This post might end up being really tedious to read because it is a direct result of my love for making spreadsheets.
So how was my 2013 in books? I have read 76 books (I might squeeze in one more before the year ends, as I'm almost finished with Winesburg, Ohio). I think it is a good number. I think anything between 50 to 80 is good. More than that and you're risking just swallowing books without giving yourself enough time to think and digest them. Not enough time for some critical assessment.
That, of course, assumes that one has a full time job and some sort of life. If your full time job is to read and think about books, then I guess you can read more. And if you read mostly genre fiction, which does not need be mulled over for days afterwards, then of course you can go through them like a fast train. I can read three romance novels in one weekend if I put my mind to it.
Out of 76 books I've read I gave five stars to fourteen books and two of them I gave my 'special place in my heart' accolade. They were 'The Remains of The Day' by Kazuo Ishiguro and 'Morfina' by Szczepan Twardoch. 'Morfina' STILL hasn't been translated to English but it is soon coming out in German, so if you read in German, do yourself a favour and buy it.
I wonder if there is anything those two books have in common. I suppose you can say they both try to explore to some extent the question of national identity. The narrators of both books seem to be stuck in their respective Englishness/Polishness.
In the category 'I should have really read this by now' I'd like to say I have finally read my first Dickens and my first Steinbeck and duly appreciated their greatness (although with some reservations).
In the category 'I shouldn't really be reading so much of it' I have to say I have read 23 romance novels and, sadly, that's really the only thing that's keeping my reading list gender-balanced. Out of the remaining 53 books, only 19 were written by women, 33 by men and one was mixed-gender anthology.
I'm also not doing very well on the non-English front. I have read only 20 things which were not originally written in English, and most of them were Polish books on history which I'm reading as a research for my novel.
I guess these are my literary New Year's resolutions - read more by women, read more non-fiction, read more translations, read more in Polish and Spanish.