2012 in books — By the numbers

It was an amazing year for reading, which I attribute not only to our “empty nest” but that I stayed with my nonresolution to read what I want when I wanted. I read only 19 review copies this year, compared to 36 last year. Ultimately, I read far more books this year than ever before.

I read more than 51,000 pages last year. My personal reading in 2012 also reflected what is happening in society. Nearly half the books I read were ebooks, an increase of more than 300 percent since 2010 and up nearly 40 percent over last year.

I read slightly more fiction percentage-wise. That resulted from increases in both translated literature and SF. As for nonfiction, people’s lives apparently intrigued me in 2012. Nearly half the nonfiction I read in 2012 were autobiographies, memoirs or biographies. Here’s a breakdown of how the year shaped up:

Books Read: 162

Pages Read: 51,040

Fiction: 87 (53.7 percent)

  • Translated Works: 27 (25 fiction — 29 percent of the fiction– and two nonfiction)
  • Languages: French (6), German (5), Russian (3), Spanish (3), Arabic (2), Finnish (2), Albanian (1), Chinese (1), Dutch (1), Korean (1), Norwegian (1), Various (1)
  • Science Fiction: 20
  • Short Stories: 8 (includes translated works and SF)

Non-fiction: 75 (46.3 percent)

  • Autobiography/Memoirs/: 23 (19.4 percent of nonfiction)
  • Biography: 13
  • History: 12

Ebooks Read: 76 (47 percent)

Library materials: 56 (34.5 percent) (includes ebooks)


The presence of books in my hands, my home, my pockets, my life will never cease to be essential to my happiness.

Joe Queenan, One for the Books

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