End of Year Meme 2009

So as the end of 2009 creeps ever closer I thought I would once more take part in a yearly Meme. I did this back in 2008 after seeing it on Stuck in a Book and adapting it somewhat. This year the results have suprised me again. Who knew I read so many male authors, I am most suprised. Anyway as ever I have added some questions to it on top of the ones I added last year and here it is.

How many books read in 2009?

This year has been my best reading year yet with me reading 131 books, beating last years 102. Lets hope I can do even better in 2010. Mind you reading shouldn’t be a race and one of my resolutions will be to get through some more tomes I own.

How many fiction and non fiction?

120 works of fiction this year and 11 non fiction.

Male/Female author ratio?

Take in to account I read the same author more than once this year I read 55 male authors and 41 female authors. This shocks me (it did last year too) as I always think I read more women authors than I do men, not so apparently.

Favourite book of 2009?

I think my very favourite book published in 2009 was Brooklyn by Colm Toibin, understated brilliance, but my favourite book is a joint tie with Armadale by Wilkie Collins and East Lynne by Ellen Wood… ooh or Henrietta’s War. You will have to see the post on Thursday.

Least favourite?

Netherland by Joseph O’Neill I couldn’t bare it, bored me silly. I had some I didn’t finish which don’t count.  

Any that you simply couldn’t finish and why?

Home by Marilynne Robinson, some people love her work; I am just not a Robinson fan. Its beautifully written but doesn’t do anything for me.

Oldest book read?

I would say it would be one of the Sensation Season novels, I haven’t thought about what year they were published. How lazy of me.


After The Fire, A Still Small Voice by Evie Wyld has only been recently published and recently read by me. I also think that this book has my cover of the year, its stunning.

Longest and shortest book titles?

Alices Adventures in Wonderland and Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll and Basil by Wilkie Collins.

Longest and shortest books?

Armadale at 880 pages was the longest, the shortest was Lady into Fox which was only 92 pages long, but both were wonderful. The Childrens Book probably felt like the longest. 

How many books from the library?

Six library books this year which is six more than the last! 

Any translated books?

Voice Over by Celine Curiol, A Perfect Waiter by Alain Claude Sulzer and I Served The King of England by Bohumil Hrabal. I want to read more translations next year as feel I am missing out. Mind you some books I read I don’t realise have been translated which is shameful. 

Most read author of the year, and how many books by that author?

Wilkie Collins is my most read author. I managed eight by him again through the sensation season. I already have a sneaky suspicion who my most read will be in 2010 but my lips are sealed for now.

Any re-reads?

The Woman in White, The Woman in Black, The Man in the Picture, Lady Audley’s Secret and The Picture of Dorian Gray.

Favourite character of the year?

Oooh it has to be Lydia Gwilt as she is just a brilliantly evil and malicious character who I ended up warming to in Armadale which is really quite wrong.

Which countries did you go to through the page in your year of reading?

Hmmm, let me see… The British Isles, The Czech Republic, America, Bosnia, Russia, Germany, Wonderland (ha ha), France, Pakistan, Canada, Italy, India, Japan, Afghanistan, Switzerland, Ireland, China, Australia, Brazil, Africa and Jamaica. Phew, its no wonder I am so tired.

Which book wouldn’t you have read without someone’s specific recommendation?

I wouldn’t have read the superb Flowers for Algernon without it being a recommendation by Jackie for the Book Group I started with Kimbofo this year. It was superb and I am so, so pleased I have read it and have it to re-read.

Which author was new to you in 2009 that you now want to read the entire works of?

Colm Toibin, Kamila Shamsie, Ellen Wood and Hilary Mantel.

Which books are you annoyed you didn’t read?

Oh a few in fact there was a list of ones I owned that I should have read, mind you my whole TBR is a pile of books I should have read. I would say today its Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Burberry. Its one to look forward to next year though. 

Did you read any books you have always been meaning to read?

Another thanks to book group and to Gemma who chose George Orwell’s 1984 always wanted to read that and never quite got round to it. Other titles I have wanted to read and now have are East Lynne, Armadale, In Cold Blood and Small Island all were great successes.

There you have it. I would love it if people had a go at this on their blogs (though if you could leave a link where you saw this version that would be lovely) and then leave links to theirs so that myself and others could pop by and have a nosey. You may have already done one so do leave a link and let me know. If you dont have a blog you could always answer the questions on here in a comment maybe? I will be having further reflections of 2009 on Thursday just hours before 2010 starts. Does the whole idea of it being 2010 freak anyone else out? Its come around too quickly hasnt it?


