2016 Roundup

Lord. It’s the beginning of a new year again.

2016 was a better reading year for me than 2015. It had to be, really, given everything else that went on around the world.

And so, without too much further reflection: let’s begin.

The English Student’s Favourite Things of 2016

As always, these are things I first read or watched in 2016, not necessarily things published or released in that year. How organised do you think I am?

TV: Class: For Tonight We Might Die. Class just edges it over the last episode of Firefly because it was such a surprise to see a Doctor Who spinoff that actually cared about its characters and that treated its SFnal premise with something like respect. I’m hideously behind on the series, but I’ve every intention of catching up. Eventually.

Film: A Midsummer Night’s DreamRussell T Davies’ luminous and magical version of Shakespeare’s play gave me an emotional hangover for days: joyful, hopeful and inclusive.

Book: Railsea – China Mieville. A story of deserts and giant moles and people who live on trains and salvage and stories, all woven up with Mieville’s militant socialism and vibrant intellect. And that ending

Misc.: Nine Worlds 2016. Three days of pure and unadulterated geekery. What else is there to say?

2016 Reading Stats

  • I read 72 books in 2016 – the same as I read last year, and one fewer than I was hoping to read, thanks to a miscalculation last week. So close
  • The longest book I read was J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which needs, oh, less than half of its 766 pages, I’d say. Tied for shortest were Saga‘s second, third and fourth volumes, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, which in contrast deserved every page they had. Overall, I read 26,492 pages in 2016 – down from 27,390 last year.
  • The oldest book I read was Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden, first published in 1911. The average age of the books I read in 2016 was 16 – lower than last year’s 25.
  • Genre: I read 30 fantasy novels (42%), 17 SF novels (24%) and 6 “literary fiction” novels (8%) – although, obviously, take that latter category with a pinch of salt. Also: four thrillers, three humour novels, two historical, one horror (House of Leaves) and one “classic” (The Secret Garden). So I obviously slid back towards genre this year.
  • I read 19 YA novels (26%) – an increase on last year.
  • 21% of the books I read were re-reads – a slight increase on last year’s 19%, but not a disastrous one.
  • And, finally, my favourite statistic: 58% of the books I read in 2016 were by women – an improvement on my goal of 50%!

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