Friday 30 January 2015


2014 kind of felt a bit stop-start as far as my reading went, I had a few months were I couldn't particularly be bothered to read and towards the end of the year, I was the complete opposite.

I didn't really get involved or commit to any of my signed-up challenges or indeed my own little personal ones with much gusto, other than a last quarter scramble to bump up the numbers to hit my one Holy Grail challenge – 120 total reads for the year. This I managed to achieve by virtue of stacking the decks and devouring a lot of short reads at the end of the year.

All my sidebar challenges I have arbitrarily extended for a couple of years so I should complete eventually. I do also need to update them as I have read more towards my Vintage Mystery Bingo Card and definitely more on the 50 States goal.

I’ll be doing another post on my favourite half dozen or so reads, but I have some statistics from 2014’s 120………..

Does size matter? I keep telling my wife it doesn't!
500 pages plus – 1
400 pages plus – 2
301-400 pages – 20
201-300 pages – 33
101-200 pages – 19
51-100 pages – 21
Under 50 pages – 22

I think my ideal book is probably 200 – 250 pages long, maybe a bit less. (If I had Bernadette’s skill set, I would be illustrating with some fancy graphs!)

Male – 100
Female – 16
Co-authored – 3 = 1.5
Anthology – 1 = 0.5 (Some of the stories must have be penned by women)

I was kind of optimistic that I could achieve 20 – 25% female reads, but I still think (18/120) 15%  is an improvement for me, though I will try and do better in 2015.

USA – 74
England – 21
Britain – 7
Canada – 6
Australia – 3
Scotland – 3
Ireland – 3 (2 Republic, 1 Northern)
France – 2
? – 1

No great surprises here I don’t think. My introduction to the genre was US fiction and the love has maintained ever since. After pushing myself to read some Scandinavian crime fiction in 2013, I stepped away from it in 2014. Nothing from any African or Asian authors either.

Format …….
Digital – 91.5
Paperbacks – 22.5
Hardbacks – 6

I think this figure really surprised me. I hadn't expected there to be such an imbalance between the two formats, particularly as I claim to prefer real paper books to imaginary ones. I’m probably not such a Luddite after all, though with less than 30 physical books read in the year, it doesn’t bode well for the thousands of books sitting in the attic……..100 years plus reading at a conservative estimate.
Longer books are a problem for me on the Kindle. I find myself constantly checking time left in book and % read instead of going with the story a lot of the time.

Type of read…….
Fiction – 118
Non-fiction – 2

I used to think I read roughly 1 non-fiction a month, but apparently I’m more deluded than I thought. Of the non-fictions, one was an observational piece on life and the other was a really long essay-type thing on books.

Year of publication…….
2014 – 51
2014 - year of the book!
2013 – 23
2012 – 9
2011 – 8
2010 – 3
2000’s – 4
1990’s – 5
1980’s – 3
1970’s – 3
1960’s – 4
1950’s – 2
1940’s – 2
1930’s – 2
1920’s – NIL
1910’s – 1

Being a self-confessed fan of 70’s and 80’s pre-tech crime fiction, I’ve kind of let myself down here managing to pretty much ignore it for the whole year. I’m not surprised at the paucity of pre 40’s reads as I don’t go for early 20th Century books. I suppose my addiction to Net Galley is responsible for a few of the new reads as is my willingness to accommodate newbies chucking books at me.

New v. old……..

120 read,

83 never before tried,

37 previously read which includes 2nd and 3rd books from authors who featured in the 83 count. 

I do like trying new things, or do I just like free books? Obviously this pattern to my reading won’t help reduce the number of tubs in the attic, I need to seek a better balance obviously.

Most prolific…….

Our Keith!
Keith Nixon – 4
Olen Steinhauer, Lawrence Block, Janet Evanovich/Lee Goldberg – 3
Daniel Pembrey, Dan O’Shea, Tom Kakonis – 2

The rest were one shot wonders.

Pre-owned or bought and then read – 59
Library books – 3
Freebies from authors or publishers or review sites - 58

Same conclusion as above, if I keep requesting on Net Galley and the like, I’m never likely to do anything more than scratch the surface on my own books………I've been buying them at a faster rate than I can read them for the past 25 years – time to start reading them! 


On my arbitrary and subjective rating system of 1 - 5 STARS, with my minimum hope when cracking a book open being a 4, I enjoyed more than endured last year

5 STARS - 29
4 STARS - 70
3 STARS - 19
2 STARS - 2
1 STAR - 0 

Nearly 1 in 4 I really liked/loved -not a bad percentage.