Filed under Book Thoughts, Books of 2009

63 responses to “End of Year Meme 2009

  1. caroline scott

    Have to agree with you about Netherland and Home.I had heard so many good things about Netherland but found it too rambling and self indulgent. As for Home, while I agree that she writes beautifully,I found this did not engage me and was too turgid. This was the verdict of my book group as well. Very disappointing.

    • Caroline I actually cannot believe that I managed to finish Netherland, I think it was sheer determination. Home for me was, as I think was the point, a retelling of Gilead which I didnt love and so for me not only was there no story it was a regurgitated one.

  2. Kals

    You’ve had an absolutely impressive reading year. Here’s hoping 2010 is even better! 🙂

    I’ve added Wilkie Collins to my TBR after seeing you mention his books frequently here in your blog. I hope I enjoy them 🙂

    • I am hoping I can hit 150 books next year but as reading isnt a race but a pleasure am just going to see how I go.

      You must, must read Wilkie I doubt there is anyone who can’t be converted.

  3. Very impressive post! I may give this meme a try next year if I get organised enough to jot down all of my reading (that’s why you started your blog, I hear you say…) It’s interesting to see what kind of reading pattern emerges when you look back at the titles you’ve chosen. Armadale is one of the books I’ve been meaning to read for so long (together with No Name), so let’s see if I can get round to reading it in 2010 (which is coming towards me at a frightening speed!)

    • Oh no I agree with you, my blog isnt all the books that I read just the ones I share. I have to have lists of books I have read, what I own etc, etc. I was surprised by the themes that showed up in my reading this year, especially the amount of male authors. Enjoy Armadale, I can’t recommend it enough.

  4. I love this meme and might have a go. I will let you know if I do.

  5. I love this summary and it is interesting to see trends in your reading. I agree with you about Home and Netherland and hope to read East Lynne in 2010 thanks to your recommendation.

    I’ve just got a copy of The Elegance of the Hedgehog. I hope that it is as good as everyone says it is.

    • I will be interested in your thoughts on East Lynne thats for sure Jackie. Netherland and Home were slight dark points of the year. Next year with no long lists (I say that now) and no R&J or challenges am wondering what will befall my reading hahaha.

      I might start Elegance of the Hedgehog in the New Year have been meaning to read it for absolutely ages.

  6. I’m so pleased someone feels inappropriately drawn to Lydia Gwilt! “Basil” (1852) is thought by some to be the first sensation novel, so that might be your oldest book read. And hurrah for “East Lynne”, the novel that turned me into a Victorianist. I’m looking forward to reading of your other nineteenth-century adventures in 2010.

    • Lydia Gwilt was utterly superb in all her evil villainous glory. I think Basil is my oldest read… am umming and ahhhing if read anything older but am pretty sure I havent. I adored East Lynne, and thank Ellen whenever I pass her at Highgate. Thanks for the lovely comment Catherine.

  7. Because of you, I bought Brooklyn, and is on my short-term TBR for 2010. Thank you!

  8. Colm Toibin is one of my favorite discoveries this year! I loved Brooklyn and want to read everything else he’s written.

  9. Brooklyn and Armadale/Miss Gwilt made my 2009 list as well.

    I like the other categories you’ve tracked here, and I’d be curious about how my stats would turn out. I don’t know if I’ll get around to looking back over 2009, but maybe I’ll start making notes as I go for 2010, so I can do this next year!

    • Hoorah for Brooklyn and Armadale! I think for me its definitely been a year that I enjoyed heavily for these two books in particular. I wonder where they will get in my books of 2009?

  10. I love of your well-organized stats, and the way in whch they are written captivated my attention — GREAT post!

    Since this is the first year that I have blogged, and therefore kept any data on my reading habits, I do not have a comparison figure. However, I hope I can work my way up to 100+ books in a year sometime soon.

    I do have Brooklyn on mount TBR and I hope to read it sometime in 2010.

    • Thanks Molly you are too kind. I look forward to your second year of blogging and all that it brings you. If Brooklyn is one of the books for the year for you next year then I guarantee you have some wonderful reading ahead.

  11. Oh, thanks, Simon- I’ll be posting this tomorrow! I was drafting my stats for year earlier and wasn’t really working so this is an easy way for me to frame it. I’ve read 132 books this year so our stats are quite similar; I’m surprised that you have read so few books in translation although I suspect too that there are some that you haven’t realised have been translated.

