Thursday, January 01, 2015

Tallying Up: 2014

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015! Let's toast to the year that will be.

Today's post, being something of a tradition, looks back at the year that was in music and books.

Top 50 Songs

The following list represents the fifty songs played most often on my iTunes, combining my laptop and mobile phone.

Hello Good Morning (remix) — Diddy with Dirty Money
Brand New Lover (single) — Dead or Alive
Run the World (Girls) — BeyoncĂ©
Someday — LP
Dreams — Brandi Carlile
End of All Hope — Nightwish
Do I Wanna Know? — Arctic Monkeys
Rich Girl — Cole Vosbury
Love Runs Out — One Republic
Tsunami — DVBBS & Borgeous
Kiss You All Over — Exile
Them Kids — Sam Roberts
Burning Bridge — Kate Bush
Summer in the City — Lovin' Spoonful
Summer Night City — ABBA
Invasion #Tih — X-Cite
Bit by Bit — Mother Mother
Dirrty — Christina Auilera
Professional Griefers — Deadmau5
This Is the World Calling — Bob Geldof
How Do I Make You — Linda Ronstadt
Hungry Like the Wolf — Duran Duran
Killer Queen — Queen
Moves Like Jagger — Maroon 5
I Did It for Love — Harlequin
I Love You — Climax Blues Band
Take a Chance on Me — ABBA
The Love of a Woman — Klaatu
Let Go the Line — Max Webster
Running Up That Hill — Kate Bush
Long Train Runnin' — The Doobie Brothers
Madness — Muse
Suspended in Gaffa — Kate Bush
Hazy Shade of Winter — The Bangles
The Flesh Failures — Cast of Hair (Broadway Soundtrack)
Infinitesimal — Mother Mother
When Time Turns Around — The Spoons
In My Mouth — Azar Swan
Run for Your Life — The Beatles
Leave It Open — Kate Bush
Breathe You in My Dreams — Trixie Whitley
Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover — Sophie B. Hawkins
The Wire — HAIM
Come with Me Now — Kongos
Fire on the Water — Chris De Burgh
Judas — Lady Gaga
Only Teardrops — Emmelie de Forest
Ramble On — Led Zeppelin
17 Days — Prince
We'll Carry On (Prelude) — Jimmy Rankin

I opted to tally the top fifty songs this year because I noticed that, by the middle of the year, my play counts were clumping, with eight or ten or more songs tied at the same number. The top-fifty list also reveals much greater continuity in my listening over the last several years than a shorter list would have shown; once again, in 2014 I indulged in lots of comfort listening. But I am pleased to see some recent music in the list as well.

In the second half of the year I did a lot of bike riding and walking, usually accompanied by my phone, listening to one of my up-tempo playlists. That accounts for some of these songs. It also accounts for the many songs not listed here that also have significant play counts. Of some 13,000 songs in my library, I listened to more than 75 percent at least once; of those I did not listen to at all, most were classical or holiday music, or recently added tracks.

The play counter has been reset. We'll see what changes next year.

Books Read This Year: 157

This number is so disappointing and marks the lowest tally I've registered since starting to post these figures. Yes, I average three books a week, which is — for most people — a remarkable amount of reading. But remember that I am a professional reader. Between editing, reviewing, and prepping, I am obligated to read every day — and then there are the dozens and dozens and dozens of books to read just for fun. So this number tells me important things about the year just passed.

A look in my calendar tells interesting stories. In January and February I did a great deal of reading, with 40 books tagged by Sunday March 2. My reading gets much lighter in March and April, with only 61 books tagged by Sunday, April 27. Still, at that pace, I could have expected to end the year around 180 books. In May I read A LOT, with 79 books tagged on Sunday, June 1. But in July and August I read very little. There are two weeks with 0 books tagged, and several weeks with only one or two. Through the fall I read two or three books in an average week, but there were two weeks with only a single book tagged. Argh! That's not a me I recognize at all.

Much of my reading came from books I'd been asked to review; reviews have a deadline, so those books tend to get read promptly. I discovered two series — "trashers", of course — featuring women detectives. Since reading Amanda Cross years ago, I've become a sucker for a women detective. I worked through Sue Grafton's alphabet series to W (now waiting for X, supposed to be published in 2015) and am getting through Sara Paretsky's VI Warshawski series (more difficult because the library doesn't have paper copies of many of the older novels). I also tackled the Temeraire series, which traces an alternate nineteenth-century history featuring dragons. I read numerous YA books, both for reviews and for fun, and of course a substantial number of books from my various academic disciplines.

I continue to struggle with very short books and with books I edit. I read dozens of picture books that I didn't count (but I did add them to LibraryThing, of course), including, most recently, Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell's captivating The Spindle and the Sleeper. Maybe I need to refine my scholarly interests? Meanwhile, two books I worked on had fairly short texts, so I didn't count either one. Maybe I should have. Another book I edited in early 2014 is not yet in my library (that is, I haven't received a gratis copy), so I haven't seen the final pages and don't know how different the text might be since my last pass — so I didn't count that one either.

So while my tally here gives an overview of my reading, it lacks a lot of detail, obscured by my own need for rules and consistency.

I'm looking forward to getting back to my personal reading "normal" this year. As I posted yesterday, I have a substantial list of books I'm eager to get to. In fact, I think I'll go read something now...

I wish everyone a bright and brilliant new year. Here's to the reset button: cheers!


Coda: Still more detail

B pointed out, helpfully, that one of the causes for my reduced reading in the summer was my attempt to get through Shogun. (Thanks, B!) Still not through it, grrr. I find it a tough go. Maybe I'll tag it this year. Meanwhile, I already have my first book for 2015 (because I started it last year, of course!) and am on to my second.

Also, Earl has tallied his reading for 2014 and captured some features that I'm going to steal freely. (Thanks, Earl!) In particular, Earl identifies genres and author genders.

Looking back through my list, I pulled out the following stats:

• Books written by women: 106
• Books written by men: 47
• Non-fiction works: 36

If you're doing the math, you crafty thing, you, you'll notice that my stats identify 4 books as "other". That means they featured mixed-gender joint authorship, were mixed-gender edited collections, or lacked a gender-identified author. Also in deference to clarity, for me "non-fiction" includes scholarly books, textbooks, and memoir but excludes poetry.

So that's just a little more about my reading in 2014.

No comments: