sábado, dezembro 23, 2017

2017: My Reading Year in Review


And the year ends once again...

Without further ado, my crème-de-la-crème was the following:











I’ve been reading a ton of fiction in 2017, which has been so good for the soul and also gave me the little kick I needed to start writing some fiction of my own once again. 2017 neatly encapsulates why I believe we need critics. And never more so than now when any Indie Author can epublish any old book he or she's written. Paradoxically, given all the web-shouting about evil traditional publishers who wilfully smother the voices of debut authors, self-publishing has made good new authors harder to find. The wheat:chaff ratio is now fantastically asymmetric. I've read enough to already have a to-be-read list that I will never get through in my lifetime. I have neither the time nor a pair of rubber gloves strong enough to sift through the all the world's self-epublished rubbish to find a pearl that fell into the bin. So if I am to hear about fine debut voices and books, I need well-read critics (praise be some of my fellow Booklikes critics) to do some work for me. 

So my TBR list is now even longer, which means there's even less room for debut authors to get on to it randomly. But if I am persuaded by a critic whose filter I trust, a new author might leapfrog to the top.

This year I finally got round to start (re)-reading some of my all-time favourites: Philip K. Dick, Robert A. Heinlein, Antonio Tabucchi, Iain M. Banks' Culture Books, Proust, Marlowe's Doctor Faustus, Homer's The Odyssey, etc. This year I also read two extraordinary non-fiction books, both by Lee Smolin. Also worth mentioning, in terms of Literary criticism, two very strong takes on Alfred Bester and James Gunn, two very important SF authors. James E. Ryan's "Shakespeare's Symmetries: The Mirrored Structure of Action in the Plays" also took me by surprise, when I thought I'd read everything there was to read Shakespeare-wise...Palmer's "Version Control" made me believe there's still hope for SF in this day and age.


Links for some of the above-mentioned reviews (in no particular order):


Can No Longer Bear the Aggressiveness of Poetry: "Berlin-Hamlet" by Szilárd Borbély, Ottilie Mulzet (Translator)
Complex Patterning: "Alfred Bester" by Jad Smith 
Beyond the Usual Alpha-Beta Search: "Deep Thinking - Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins” by Garry Kasparov, Mig Greengard
Reality and Illusion: "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick
I Do Repent, and Yet I Do Despair: "Doctor Faustus" by Christopher Marlowe, Simon Trussler
Beckettian SF: "The Man in the High Castle" by Philip K. Dick
Representation of Human: "The Odyssey" by Homer (translated by Robert Fitzgerald; read by Dan Stevens)
Goodreads' Censorship: G.R. Reader's Off-Topic
Gaming All-Nighters: "The Player of Games" by Iain M. Banks
The Holy Book of Blake: "The Poetic Image" by Cecil Day-Lewis
Darkness Changes Nothing: “Replacement” by Tor Ulven
The Emptiness of Literature: "Requiem - A Hallucination" by Antonio Tabucchi, Margaret Jull Costa (translator)
Chiastic Rhetorical Devices: “Shakespeare's Symmetries: The Mirrored Structure of Action in the Plays” by James E. Ryan
All Much Ado about Nothing: “The Trouble with Physics” by Lee Smolin
Causality Violation SF: “Version Control” by Dexter Palmer
Claustrophobic and Baroque Experience: "Swann's Way" by Marcel Proust
Non-canonical SF author: “The Culture Series of Iain M. Banks - A Critical Introduction” by Simone Caroti
The Smallnesses of War: "The Two of Swords, 3 volumes" by K.J. Parker

On with the rest of the numbers:


· Number of words written in the 109 book reviews (*): 108428 (average 994,7 words per review)
· Number of words written in the 31 non-book chronicles/essays: 29630 (average 955,8 words per review)
· Number of words written in the 140 reviews and non-book chronicles/essays: 138058 (average 986,1 words)

NB(*): The book "The Two of Swords" comprises 3 volumes, but only one review (111 books read, 109 book reviews).

Number of books and pages read: 





Number of Books Read Per Publication Year (1900-2017): 




Ratings Distribution (2017):





My 2017 Reading Challenge:



My All-Time Booklikes' Profile as of the end of 2017 (489 reviews in total):



NB: 489 reviews. Shy of 500...

Number of followers and Follows on Booklikes:

2017 Average Rating:




NB: 3.7 in 2016 (the same; clockwork on my part...).

