Monthly Archives: September 2007

A Look at Statistics

Standard

A long time back, I mentioned the spreadsheet that I keep of books that I have read. I decided today that I needed to take a look at it and make some comparisons with last year. I have been keeping the list for almost 2 years now, with 2006 being the first complete year that I tracked. It is fascinating to me to be able to do this kind of within the year and year over year analysis, but I am aware that this makes me odd ;-).

Books I have completed to this point in 2006: 63 (83 total)
Books I had completed to this point in 2007: 61
Science fiction books, 2006: 24, or 28.92%
Science fiction books, 2007: 24 (so far), or 39.34%
Books started but not completed, 2006: 4
Books started but not completed, 2007: 4, not counting the one I am currently reading
Non-Fiction books, 2006: 14, or 16.87%
Non-Fiction books, 2007: 7, or 11.48%
Re-reads, 2006: 4
Re-reads, 2007: 6

So, I am reading more science fiction this year, but less non-fiction. I am ahead of the pace to read 83 books this year, but behind where I actually was at this point last year. I was slowing down at this point last year, but I have been speeding up lately, so I may even finish more than 83 this year. Disturbingly, I saw some books on the 2006 list that I do not remember reading at all. Most of them I remembered well, but I did not have any memory of re-reading Neuromancer last year, and only a vague memory of Disturbance, by Bruce Sterling.

55 – 61

Standard

55. The Average American: the extraordinary search for the nation’s most ordinary citizen by Kevin O’Keefe

The author set out to learn more about being average, after a life spent trying to avoid averageness in nearly every way. This was an interesting book, if you like statistics, but despite the fact that O’Keefe really did seem to learn a lot and become less snobby and superior, he somehow seemed to remain out of touch with the average American anyway. The writing didn’t grab me, and the numbers didn’t seem to make a lot of sense. But, the topic was interesting, and I do like statistics, so I enjoyed it.

56. What the Dead Know by Laura Lippman

Fantastic book. I stayed up way too late to finish this because I could not go to sleep without knowing the end. I was really surprised by the end, but it made perfect sense.

57. Innocent Blood by P.D. James

This is very different from James’ more straightforward mysteries, and it is very thought-provoking. I will have to think about this one for a while.

58. More Than Human by Theodore Sturgeon

Fascinating book on a possible future human evolution. This book postulates a social organism with different people making up a group that functions as a whole. It seems unlikely, especially since the people involved are born into normal families and then have to find each other, and procreation in general seems problematic, but the ideas investigated are intriguing.

59. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brilliant, thought-provoking book. This was a subtle and fascinating exploration into the meaning of life. The non-fiction afterword by Huxley is a little more difficult to take. He makes good points, but his superior tone is not going to win a lot of converts. He was much better off making his points fictionally.

60. The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields

Pulitzer Prize winner. I have read one other book by Shields (Larry’s Party), so I knew that she is a fantastic writer, and this book was not a disappointment. The main character of this book is just an ordinary person, which is refreshing. Very good book.

61. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Book 7 by J. K. Rowling

I enjoyed this book–I read the whole thing yesterday. I pretty much knew what happened already, but it was nice to read it all. I am obviously not an obsessive fan, but I do find these books compulsively readable when I do read it.

I find that I am ahead of schedule suddenly, after spending nearly the entire year behind. Well, not schedule, but pace, I guess. So, maybe I can get even more books in! Probably not, with Christmas at the end of the year, I am sure I will slow down in December.