... feminist, atheist, autistic academic and historic narrowboater ...
Likes snooker, beer, tea, rivets and solitude, and is strangely fascinated by the cinema organ.
And there might be something about railways.

Sunday 27 December 2020

Accounting for reading and writing

Yesterday's post, was - finally - the 1500th on the Chertsey blog.  On some measures, 1500 in eleven years isn't bad. On the other hand, I managed 859 in just four years on my previous blog (actually, three and three quarters, as I didn't start blogging until April 2006). And if I had posted every day (like some I could mention), then the total would be over 4000.

But 1500 out of a possible 4019 is still pretty good, I think. It's an average of 136 a year, or just over two and a half a week (or one about every two and a half days). No, not bad at all.

But this post is actually about the books I read in 2020 - or, rather more accurately, since March 2020, because I wasn't really keeping a record before then. I haven't actually kept a record since, so this is compiled from looking at my shelves and scrolling through my Kindle. Given that the last lot of library books, due back according to the ticket on March 23rd, are still in a pile on my attic landing, I think this must account for everything, and if inaccurate, will be an underestimate.

This is books read for fun - not articles, and not stuff read for work. If I tried to count the thousands of words I've read I wouldn't know where to start.

I make the total of books read for fun in the latter nine months of 2020 107. This is actually less than I thought it would be, as a couple of novels a week is pretty much part for the course. But, given that I don't go out much anyway, there isn't really any reason to expect I would have read more this year, and maybe a couple of reasons I might have consumed less - work being extra busy, for one, and the sheer amount of snooker on the telly for two. 

Notably, I have consumed a number of complete series in chronological order, including:

  • Harry Bingham (Fiona Griffiths) x6 (still waiting for the next one)
  • Ellie Griffiths (Ruth Galloway) x 12
  • Christopher Fowler (Bryant and May) x 17
  • Stuart MacBride (McRae and/or Steel) x 15 
  • Ian Rankin (Rebus) x 23
  • Andrew Taylor (Lydmouth) x6

plus five volumes of biography/memoir, and roughly 22 other novels on the Kindle, mostly entirely forgettable.

Aside from the series, most of which were rereads (but so much better in the right order, except for the Rebuses, because the early ones are terrible), some of my most memorable reads of 2020 have been Ray Monk's mammoth two-volume biography of Bertrand Russell (which probably dragged the average down a fair bit), Louise Doughty's Platform Seven, which for a ghost story was actually strangely haunting, and Lucy Atkins' Magpie Lane. Oh yes, and I also bought and read Ian Dunt's How to be a Liberal, which I have many criticisms of, but tempered by the knowledge that it wasn't aimed at scholars of liberal political theory (shamelessly altering quotes, though, I think is beyond the pale for anyone). 

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