All-Time Most Popular Pages from My Blog:


NB: What a surprise! My Shakespeare pages comprise my TOP3. And my musings in German in 4th place! Wonders will never cease...

My All-Time Rating  Distribution (3.3):



My All-Time Physical Properties (Number of Pages Distribution):



How High is My Book Stack:



NB: My value at the end of 2017 is 288 meters (945.3 feet). Higher than the Big Ben and the Washington Monument! The Eiffel Tower is just around the corner with 324 meters (1063 feet)...

If all the pages in all my books were laid end-to-end:



My All-time Author Gender:


My "Dead or Alive" When it Comes to Authors:


My All-Time Dewey Decimal:



My 8XX (Literature) Dewey Decimal:


Number of Books Read on My Bookshelf:


2017 Shortest, Longest Books (and average): 




2017 Most and Least Popular:



2017 Fiction vs Nonfiction vs Poetry: 



65/44/2.

NB: 49 SF books out of 65 fiction books. Not bad...

All-Time Blog Hits Around the World (BookLikes):



All-Time Blog Hits Around the World (the blog you're reading now):


NB: Around 38K new hits in 2017; 3167 hits per month in 2017):

All-Time "My Map of the World" (1280 places) :

All-Time Number of Posts Written Between August 2006 and December 2017:




Coda:

Because this is my final post, a coda is in order.

I read for the same reason Mark Renton did heroin in Trainspotting, sometimes I subconsciously crave a wee bit of silence. Write - you have to. You begin .. you are going into the area. The area you need to turn into a garden. It is overgrown with weeds and everything ... you start ploughing away. Tons of words that don´t add up to squat. Word word word ... they trail off like comet trails over the horizon. Only not as good as comet tails because they have no light. You keep going, flabbergasted, flabbergasted that you were so full of bullshit. You are as far from a good haiku as is Costco from a tasty tomato. Read - you have to - something tells you that over there, in there, between the covers, there is a soul. An unquiet soul. With something to say, report, scream, murmur, tell. You read, you have to ... and then, when the intensity of this, the reading and the writing gets to be too much, you go outside, or over there where others are, you speak. 

Older now, I still find myself with a book permanently in hand. These days it is just as likely to be non-fiction (physics or computer science in particular) or a SF novel. I can't imagine ever making it through life without a world to step into away from the madness. But then, I also can't imagine a SF world without K. J. Parker. If it came down to a choice, I'd pick the manuscript over the man. There was no such thing as "literature" in the second millennium BC. Novels are stories, but stories are not just novels. Stories do not offer a "contained" world with a beginning, middle and an end. All storytellers (and Shakespeare) know that stories never end, they just pause at the beginning of the next story. If you ever find yourself silent reading, note that this is a remarkably modern phenomenon and not at all common in classical times. Jorge Luis Borges describes the moment when St. Ambrose astonished his colleagues by reading without mouthing and sounding his words - I’ve forgotten the essay's title - and suggests this is the first time it is recorded in history. Did reading give people solace, or rather the hearing of stories, whether spoken by others, or by oneself out loud, or silently as we can now do it? I think it is not the written word that is important here. It’s what you make of what you read that’s paramount. Please, don’t you ever stop reading.


I'm off to the snow. Yes, I know, I'm nuts...

See ya.


SF = Speculative Fiction.






7 comentários:

Book Stooge disse...

Bravo!!!!!

Now those were a lot of stats to work through! Thankfully church was cancelled today due to snow&ice, so I had the time to sit on the couch and pour through them. A long comment to commence...

...and apparently my comment is too long for blogger to accept. Breaking it up into 2 parts then.


1) What did you use to put your creme de la creme picture together? While I'm pretty satisfied with the free website I use for my monthly roundups, I'm always on the search for others, just in case, you know?

2) re:TBR. I'm with you on the indies and the "wheat:chaff ratio". Plus, I'm about 2 years behind on most releases, so I get to wait to see if the books pan out or not. I've also started seriously thinking about not adding books to my TBR until the trilogy/series/whatever is finished. I'm tired, overall of waiting years between releases.

3) Thank you for the complete Shakespeare. It is now on my kindle and will be worked into the rotation. As well as all of the Dickens' books I have. 2018 is going to be another year of half re-reading, half new stuff. Do you think you'll do more re-reading this coming year?

