane and River of Shadows by Rebecca Solnit.

  2. I have read two of your top ten – Beloved which is an astonishing book, and one of the few non-Austen books I’ve read twice, and Cold light, which I also liked a lot. I have Gone in my TBR pile – a gift from my brother – but keep not getting to it. You’ve just increased the pressure. I also feel I should read Sea hearts, but I think Gone is higher on my list.

  3. Your pie charts are very handsome. 3D! I’m copying that for myself for next year. I like the chart ‘who’s getting my money. I’d like to chart that myself. Next year also! I didn’t finish pale Fire. I was intrigued but not gripped.

  4. Awesome! Next procrastinatory activity: make totally unnecessary pie charts about my 2014 reading too. I like the idea of the TRB challenge and at the very least am going to pull unread books off my shelf and see what the pile looks like! I suspect it will be largely non fiction, which isn’t very helpful as I am currently in a fiction-devouring stage.

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