Thursday, October 30, 2008

Falling Behind

I am behind--three books behind, to be specific. Not on my own writing, though honestly I'd love to have three books published by now. If you'd asked me when I was 18 years old how many books I'd have published by now, I'm sure I would have said five. So technically I'm behind in that too, but I'm not going to think about that right now--too depressing.

I'm concerned because I'm behind in the number of books that I've read this year.

Don't you keep a list of the books you read in a year? Doesn't everyone? I started last year, and by this time in 2007, I'd read 44 books. This year, I'm only on book 42. I'm sure there are people out there that are scoffing at that number because, a) they read that many books in the first three months of the year and they think I'm a total slacker, or b) they haven't read that many books in the last three years and they think I'm crazy for feeling like I'm behind and I have way too much time on my hands. There's a potential for a third category of people who are thinking that I'm silly for even making a list in the first place. To them, I ask: If I hadn't kept track of the books I'd read last year, how would I know that:

  • 28% of the books I read last year were fantasy, 24% were romance, and 10% were paranormal romance (I only just discovered the paranormal romance genre at the end of 2006, and the blend of my two favorite genres was a miracle to behold--as my 2008 numbers show).
  • I read 52 books last year, though not one book a week.
  • I read the most books in May (7).
  • The author I read the most was Janet Evanovich, but there were only five other authors that I read more than one of their books (P.C. Cast, Laurell K. Hamilton, Jude Deveraux, Karen Marie Moning, and Lora Leigh).

I haven't run all the numbers for this year since it's still not over, but paranormal romances have definitely jumped to the most-read slot with 14 of the 41 books I've read this year falling in that genre. Fantasy's a close second, followed by non-fiction (I'm as surprised as you), and finally romance. This year I decided to keep track of which authors I was reading for the first time--so far, 18! That's far more than I thought. I think this proves I'm past my lack-of-new-author rut*.

(*When I was around 18 or 20 or so, my taste in books changed. Before I'd been reading a lot of epic fantasy and historical romances. By something about all the changes in my life changed what I wanted to read, and by the time I graduated college, the authors of my teen years no longer appealed to me. It took me a while to find new sub-genres in the fantasy world to like (like contemporary fantasy, urban fantasy, certain horror that's character driven and not a celebration of gore). And, of course, I recently discovered paranormal romance, the blend of fantasy and romance in sometimes contemporary but always interesting worlds.)

So now I have lots of authors I know and love, and I know where to go when I run out of unread books on my shelf (if you knew me and my book-buying obsession, you'd be laughing right now), but I'm still behind.

It's not my fault though. It's not even events in my life that are to blame. No, I blame Jacqueline Carey. In July I read Kushiel's Justice, the fifth book in the Kushiel series. It utterly captivated me. I walked through life in a daze, my mind still exploring her world even when I wasn't reading. When I finished the book, nothing else sounded good. For a few days, then for a few weeks. This is unheard of for me. If I don't have a book to read, Cody goes into hiding. I become a bit crazed. I need my reading fix. But not this time. I was sustained on the story I'd just finished reading. Now that's a good story. One day, I hope Areia can do the same for other epic fantasy lovers out there.

Until then, I've got some serious reading to catch up on.

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