2014: My Year in Reading

I have a friend who posts a list of all the books they read each year on their Facebook page. This has inspired me to write my own Year in Reading posts.

All of the reading data that follows comes from my Goodreads account. A complete list of all the books I read last year is at the bottom of this post.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I realized after I posted this on February 12, 2015, that I had miscalculated some of my figures based on the data. On February 13, I recalculated all my figures to correct for my previous mistake. This post has been updated to reflect these new calculations. I added a day to my time-to-read figures.

I read 40 books in 2014. It was a nonfiction-heavy year for me.

  • 24 nonfiction
  • 16 fiction

On average, it took me 6.7 days to read a book.

  • 4.2 days for fiction titles
  • 8.4 days for nonfiction titles

Only 7 titles took me more than a week to read.

There are 6 books that I read in a single day each.

  • 5 nonfiction
  • 1 fiction

The longest it took me to read a book was 85 days: The Sufis by Idris Shah. I checked it out on impulse and then wasn’t in the mood to read it. I’d pick it up, read a few pages, and then set it down and ignore it for a week or two. It only took around 5 days of actual active reading time.

The 85-day figure for The Sufis obviously distorts my average time-to-read figure for nonfiction titles. However, controlling for that effect, it still took me on average one or two days longer to read nonfiction titles than for fiction.

My longest uninterrupted stretch of reading was 26 days from January 20-February 14.

My longest stretch without reading was 35 days from April 4-May 8.

My seasonal reading falls out as follows:

  • 9 books in the winter (December-January-February)
  • 10 books in the spring (March-April-May)
  • 6 books in the summer (June-July-August)
  • 15 books in the fall (September-October-November)

I read 7 titles in November, the most of any month. I only read one title in January, April, and August. This is normal for me—I go through phases when I read voraciously and phases when I don’t want to read at all. Still, there were no months when I didn’t read at least one book.

The one thing I wasn’t able to do with my reading data for 2014 was to undertake any analysis based on the number of pages per book. Several of my 2014 titles were in e-format and they don’t have reliable page data. The number of pages in an ebook varies based on the reader’s chosen font, font size, margins, line spacing, and the orientation of the screen. Speaking for myself, every ebook I read indexes with significantly fewer pages on my iPad than the number of pages listed on the item record in Goodreads—for example, the book I’m currently reading, Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie, is 295 pages on my iPad but the Goodreads record lists it at 432. This is normal in my experience with ebooks and Goodreads.

For that reason, there’s too much inconsistency in the official number of pages in the data from my Goodreads account for meaningful analysis. Also, there was one title that I listened to three-quarters of it as an audiobook and then finished reading in paperback.

40 titles is less than I would like to read each year. I’m not one to set massive reading goals for myself but I’d like to be somewhere in the vicinity of 50 or so. So far in 2015, I’m not reading at any better pace than last year but I’ll try and make up for it in the summer.

[AUTHOR’S NOTE added December 27, 2019: I was going through my old tracking spreadsheets and discovered an error in my original post. I had listed my longest stretch without reading as 28 days from August 11-September 8. I miscalculated this information. My longest stretch without reading in 2014 was actually 35 days from April 4-May 8. I’ve updated this post.]

2014 Books Read

Title Author Started Finished
1. Dangerous Women George R.R. Martin & Gardner Dozois (eds.) 12/31/2013 1/9/2014
2. The Man Who Ate Everything Jeffrey Steingarten 1/20/2014 2/1/2014
3. The Sisters Brothers Patrick deWitt 2/2/2014 2/4/2014
4. Cowboy Feng’s Space Bar and Grill Steven Brust 2/4/2014 2/5/2014
5. Raising Steam Terry Pratchett 2/5/2014 2/13/2014
6. Zombie Spaceship Wasteland Patton Oswalt 2/14/2014 2/14/2014
7. Everything Is Miscellaneous: The Power of the New Digital Disorder David Weinberger 2/23/2014 3/2/2014
8. The Jewish-Japanese Sex and Cook Book and How to Raise Wolves Jack Douglas 3/10/2014 3/15/2014
9. Geek Love Katherine Dunn 3/16/2014 3/19/2014
10. The Maid’s Version Daniel Woodrell 3/19/2014 3/20/2014
11. Superman: The High-Flying History of the Man of Steel Larry Tye 3/20/2014 3/26/2014
12. A History of the World in 6 Glasses Tom Standage 3/30/2014 4/3/2014
13. S. Doug Dorst & J.J. Abrams 5/9/2014 5/11/2014
14. The Emergency Sasquatch Ordinance: And Other Real Laws That Human Beings Actually Dreamed Up, Enacted, and Sometimes Even Enforced Kevin Underhill 5/24/2014 5/24/2014
15. The Holy or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of “Hallelujah” Alan Light 5/22/2014 5/24/2014
16. Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint Nadia Bolz-Weber 5/26/2014 5/27/2014
17. Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do Tom Vanderbilt 5/31/2014 6/1/2014
18. Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal Mary Roach 6/7/2014 6/8/2014
19. Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex Mary Roach 6/11/2014 6/14/2014
20. The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet Nina Teicholz 6/29/2014 7/3/2014
21. How Star Wars Conquered the Universe: The Past, Present, and Future of a Multibillion Dollar Franchise Chris Taylor 7/6/2014 7/12/2014
22. My Dark Places James Ellroy 8/8/2014 8/10/2014
23. The Sufis Idries Shah 6/15/2014 9/7/2014
24. The Meat Racket: The Secret Takeover of America’s Food Business Christopher Leonard 9/9/2014 9/21/2014
25. The Buzzing Jim Knipfel 9/25/2014 9/26/2014
26. Everything You Wanted to Know about Indians But Were Afraid to Ask Anton Treuer 9/27/2014 9/27/2014
27. Ready Player One Ernest Cline 9/28/2014 10/2/2014
28. Cosby: His Life and Times Mark Whitaker 10/6/2014 10/12/2014
29. Easy Street: The Hard Way Ron Perlman 10/15/2014 10/21/2014
30. What We See When We Read Peter Mendelsund 10/25/2014 10/25/2014
31. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth Reza Aslan 10/26/2014 11/9/2014
32. Deception Point Dan Brown 11/6/2014 11/11/2014
33. The Slow Regard of Silent Things Patrick Rothfuss 11/16/2014 11/16/2014
34. The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League Jeff Hobbs 11/16/2014 11/20/2014
35. Hollow City Ransom Riggs 11/21/2014 11/23/2014
36. The Forever War Joe Haldeman 11/23/2014 11/25/2014
37. The Long Earth Terry Pratchett 11/26/2014 11/29/2014
38. The Long War Terry Pratchett 11/30/2014 12/3/2014
39. Not My Father’s Son Alan Cumming 12/3/2014 12/6/2014
40. I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks Gina Sheridan 12/24/2014 12/24/2014

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