How many books read in 2012?
101, which isn’t very many for me. I seem to spend much of my time re-reading manuscripts at the moment, and also skimming academic texts. Once my PhD is finished I shall revert to devouring three a week.
42 fiction, 59 non-fiction. I thought I’d spent most of my time reading biographies, but obviously not.
47 male, 55 female (I know that doesn’t add up, but one book was jointly-authored)
I’m never very good at picking an overall favourite, so here are my top five in no particular order:
- The Day Parliament Burned Down by Caroline Shenton
- Any Human Heart by William Boyd
- Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson
- Into the Frame: The Four Loves of Ford Madox Brown by Angela Thirlwell
- Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England by Sarah Wise
Dr Phillips: A Maida Vale Idyll. It was an interesting novel (and very useful for my thesis), but it’s exceptionally racist, even by nineteenth-century standards, and I found it difficult to read.
Oldest book read?
Confessions of an English Opium-Eater by Thomas de Quincey. Appropriately, I read it while on heavy-duty painkillers for a dodgy back.
Inconvenient People: Lunacy, Liberty and the Mad-Doctors in Victorian England by Sarah Wise, which I devoured as soon as it was published, having keenly anticipated its arrival. It didn’t disappoint.
Longest book title?
People from the Other Side: the Enigmatic Fox Sisters and the History of Spiritualism by the lovely Maurice Leonard
Stet by Diana Athill, which is also one of my favourites.
How many re-reads?
8, including (inevitably) Diary of a Nobody.
Most books read by one author this year?
The honours go to Florence Marryat. Much as I love her, there are many I would cheerfully never read again.
Any in translation?
Just the one: Anna, the Professor’s Daughter by Anna Daal. It’s a rather odd Dutch novel about vivisection.
And how many of this year’s books were from the library?
16, and I borrowed many more for research purposes. Libraries are one of our most precious resources.