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2010 in books — by the numbers

2010 was a record year in one respect. I read more books this year than in any one year since I started keeping a book diary in 1976. This year’s total was 127, quite a bit higher than the 111 from last year, the previous record. I attribute the number to 2010 being the first full year of “empty nesting.” With all three kids out of state, my wife and I spent more evenings and nights reading than in the past.

That may also have affected the total number of books I read from my monthly Bibliolust lists. In 2009, there were 66 books on the list and I read 38 (57.6%). Last year the total was similar (64) but I read three-quarters of them. And that doesn’t include about a dozen books I read from the 2008 and 2009 lists I hadn’t gotten to before.

There was frequent library use, with more than a third of the books I read coming from there. I also read a record number of books in ebook formats. The fact I bought a Nook means that should be expected — although it doesn’t mean I consider ereaders to be much more than an at time handy toy at this point. Finally, I read one less work of translated fiction than last year but I would have hoped for an increase given the number of books read all together.

There are a couple things that aren’t included. With one exception, the numbers don’t include graphic books because the short length of time most take to read leaves me unsure whether to count them. Given the substance some have, I may start keeping track of them broken down by length. It is strictly format, not length, that accounts for audiobooks not being on the list, even if I do listen to an unabridged edition. Those exceptions, though, would account for only a handful of books.

Looking more specifically at 2010:

Books Read: 127

Fiction: 63 (49.6 percent)

  • Translated Fiction: 22 (35.5 percent of fiction)
  • Languages: Spanish (6), German (5), French (4), Swedish (3), Dutch (2), Norwegian (1), Russian (1)
  • Science Fiction: 9

Non-fiction: 59 (46.5 percent)

  • History: 15 (25.4 percent of nonfiction)
  • Autobiography/Memoirs/: 10
  • Biography: 4

Humor: 2

Essays, Graphic Novels, Poetry: 1 each

Review copies read: 37 (29.1 percent)

Books reviewed: 43

Library copies read: 45 (35.4 percent)

Ebooks read: 18 (14.2 percent)


I am quite illiterate but I read a lot.

J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

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