Let’s take a look at the spreadsheet as we hit the halfway mark in another exciting year. Has moving to the country made me read more? Better? Quicker? Do I just spend all my time looking out the window at birds? (Not today – today it’s so windy all the birds are in their homes, wherever those might be.)
- I have started 46 books (last year it was 60) and finished all but two of them (last year I gave up on five).
- I’ve read five manuscripts (last year: three. I must be moving slower this year – publishers can catch me).
- The oldest book I’ve read was from 1999 – Colson Whitehead’s The intuitionist, which was an excellently odd book. I read 11 books published this year, 21 from last year (I’ve been judging a prize), 3 from 2017 and 2016, 2 from 2015, and one each from 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2012. None from 2011 (last year there were 7). Of the manuscripts, two will be published later this year. I’ve been a publisher’s reading dream this year.
- 30 books were by women, 18 by men (manuscripts were 3:2; last year, books were 40:22)
- Nine books were by writers of colour (last year, 19: I blame prize reading for this discrepancy). 14 were by Australian writers, which means nearly all the Australian books I read were ones I had to. 13 were from the US and Canada, 11 from Britain and five from Ireland.
- My five-star books so far are When one person dies the whole world is over by Mandy Ord, The heavens by Sandra Newman, Riddance by Shelley Jackson, Normal people by Sally Rooney (sorry! But it was really good!), Simpson’s return by Wayne Macauley, Lanny by Max Porter, Pollard by Laura Beatty, and The Overstory by Richard Powers which sure it wasn’t perfect, but who else has tried to write a book like that? That’s 8 compared to 12 at this time last year.
- I’ve read 16 fabulist books and 8 about the environment (mostly fiction).
- Of all the books I’ve read, only 8 got a permanent spot on the bookshelf – the rest I’ve given away or taken back to the library.