    • Oooh hoorah another one to look forward to. This is originally based on a Meme that went round with last year that I fiddled with a lot and added a few bits and bobs in.

      I think the translation thing is quite possibly just that I have no clue that they were translated as some books just dont state it. I will keep my eyes peeled in the future for ‘translated by’.

  12. What a great post! You’ve obviously had a wonderful reading year. I’m impressed with your 130+ books. I’ve only managed 64. I really wish I can increase my reading speed.

    • I am suprised how many I read, but then reading is one of my jobs now so I get all that additional time. I also keep having to tell myself that its not a race to read everything on the planet hahahaha.

  13. Sigh, now I really MUST go buy a copy of Brooklyn because I unfortunately didn’t receive it as a gift and it’s popped up on everyone’s favorites lists this week. I’m definitely going to use this meme; will probably post tonight and leave a link then!

  14. 131 books??? Wow, you are prolific! I didn’t read half that.

    Most of what I read is fiction in translation so if you would like some recommendations, let me know!

  15. Bellezza

    Of all the end-of-the-year posts I’ve read so far, this has my favorite components. I may have to borrow it (permanently) for mine as it’s still in the rough draft stage. I haven’t posted it yet, because it’s way too statistical, and therefore BORING!

    • Oh thankyou thats very kind of you. I like these posts as I am royally nosey and love to hear what everyone’s favourite books and everything are. It adds to my wishlist endlessly but then thats not a bad thing.

  16. Since Scotland is not in your list of countries, you could try Waverley by Walter Scott? That is what I am gonna do right now.

  17. Oh my goodness, Simon! 131 books! I only managed 50 books this year. (Of course, my new work did get in the way of my reading. Hehe.) I would have check out Brooklyn by Colm Toibin, and I’m really enjoying East Lynne by Ellen Wood, although it’s a doorstop!

    • Hey Peter, its not a race to read the most books hahaha. I do it for my job aswell so I think my reading is higher than it would be if I had a full time job that didnt involve books. Brooklyn is amazing. Glad you are loving East Lynne, it is blinking big though.

  18. Very interesting post, Simon, and I’ve added Brooklyn to my list of things to remember the next time I’m in a bookshop (I did some damage in one yesterday, but the sub-zero temperatures and post-holiday crowds made me forget a title or two). I might actually read less next year than I did this year as I have a slate of behemoths lined up and I’d like to try to read a few more books in their original languages. Which is rewarding but time-consuming, of course. P.S. Lydia Gwilt sounds like one or two girls I dated in the past. What does she look like?!? P.P.S. Happy New Year and thanks for running such a fab blog (one of my fave end-of-the-year discoveries, in fact)!

    • Glad you have added Brooklyn. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea but if you like understated simplistic stunning prose then I think its a must read. Hahahaha love your mentioning of how you forgot some titles on your shopping expedition.

      Lydia Gwilt is a red haired maiden with dark eyes and a certain air about her, is that helpful?

      Great to meet you in 2009 Richard this has been a brilliant year for me for finding brilliant new blogs and booklovers everywhere.

  19. Aw, it’s like seeing my meme all grown up! Wonderful questions that you’ve added to my sparser version, especially like ‘Which books are you annoyed that you didn’t read?’ – it so captures the bookaholic’s problem….

  20. Pingback: 2009: A Year in Review « Daily Words and Acts

  21. Here is my year in review:

    And here are my reviews in the year:

    Next year I might expand to your format because you answered some fun questions! Happy New Year!

  22. Pingback: 2009: A Year in Review, part 2 « Daily Words and Acts

  23. Pingback: 2009 Reading Wrap-Up « A Striped Armchair

  24. Pingback: End of Year 2009 Meme « Care's Online Book Club

  25. Tempting list of books, Simon! I’ve added a lot of them to the wish list. Happy new year!!

  26. Pingback: Wrapping up 2009 « Jenny's Books

  27. Pingback: 2009 all wrapped up (but not quite) « the stacks my destination

  28. Pingback: End of 2009 meme « Word Lily

  29. I’m not a big fan of memes, but this is a good one! I enjoyed reading your responses. Can’t believe you read sooooooo many books!

  30. Pingback: Saturday Review of Books (and Lists): January 2, 2010 : Semicolon

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