Who doesn't love books, pie, and charts!
Chart Legend by ring:
- Page count
- My rating (1 to 5, hated it to loved it)
- Format in which I consumed it
See comments below chart: (Warning: I have dropped all pretense of coolness.)
Apparently I had big-book-itis (as Doc McStuffin would say) and following The Wheel of Time series I read Les Miserables. I don't normally strive for stats in my reading but at this point I realized I had read over 6,000 pages in only 7 books, averaging 911 pages per book. I decided to read the biggest books left in my to-read list including Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Atlas Shrugged, Cryptonomicon, and Anathem. If I had only read these books for the year I would have averaged 969 pages over 11 books, unfortunately I had read a bunch of little stuff prior to setting my goal which pulled my average down to 746 pages per book but added another 3,500 pages to the yearly total of 14,180 pages. (I'm well aware your nerd alert has been going off for awhile. I did warn you.)
Comments on a few of my favorites from the year:
Wheel of Time:
“We rode on the winds of the rising storm,
We ran to the sounds of the thunder.
We danced among the lightning bolts,
and tore the world asunder.”
― Robert Jordan, The Dragon Reborn
I started the Wheel of Time series in my early teens and read each one as they came out. After my two-year mission in Mexico I picked up the 9th book and tried to step back into the epic and complex world that Robert Jordan had created and found that I didn't have a clue what was going on . . . this was clearly going to take some commitment; a commitment I was not yet prepared to make. Last year when Brandon Sanderson finished the series that the late Robert Jordan had started I decided it was time to throw it down; accounting for a large percentage of my speculative fiction intake.
“The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.” -Ayn Rand
One of the biggest reasons I use Goodreads is because it helps lead me to great books through the sheer number of people who have rated the books (e.g. 181,525 ratings for Atlas Shrugged). Typically I strive to read books that have a rating of 4+. After I read the books I like to compare my score to what everyone else thinks and usually there is a high correlation. Atlas Shrugged was an exception to this as it has only a 3.6 average Goodreads rating. I read it because I liked The Fountainhead and wanted to read more Ayn Rand. While I liked the Fountainhead more I still thought Atlas Shrugged was great. I agreed with many of her philosophies and I disagreed with perhaps just as many more. In fact, it might be that she could keep me so thoroughly entertained while sharing her controversial philosophies that led me to give this book 5 stars.
". . . a copy of Cryptonomicon has more information per unit volume than any other object in this universe. Any place that a copy of the book exists is, at that moment, the most information-rich region of space-time in the universe. If you drop a carton of Cryptonomicon paperbacks into a black hole of any size, the black hole doubles in size . . . Read this book! Your brain will swell with information. A person who has recently read Cryptonomicon is temporarily the smartest person on Earth. . . " -Charlie Jane Anders, io9
The reading of Cryptonomicon was a convergence of two goals, the aforementioned large-page-count-per-book goal and reading author's from Tor's Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels of the Decade poll. The book was great. It was an awesome blend of computer nerdiness, code-breaking, world war II fighting, and one crazy marine.
“The book the reader has now before his eyes - from one end to the other, in its whole and in its details, whatever the omissions, the exceptions, or the faults - is the march from evil to good, from injustice to justice, from the false to the true, from night to day, from appetite to conscience, from rottenness to life, from brutality to duty, from Hell to Heaven, from nothingness to God. Starting point: matter; goal: the soul. Hydra at the beginning, angel at the end.”
― Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
I've detected a bias in myself for old books. For some reason I feel that because they were written when horse-power for a vehicle ranged from one to six that the authors are somehow less enlightened . . . aaand big surprise...the book was genius! No, seriously, Victor Hugo is a genius. Yes, I read the unabridged. Yes, it was amazing. There were, however, moments when I would have preferred punching myself in the face to reading through certain sections. The story must be the easiest book in the world to abridge as the story is riveting and the five or so lectures on sewage systems and the nature of genius are . . . less so. As mind-numbing as they were, I'm still glad I read them. I would have always wondered.
Who knows what treasures I will find in 2014?! (yes, that's an interabang) If you have some good recommendations, please let me know! Maybe I'll even get a more balanced genre pie chart this year.