19 or 1 in 6 were ok, enjoyable but probably forgettable, only 2 weren't that great. Nothing overly sucked.

Blog stats...... 1 curiosity - Linda Grant's I Murdered My Library  

My blog is far from the most popular in the Crime Fiction world which isn't a matter of any regret. I enjoy what I do and I enjoy the visitors who do stop by and comment.

Most of my posts average between 60 and 200 views (if I'm lucky). On the odd occasion that an author like Lawrence Block links back to one of my reviews from his site I may get 300 hits.

I Murdered My Library has been viewed over 1000 times? Strange.....


  1. I think we're all self-delusional in one way or another. I used to think I read about 50% crime fiction and 50% other stuff but my stats don't lie. Then again I do know that I've become more of a crime reader since starting the blog and getting to know so many other crime fiction bloggers whose recommendations inspire me. I probably need to widen my blog circle. But reading crime fiction makes me happy and, at least in this aspect of life, I only have to please myself so I probably won't change things too much.

    It is odd which blog posts get most views - mine is a post from several years ago in which I asked which Jo Nesbo book should I read (it was a poll) - still gets several views a day. Inexplicable

    Do you play an instrument? or sing? Tubs in the Attic sounds like a great band name to me :)

    1. Bernadette, I suppose we do kid ourselves at times. Until I dissected my reading list, I would have gone maybe 40/60 on physical books to digital and I would have assumed I read more from the last century. But hey -- as long as I'm fairly happy like you it doesn't matter. I haven't micro-analysed the fiction into genre but I guess my crime % is higher. No real plans to change things in the coming years - just read more of what I already have.

      I ought to vote on your Nesbo poll!

      My son plays piano, and that's the extent of the Keane musical abilities..... if he ever forms a band I'll recommend your suggestion, for a fee of course ;)

  2. Col - I really like the way you've laid out your reading here. As Bernadette says, those numbers don't lie, and it can really help you see what sort of reader you are. And I think we all go through ups and downs in our reading - times when we are absolutely voracious, and then...other times. Oh, and I respect your choice to challenge yourself in reading-related ways. That's how we keep ourselves fresh as readers I think.

    1. Margot cheers. I think it was a useful exercise for me if not a little time-consuming. One of my 2015 aims is to improve my reading records as I progress through the year, so I can see if my patterns change. I do like trying out new authors - I don't think that will change.

  3. Col, this is the most comprehensive reading roundup I have read since I started blogging. You seem to have covered everything with regard to your reading in 2014. I'm impressed and not a little envious by your statistics of which 83 new authors out of 120 is, how should I put it, splendid. Great reading all round!

    1. Prashant cheers. I am recording this data as I finish my books this year, so God-willing - we are all still around - next year's post will be simpler to construct.

      83 sounds a bit crazy I suppose. 2 in every 3! I think 2015 will be lower. Only 3 from my proposed 10 January reads are newbies!

  4. Enjoyed reading this. Looks like you had fun putting it all together....

    1. Glad you liked it, it was a bit time-consuming - but yeah I had a laugh and it was quite useful to see what I actually read as opposed to what I think I read.

  5. That was really interesting! And you made me laugh with your unfulfilled expectations. I've been keeping records of what I've read for 20 years, but for a long time just title and author. Since having the blog, I've been adding more details to my records each year, and I never regret it, you just have to get into the habit of adding eg publication date to the line - and then it makes end-of-the-year really easy. Keep up the good work in all directions....

    1. I have started doing that on 2015's reading.....hopefully I stay on top of it. It's so easy pulling the data a book at a time as opposed to retrospectively

  6. Whoa, how long did this take you? I don't know if I could even take the time throughout the year to track all of this. But it is a great idea. Very interesting and entertaining. Glen is curious: What is the difference between books with Nationality = England and those with Nationality = Britain.

    1. Maybe 7 or 8 hours on and off throughout the month - time which I would much rather have spent reading, though I am glad I did it. It should sort itself this year, as I'm recording all the relevant details on excel as I read each book.
      Ideally, I could have dispensed with "Britain" and recorded England, Scotland or Wales for each author, but I couldn't zone in on birthplace for some of the authors. This year as I record my USA reads, I'm trying to establish author birth state for my State Challenge - sometimes that information isn't readily available either. I tried to backtrack on that for 2014 also.