2013 – Another year in reading

Donna’s recent post about her year’s reading got me thinking about what I read in 2013 and what it might tell me Cover of Gardenaliaabout the year.

Like Donna I use the catalogue to record what I’ve read (and what I hope to read, but that’s another story). I managed a total of 102 books read in 2013.  I also have a list of what I took home but did not read (17 on that), and books to have another go at later.

Anyway I was surprised to find I’d read 75 non-fiction books and only 20 fiction. Seven graphic novels made up the numbers.

Within the non-fiction I do count turning the pages of a fashion book in a trance-like state as reading it. If that didn’t count I’d be down to to 59 non-fiction:  9 on art, 1 on jewellery, 2 on gardening, 6 cookery books, 12 miscellaneous, and 18 on houses and decoration. Officially obsessed with the latter, in fact one of the gardening  books is really about taking the stuff you can no longer fit into your house and sticking it in the garden, so it probably could count as  a house book.

Eleven memoirs, 10 of them ‘misery memoirs’, or mis mems as Jennifer Saunders calls them. Her Bonkers was the only one of the 11 definitely not of the mis mem variety.Cover of Bonkers

Not sure why there is so little fiction on my completed shelf (the completed shelf – such a satisfactory feeling adding a book to to it ). Even the 7 graphic novels I read this year are mostly non-fiction and cheery they are not.

So my 2013 book list is mostly a combination of visions of perfection in clothes and houses, and  stories of less than perfect lives. Paging Dr. Freud.

As for doing better next year, I already have my 2014 resolution of reading 7 books off The Guardian’s list of the best of 2013 on the go. Then there is my For Later list. A goal might be not to add to it as it’s up to 354 titles now, so at current rates of reading it will take me over three years to get through it.

Sadly for me the best predictor of future reading seems to be past reading. The three books I am most looking forward to are in the genres I read most of last year:

2013 – A year in reading

I was inspired by this Vic books post: December — A Time to Review the Year’s Reading. We have all been busy picking our Best of the year, but the idea here is to go a bit deeper – to look at your reading habits, and maybe stir them up a bit.

I use the catalogue to record the books I’ve read (here’s how) – so have a look at the flavours of my completed shelf  – from Kylie Fashion back in January to Morrissey in December …

Cover of Kylie FashionCover of Autobiography

  • 111 books read
  • 18 New Zealand titles
  • 88 non-fiction
  • 28 graphic novels
  • 15 memoirs
  • 18 books about art and photography
  • 32 on fashion and style
  • 7 music-related titles
  • 5 books about science
  •  and in a meta meta thing – 6 books about reading or books.

I thought I’d read a lot of New Zealand books this year – but is 18 out of 111 a lot – or not? Either way – my impression is of a stellar year in New Zealand publishing all round.

I think what my list tells me is:

  • When pushed for time (and who isn’t), a nice book on fashion, style or art can be consumed (and savoured) more quickly than a novel.
  • Girl gotta have her graphic novels/comics.
  • Where are all the history books I used to read? And the occasional historical novel? In 2013 – not a lot.
  • I definitely used to read more music books too …

What the list doesn’t reveal is my chronic overarching bookily ambition. I can never read all the things I borrow – my book consuming eyes are bigger than my stomach. Still, it is fun to try and gorge.

Here’s my next targets that may slip in before the end of 2013:

Cover of S Cover of The world is ever changing Cover of Reform

Best book covers of 2013 – My pick of New Zealand’s finest

This year has been a stellar one in New Zealand publishing, with a crop of splendid books coming out. And there are striking covers that deserve a round of applause.

I have grouped my favourites around themes. The standout for me is how cartoonists/comic artists are creating awesome covers, and not just for comics but for novels too. My two favourite New Zealand covers are Sarah Laing’s stunning illustration for Emma Martin’s Two girls in a boat and the weird skewing of space in the cover image of Pip Adam’s I’m working on a building. You can read about Sarah’s creative process in her blogpost The making of a book cover.
Cover of Two girls in a boatCover of I'm working on a building

Viva comics

Cover of Don't puke on your dadCover of Two girls in a boatCover of Max GateCover of The fall of lightCover of From Earth's end

Colourful eye-pleasers

Cover of Bizarre Bras Cover of BlueCover of The Lost Property departmentCover of New Zealand Interior StyleCover of Promoting Prosperity

Driven by text

Cover of Grumpy old menCover of Inequality

Potent simplicity

Cover of Sell!Cover of Murder at MykenaiCover of The LuminariesCover of The rope walkCover of Letters from Everest


Cover of Snow White's CoffinCover of The Sound of wordsCover of Tear water teaCover of Us, thenCover of Wild Like me


Cover of Wanted, a beautiful barmaidCover of The Royal ballet at 60Cover of Self PortraitCover of Matters of the heartCover of Nga Tau Ki MuriCover of Peter McLeaveyCover of Pictures they want to make

Playing with perception

Cover of I'm working on a buildingCover of Rising to the surface

See last year’s book cover tributes: