Reading Stats

Now that we’re closing in on the middle of July, lots of book bloggers are reviewing their 2008 statistics, and I didn’t want to be left out of the fun [via Bookgirl].

  • Books read: 14 (which makes me feel woefully inadequate next to Bookgirl’s 48)
  • Mysteries: 1
  • Fiction: 12
  • Books by women: 8
  • Library copies: 1
  • Books I have, will, or might teach this year: 4
  • Books I didn’t like: 1
  • YA books: 2
  • Classics: 5
  • Online (DailyLit): 1
  • New-to-me authors: 9
  • Books published this year: 2
  • Average Goodreads rating (out of 5 stars): 4.21

I am a little surprised about the high rating.  My overall Goodreads rating is 4.36.  I think that’s because I rarely finish I book I don’t like, and I don’t review or rate books I don’t finish.  Therefore, all of the books I’ve read this year (with one exception) received 4 or 5 stars.

What are some of your reading stats for this year?


This morning, DailyLit sent me my final 191st installment of Jane Austen’s Emma, which I read just a few moments ago. Upon finishing the book, I have to say that while I love DailyLit and the idea behind it, daily subscriptions were perhaps not the best way to read this particular novel (and perhaps Jane Austen in general — I am not sure). Austen has a subtlety and requires, I think, a great deal of concentration from her reader. Reading this novel over the course of about six months made it hard for me to remember some of the events. Of course, I could have had installments sent more quickly by requesting them (by default, the subscriptions will not be sent any more frequently than once a day). A second problem I had in receiving the book this way is that it was very poorly transcribed. On several occasions, my transcription cut off in the middle of someone’s speech or would even end as someone was about to say something (even cutting off at a comma instead of a period). I found this maddening and most of the time either requested the next installment or had to go back and re-read the end of the previous one. Another fault in the transcription were grammar errors — the possessive “hers” was rendered “her’s” on several occasions in the text.

As for the story, I have previously read Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and am currently reading Northanger Abbey (I have also attempted Persuasion twice). Of the novels with which I am familiar, I have to say Emma contains my least favorite storyline and characters. I never really managed to quite like Emma. She seemed to me to be quite shallow and snobby. I did like Mr. Knightley, but I fail to see what he saw in Emma. Mrs. Elton was hilarious, as Austen’s most annoying characters typically are. Still, even though I didn’t enjoy the novel as much as I typically enjoy Austen, it was an entertaining read. I had seen Clueless, and it was interesting to see how closely Amy Heckerling followed her source material.

Not one soul commented to tell me which Dickens novel I should read of the three: Great Expectations, David Copperfield, or A Tale of Two Cities. Therefore, I used the only means of divination I could think of and asked my seven-year-old daughter Maggie, who has no investment in my choice except that perhaps the title of the third sounds like a Garfield movie. And of course that’s the one she chose for me.

Meanwhile, I have discovered yet another use for my Goodreads account in addition to keeping a record of all the books I have read and am currently reading. Up until the last couple of days, my “to-read” bookshelf has held only the couple of books that were on my immediate list of books I wanted to read. I have begun cataloging the books I find interesting so I won’t forget about them later, and I am finding that to be really helpful for me. My mother has for years kept a notebook with a list of books she find interesting and checks them off as she acquires them, so consider my Goodreads account my notebook.

Goodreads Bookshelves

Goodreads has a lot of options for organizing books. So many in fact that I decided when I joined up that I would have to wait until summer, when I would have more time, to create tags for my books. Goodreads calls their tags “shelves,” which is appropriate for a social network/organization system focused on books. After shelving all my books, I checked out the book tag cloud feature. Here is a screenshot of my book cloud as it looks today:

I feel as though I should explain some of my tags. I labeled some books “fantasy/sci-fi” when other people might not have, but my reasoning is that if there is any element of the supernatural, it’s fantasy or sci-fi. Thus, I tagged Macbeth as fantasy because of the witches (I also labeled it “feminist” because Lady Macbeth is an unusually strong female character for both the time in which the play is set as well as written). I probably should have tagged it gothic also, but for some reason, my definition for gothic was more precise. I tagged some books “feminist” when others might not consider them feminist. For my purposes, a feminist book is any book that has a strong female character for her time — someone who stands up for herself. Feminist books are also books that criticize patriarchal attitudes and structures (which, I think, is probably the more standard definition). Therefore, I labeled The Scarlet Letter as feminist even though I believe it might give Nathaniel Hawthorne a heart attack (if he were alive to have one, that is) to hear me say that about his book. However, books with modern women who stand up for themselves and hold their own I didn’t label feminist because I think that’s what modern women do and it’s acceptable for modern women to do. If, however, that modern woman lives in a society that suppresses women, that’s a different story. I used the tag “taught” for any books I have taught in the past or will teach this year. I cannot believe I have taught that many books.

I have to watch it. I can login to Goodreads and wind up spending hours fiddling with my books and reading reviews.


GoodreadsMy daughter invited me to join Goodreads several months ago, but I haven’t been very active on the site. I already review what I read here at this blog, so I didn’t see much point in reviewing books at Goodreads, too. Goodreads is, however, growing as a social network of readers, complete with Facebook and MySpace apps.

If you are a regular reader of this blog and would like be my friend on Goodreads, you can find my profile here. I have now posted all the books I have read and included links to my reviews here.