4) Average words per review. Almost 1000?!? NICE! How/where did you calculate that number? I haven't explored blogger OR wordpress to see if they have stuff like that available.

5) Books and pages. I'm using calibre for these stats this year. The books are easy, as all I have to do is a search for every book with a 2017 tag. 189 to date. Hoping to break the 190 mark this weekend. Pages I'm having to do manually. Didn't start keeping track of page numbers in calibre until midyear but thankfully I did keep track of monthly pages early on WP, so it's been just a matter of adding those up. Going to try better to do a monthly sum up so it's easier at the end of next year. Sigh, already planning for the end of next year. Isn't that crazy?

6) Your goal. Did you beat your goal by so much because of reasons, or was it set lower to begin with so there would be no pressure? I know in years past I'd always try to put it lower by 25-50 so I wouldn't have to feel like rushing to make it in December. This year I had no goal and it actually was ok.


/end Part 1

Book Stooge disse...

Begin Part 2:

Can you believe 4000characters is the limit on a comment? I didn't think my comment was THAT long. Oh well...



7) Booklikes follows/followers. Has this changed any over the year with booklikes acting the way it has? Also, every time I login, usually to link to an old review, I've got notifications by the staff about "Follow Fridays". Seems like they're trying to keep things going, but. Is it still just as buggy?

8) Rating. Man, averages above 3.5 always make me jealous. Right now, my average at librarything, for all time, is at 3.08. Of course, from 2000-2002, I don't have a lot of books rated, so that brings it down. But still. One thing I do miss about Booklikes, easy stats :-)

9) Popular pages. I am assuming this info is from blogger. Where did you go to find that?

10) Total number of books. Nice! I love it when I see people with thousands of books. Partly because it means they read alot but also because it means they keep track of that kind of thing and those are the kind of people I want to hang out with online.

11) F/NF/P 49 science fiction. Now, is that "real" science fiction, or an amalgamation of both science fiction and fantasy? I know you've blogged about this very subject before too :-)

12) 3.1K hits per month. DANG!!!!!!! Now that is a nice number. I just did a quick calc over on wordpress and I'm averaging 1.2-1.3K per month. What I don't get is why you don't get more comments. You have some super interesting posts that always make me think. I know I don't comment all the time but most of the time that is because the post is on something that I don't care about, like if Shakespeare was real or not :-D

12A) Comments. I'm still don't understand why people don't comment more, anywhere. It seems like you should be drowning in comments. Heck, even on my blog I get people who like every post but haven't commented ONCE in the entire year. And how could someone read your posts and not comment at some point? Even if in total disagreement? It baffles me completely.

13) Coda. You have a wonderful Christmas and New Years, since this is your last post for the year. I guess I'll see you in 2018!
ps, have fun in the snow.

Manuel Antão disse...

inline BookStooge.

7) Booklikes follows/followers. Has this changed any over the year with booklikes acting the way it has? Also, every time I login, usually to link to an old review, I've got notifications by the staff about "Follow Fridays". Seems like they're trying to keep things going, but. Is it still just as buggy?

Yep, but still less so. I still use it because I like the stats.

8) Rating. Man, averages above 3.5 always make me jealous. Right now, my average at librarything, for all time, is at 3.08. Of course, from 2000-2002, I don't have a lot of books rated, so that brings it down. But still. One thing I do miss about Booklikes, easy stats :-)

Yes. The BL stats are a wonder.

9) Popular pages. I am assuming this info is from blogger. Where did you go to find that?

There's a running stats section where I can get all the goodies stats-wise.

10) Total number of books. Nice! I love it when I see people with thousands of books. Partly because it means they read alot but also because it means they keep track of that kind of thing and those are the kind of people I want to hang out with online.

Yep. When I'm feeling swapped in work I just look at the number of books I read over the years, and say to myself: "I'm the Federer of books", but then I look at yours and I think: "Nah, I'm just Nadal..." NB: I hate Nadal. I like finesse not grunting...

11) F/NF/P 49 science fiction. Now, is that "real" science fiction, or an amalgamation of both science fiction and fantasy? I know you've blogged about this very subject before too :-)

No. Speculative Fiction. Both Science Fiction and Fantasy.

