reviews, Uncategorized

2014 Highlights: What I’ve been reading

The end of another jam packed year of reading has arrived – the December stats will be out tomorrow – with the final total for the year and all the usual gubbins and you’ve already had my Books of the Year, but it felt like there were a few more things that I needed to mention that didn’t fit into either of those posts.

I’ve had a look back over the years books, made a tally chart and tried to look for patterns.  It was tricky.

My most read author of the year was Charlaine Harris – I finished off the final couple of Sookie Stackhouse novels this year – read all of the Lily Bard series and started the Aurora Teagarden ones.  I find Charlaine Harris’s books very easy to read – particularly at times when I’m tired and can’t concentrate on the heavier stuff.  A lot of her books have been reissued off the back of True Blood being on TV – and have subsequently turned up in the discount book stores, charity shops and second hand retailers at very cheap prices – which accounts for her position as most read (although she was only a couple of books ahead of her nearest rivals for that title)  – because I wouldn’t describe her as one of my favourite authors.

The first book I finished in 2014 was Kerry Greenwood’s Murder and Mendelssohn – the latest book in the Phryne Fisher series – which were one of my discoveries of 2013 – I read all the books in the series in about six months flat (whilst reading other stuff at the same time).  This year I’ve read all them all over again (which doesn’t count towards my book total for the year) – and if anything I like them more than I did the first time.  They are perfect reading for nightshift train journeys – or for recovering from nights afterwards.

It seems apt that I started the year with a murder mystery – as they are very much a theme in this year’s reading.  I’ve read eleven of Ngaio Marsh’s Inspector Alleyn books this year – and ten Meg Langslow mysteries.  There’s some Josephine Tey, some George Gently and various other bits of series involving detection – like Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series and Catriona McPherson’s Dandy Gilver books.

I’ve also read half a dozen or so Carola Dunn books of various types and a similar number of M C Beaton’s books (in her various guises and from several different series) – some mysteries, some romances.  I have to say that I’ve tired of M C Beaton’s historicals – I find increasingly that they’re very formulaic and not very satisfying.

In 2014 I’ve also expanded my historical romance horizons.  I’ve been a fan of genre giants Eloisa James, Julia Quinn and Sarah MacLean for some years now – but in the last twelve months I’ve expanded my horizons a little with the help of Goodreads, recommendations from authors I like already and a few Facebook reading groups.  Some have been good, some haven’t been at all – but I’ve enjoyed seeing what else is out there and firming up my list of things that I don’t like in historical romances!

What I haven’t done this year is read enough non-fiction.  And I’m blaming my nightshifts for that – typically non-fiction requires more of my concentration than the fiction options waiting on the pile – so when I’m tired it tends to be the easier reads that get picked up.  I need to try and do something about this in 2015.

But the thing that stands out is how many good books I’ve read this year – either I’m getting better at picking books (and giving up on the rubbish ones) or there are a lot of seriously good books out there.  Less than 15 percent of my reading may have got five stars – but more than 100 books got four stars – and another 100 got three.  So the majority of the books that I’ve read, I’ve rated good or better.  Not bad going.

Here’s to a brilliant year of reading in 2015. Maybe it’ll be the year I get the to-read pile down and improve by award winning novel hit rate.  Here’s hoping!

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