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Even though I haven’t picked up a non-school assigned book since March, I apparently cannot resist the temptation of free books in the donation bin. I snagged three (pictured above) yesterday, and I imagine more will make their way into my room as the dorms empty of residents.
- American Woman (Susan Choi), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize
- Farewell to Manzanar (Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston), a memoir of a Japanese-American family living in an interment camp during World War II.
- The Wind Done Gone (Alice Randall), which bills itself as “a provocative literary parody that explodes the mythology perpetrated by a Southern classic”. You can probably guess a to what that classic book may be based on the title.
I made a decision earlier this morning to delete my TBR list. I decided to do so after checking ten titles off the list from my public library only to open up each book when I arrived home and wonder why I wanted to read it in the first place. Most of the titles on the list are ones I no longer recognize or have no recollection as to why I added them in the first place.
Deleting might be the wrong word as the list is still in existence. Yet I culled 1,100 titles down to just under 100, keeping only those that I own, added within the last week, or are written by favorite authors. Of the 98 books left on the list, 43 are ones that I own and thus constitute my physical TBR pile.
I probably deleted some great books off the list, but it feels good to have a much more manageable list to work off of going forward. This might just be the fresh start I need to climb out of this reading slump.
“My local library branch started doing this “Blind Date with a Book” thing, thought you guys might like it. The shelf was full when we got there, but was like this as we were leaving. The books are wrapped in paper and have different designs on them, and then a few words vaguely describing the subject matter of the book. Things like “Drama”, “Plot Twists”, “espionage”, etc. The only thing exposed on the book is the barcode that you use to scan the book out. I thought it was a pretty cool idea.”
I’m thinking this might be a fantastic way to get over the dilemma of choosing my next read at the library or even off my own shelves. Of times I know what kind of book I’m looking for or the type of subject I’m interested in, but every once in awhile I find myself standing at the shelves completely overwhelmed by my choices. Wouldn’t it be great to have things simplified for you?
Originally, I planned to let 2012 end without doing a statistical rundown of my books read in the last year. Yet others started posting them and the nerd in me starting geeking out. I couldn’t resist.
This breakdown isn’t nearly as elaborate as years past. I’m still coming out of a reading slump, and I gave up updating my spreadsheet of information back in August so this is about all the information I could pull together without reviewing every single title on an individual basis.
Overall, I read 130 books in 2012. Of that, 69 titles were fiction (46 percent) and 80, or 54 percent, were nonfiction. This is the first time since starting this blog that I have read more nonfiction titles than fiction. I imagine the Honors Project had quite a bit to do with that! Unlike last year, the majority of the books I read were written by males at 57 percent with females writing 43 percent of the books I read. For the first time, I did not include a category for books written by co-authors of opposite genders.
I also read 44,737 pages in 2012. The shortest book I read was 34 while the longest clocked in at 1,141 pages. (Thank you, Stephen King!) The oldest book I read was written in -750 and the newest book was published in 2012. This averaged to a publication date of 1967.
Breaking it down from month to month, the effects of my reading slump in late October through late December is obvious. I’m accustomed to seeing lower numbers in September and February as the new semester at school gets underway, but I would have expected an upswing in November and December. No dice.
I’m still reading the majority of my books in print. I find the eBooks I have on my iPad are much easier to ignore and/or forget than the printed books I have on my shelves. This small percentage might also have something to do with how I source my reads.
Unlike the last few years, the majority of the books I owned are those I have purchased. I’m not sure if this is because I’m finally making headway on my TBR shelf or because this category includes textbooks, but I am happy to see the change! I still source a quarter of my reads from the library, and I managed to read the same number of books from PaperBackSwap as I did last year.
I’m not really in the mood to evaluate my goals for the past year. I finally a breaking out of this slump and don’t really want to dwell on the past. For 2013, I’m wiping the slate clean and continue on without any specific reading goals. Too many academic ones I need to focus on right now!
At the end of 2011, I launched a reading project for myself for 2012 centered on preparing to write my honors thesis entitled “The Honors Project”. Given that 2012 has come to a close, I am wrapping up this project and preparing to move on to the writing stage.
As I stated in my introductory post and on my project page, I concentrated on non-fiction books about food, economics, and geography. Food is the central topic of my thesis, but the theories I use are shaped by both the fields of economics and geography. I was also hoping to use the project as an excuse to read some of those titles that my professors had mentioned in class or in passing that I had yet to find the time to read.
I read six books on food, ten books on economics, and four books on geography for a total of 20 books read. This wasn’t nearly as many as I had hoped to read but given that I made zero progress on this project in November and December, it still created a rather sizable dent in my list of possible titles.
Highlights of the project include finding the book that will most assist me in my thesis (Harvey Blatt’s America’s Food), finding the book I can use to teach economics to my friends (Grady Klein and Yoram Bauman’s The Cartoon Introduction to Economics), finding the book I most want to discuss with a professor (Linda Polman’s The Crisis Caravan), and finding the book that I recommended to all my relatives over the holiday season in light of the Fiscal Cliff crisis (Bob Woodward’s The Price of Politics).