12) 3.1K hits per month. DANG!!!!!!! Now that is a nice number. I just did a quick calc over on wordpress and I'm averaging 1.2-1.3K per month. What I don't get is why you don't get more comments. You have some super interesting posts that always make me think. I know I don't comment all the time but most of the time that is because the post is on something that I don't care about, like if Shakespeare was real or not :-D

Easy. I just comment on worthwhile comments...so many stupid people around. It's mindboggling to say the least. and you do get more worthwhile comments than me. But then I'm not in this for the comments.

12A) Comments. I'm still don't understand why people don't comment more, anywhere. It seems like you should be drowning in comments. Heck, even on my blog I get people who like every post but haven't commented ONCE in the entire year. And how could someone read your posts and not comment at some point? Even if in total disagreement? It baffles me completely.

see above.

13) Coda. You have a wonderful Christmas and New Years, since this is your last post for the year. I guess I'll see you in 2018!
ps, have fun in the snow.

It was fun. I only have fun in the snow when I'm skiing downhill...otherwise I hate it. I much prefer sun, the beach, the waves, the scorching heat, etc. Cold and snow are not my thing. I wish both you and Mrs. Bookstooge a lot of good books and health most of all. I'll post something of me in the snow shortly.

Manuel Antão disse...

inline.

1) What did you use to put your creme de la creme picture together? While I'm pretty satisfied with the free website I use for my monthly roundups, I'm always on the search for others, just in case, you know?

I got it from the enemy (GR)...I know. I like it so much I had to use it.

2) re:TBR. I'm with you on the indies and the "wheat:chaff ratio". Plus, I'm about 2 years behind on most releases, so I get to wait to see if the books pan out or not. I've also started seriously thinking about not adding books to my TBR until the trilogy/series/whatever is finished. I'm tired, overall of waiting years between releases.

I'm the same. That's why I waited 2 years to start reading "Two of Swords" (it was published in more than 20 installments!!!). Late 2017 finally the three volumes came out wioth all the installments. xmas gift ever as far as I'm concerned.

3) Thank you for the complete Shakespeare. It is now on my kindle and will be worked into the rotation. As well as all of the Dickens' books I have. 2018 is going to be another year of half re-reading, half new stuff. Do you think you'll do more re-reading this coming year?

I'll try. I'm still compiling my tentative re-reading list. I like taking time with my lists... juggling too many plates at the moment, family- and work-wise. I'm not sure how much reading (and re-reading) I'll be able to squeeze in.

4) Average words per review. Almost 1000?!? NICE! How/where did you calculate that number? I haven't explored blogger OR wordpress to see if they have stuff like that available.

I use qlik view. It's a platform I use at work to work on my dashboards.

5) Books and pages. I'm using calibre for these stats this year. The books are easy, as all I have to do is a search for every book with a 2017 tag. 189 to date. Hoping to break the 190 mark this weekend. Pages I'm having to do manually. Didn't start keeping track of page numbers in calibre until midyear but thankfully I did keep track of monthly pages early on WP, so it's been just a matter of adding those up. Going to try better to do a monthly sum up so it's easier at the end of next year. Sigh, already planning for the end of next year. Isn't that crazy?

BL gives you the number of pages read over the year.

6) Your goal. Did you beat your goal by so much because of reasons, or was it set lower to begin with so there would be no pressure? I know in years past I'd always try to put it lower by 25-50 so I wouldn't have to feel like rushing to make it in December. This year I had no goal and it actually was ok.

Douglas Adam said somewhere the answer to life, the universe, and everything was 42. For me it's 52 (the number of weeks in a year; I always aim for reading one book per week minimum).

Book Stooge disse...

Alright slacker, it's been almost a month. Time to get back in the blogging game...

Manuel Antão disse...

Ah yes, Bookstooge, that slacker lifestyle, after 5 years in College, I must write a book about being so 'lazy'...I think it's important to maintain a sense of humour toward oneself when fighting against this vile, epic failure of societal organisation called slackerdom. There's nothing wrong with farting competitions while we anticipate the revolution to smash this parasitic system.

For a week or so I'd like to enjoy the freedom of just being able to sit around in my pants playing games for 10 hours straight, but prolonged slacking makes me restless as hell...

Book Stooge disse...

Well, the farting revolution won't start in my house, that's for sure :-D

I'm assuming you're talking about video games? And I know what you mean about restless. 5 days of inaction seems to be about my limit now. On day 6, I'm ready to do outside and DO something...