End of Year Book Meme 2013

by catherine on January 1, 2014

It’s time for the end of year meme, in which I recount the year’s literary adventures, and wish you all a very happy 2014.

How many books read in 2013?

106, mainly thanks to having (very uncharacteristically) taken a holiday in September. I also had to re-read quite a few books for my thesis, as I appear to have forgotten nearly everything I absorbed from my early research.

Fiction/Non-Fiction ratio?

47 fiction / 59 non-fiction.
Male/female authors?

39 male / 68 female (this doesn’t add up, as one title was co-authored)
Favourite book read?

Hmm, I couldn’t pick an absolute favourite, but my highlights (in no particular order) were:

  • The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  • Capturing the Light: The Birth of Photography by Roger Watson & Helen Rappaport
  • Dear Lupin … Letters to a Wayward Son by Roger Mortimer
  • How to Create the Perfect Wife by Wendy Moore
  • Bertie by Jane Ridley
  • The Unwinding by George Packer
  • The Visitor by Katherine Stansfield
  • On Writing by Stephen King
  • The Goddess and the Thief by Essie Fox

I haven’t included any that I’ve actually published, as that would be cheeky.

Least favourite?

I struggled with The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, and took violently against Simon Gray’s Smoking Diaries. I did try the second volume, but he made me want to climb out of the window and disappear.

Oldest book read?

Jane Eyre (1847). I last read it when I was 17, and it was just as good the second time (despite my worrying that it would disappoint).


I’m not sure as, unusually, I’ve actually read quite a few new books this year. It’s probably Katherine Stansfield’s superb first novel The Visitor.

Longest book title?

 The Spy Who Loved: the Secrets and Lives of Christine Granville, Britain’s First Female Special Agent of WWII by Clare Mulley, which is also a brilliant and moving read.

Shortest title?

Ignoring sub-titles, it’s  My Lady by Emma Willsher Atkinson, a Victorian novel about the wife of an adulterous douchebag.

How many re-reads?

23, which seems rather a lot. This is mainly due to thesis revisions, and also because I’ve re-read the books I published this year.

Most books read by one author this year

Unsurprisingly, it’s Florence Marryat. If I exclude her (which would annoy her greatly), it would be Sue Townsend. I indulged in a delightful Adrian Mole-fest earlier this year.

Any in translation?

Only The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Bored Me Rigid.

And how many of this year’s books were from the library?

Only 6, I’m afraid. Mind you, I did borrow some from my partner (who believes there’s no such thing as a shared book), a few were review copies, and most were already on my groaning shelves or my infinitely capacious Kindle.

Out now: The Meanings of Home in Elizabeth Gaskell's Fiction, a beautifully written study of this Victorian author's novels.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Anna van Gelderen January 1, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Great list! I believe it was on your recommendation that I added How to Create the Perfect Wife to my tbr list. Anyway, this list reminds me that the book is waiting for me on my Kindle (along with literally a thousand others).
Happy reading in 2014.


catherine January 5, 2014 at 1:54 pm

Ah yes, How to Create the Perfect Wife is great, Anna. I also have more than I could possibly read on my Kindle at the moment, yet still I buy more. Anyway, very happy reading to you, too.


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