My June reading - taking stock now we are half way through the year

Author: Anne

Date Published: Jul 1st 2018, 12:59pm

We’ve reached half way through the year and it is time to take stock of my reading. During June I read 37 books, the majority of which I read on my Kindle although I did get three audio-books finished. Only five of those books were written by male authors which is not a deliberate choice but maybe reflects the books I currently enjoy reading.

I have now read 187 books this year which if we project forward seems to indicate that I will read in the region of 370 books for the year. That will be unusual because for the past nine years I have read over 400 books each year and on two of those years I actually read over 500 (I wasn’t working full-time in those years !). It will be interesting to see if I manage to reach 400.

I am aware that I read more books than the average reader but the number I read does vary significantly from month to month (27 to 37 this year). Here are some reasons why :

• Book length. If I read a very long book in a month that obviously pushes my total lower. A book over 600 pages is as long as two standard novels and takes as long to read. My longer books this month were “Bring Up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel (historical fiction) and “Gardens of the Moon” by Steven Erikson (epic fantasy)

• Book complexity. Non-fiction takes longer to read than fiction and more literary fiction takes longer to read than romance. Complex books this month were “Isabella” by Alison Weir (an historical biography) and “The Hare with Amber Eyes” by Edmund de Waal (an historical memoir)

• Book format. I read much the same speed in paper or ebook format unless the paper book is very thick and heavy or has very small print. I haven’t had any of those this month as I prefer to read big books on my Kindle for practical reasons. Audio-books do take longer to read, I usually read 2 or 3 per month, taking maybe 15 to 20 hours for a reasonable sized non-fiction book whereas I might read that in 5 or 6 hours in physical form. I do, however, tend to listen to audio-books when I am driving which isn’t really time I could use for other formats. My main audio-book for commuting this month was “Endurance” by Alfred Lansing (a tale of arctic exploration and survival)

• Time available. If I have lots of time off work or have a holiday period I tend to get more reading done. If my social life kicks into gear or I have other tasks to do then my reading time falls. This month I have spent a few days in London which allowed me lots of reading time in the evenings and on tube trains not to mention the travelling to and from the capital. Books I read when away included “The Importance of Being Kennedy” by Laurie Graham (an historical novel), “Changeless” by Gail Carriger (a steampunk fantasy) and “Not Your Prince Charming” by Kate Johnson (an amusing tale of an imaginary royal wedding).

• Mood/alternatives. It does happen, although infrequently, that I am just not in the mood for reading and I am in the mood for playing on social media or playing games on my tablet. I can’t say that it happens very often but I know that I will lose at least an hour potential reading time each evening for the next three weeks as the Tour de France commences.

I know that people set challenges for how many books they read in a year but I don’t do that. I do indulge in the odd reading challenge and, in fact, am in the middle of one that I will start blogging about soon. I also want to reduce the number of physical books I have waiting to be read so am trying to read more paper volumes. If I set targets I will end up becoming a bit over competitive.

Just to finish, I noted this month how many of my books had only one word titles. Apart from “Endurance”, “Isabella” and “Changeless” listed above there was also “Dauntless by Jack Campbell (space opera), “Exhume” by Danielle Girard (Crime), “Stiff” by Mary Roche (non-fiction about what happens to our bodies when we die) and “Xenocide” by Orson Scott Card (science fiction about religion and identity). I am also reading “Uprooted” by Naomi Novi