October 2005
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Day October 16, 2005

Fifty Book Challenge Stats

Looking back over the first fifty books I’ve read this year showed me some surprising things (actually, the total was 52 individual books because the three I was reading over last New Year’s were counted as one).

First, I read a lot more fiction that I usually think of myself reading. 28 of 52 books were fiction, and only 24 non-fiction. Of the fiction, for some reason this was a big year for speculative fiction, science fiction, and fantasy: 27 of the 28 fit in this general category, and 1 (Banville) as “mainstream literature.” Of the speculative category, only one was real “fantasy”: Book 6 of the Harry Potter series. I’m hooked, what can I say? Of the remainder, Stephenson’s Baroque Cycle and Cryptonomicon probably dominate by page count, but not by book count. In terms of book count, I’d say that the authors most read are Ken MacLeod, Charles Stross, Cory Doctorow, and Richard K. Morgan.

Of the non-fiction, the vast majority of it continued to be centered on European and American history, constitutional law and political history, and political philosophy. Biology accounted for two books thus far this year, law/political science by 14, straight philosophy by 7, and history by 16. Three lonely books covered poker, travel, and economics with one each.

My reading in much of the rest of the year is likely to cover more non-fiction — I seem to be running out of speculative fiction I care about reading. I’ll probably try to pick up Rushdie’s latest novel, and a series of essays by Wendell Berry. Other than that, I’m looking forward to Stone’s history of free speech, Amar’s “biography” of the constitution, Hawkin’s On Intelligence, James Scott’s Seeing Like a State, Phillip Pettit’s Republicanism, and one of several histories of progressivism in early twentieth century. But who knows — the unread book stack is tall, and there may be other gems lurking in there, waiting for the perfect moment to grab my attention…