Aidan Doyle

25 Years of Reading

Because I'm one of those people, for the last 25 years I've been recording the books I've read.

In 25 years I read 1147 books, an average of 45.88 books a year. It's a way of measuring my reading progress and tracking my favorite books.

Of course there are some problems with the data. At first I didn't include text books but later on I started including computer programming books I read for work. I haven't included unpublished books I've read to give feedback to writing friends. Especially with ebooks, the definition of what is a book can be difficult. I've read articles which have more text than a Shaun Tan book, but I don't count them.

Since I wasn't counting text books, my reading totals from the early 90s are low. When I moved to Japan in 2005 it was harder to get English-language books and I was busy adjusting to life in a new country and a new career. Buying a Kindle has been perhaps the most important factor in increasing the number of books I read. I usually travel for a couple of months every year and a Kindle weighs a lot less than a bag full of books. The annual average over 25 years is 45.88, but the average over the last 5 years is 82.6.

Monthly Average

My reading is pretty consistent across the year, except that I generally get a lot more read over the Christmas break.

Most Read Authors

These are the authors that I've read at least 5 books from. (If I've read the same book more than once - which is rare for me - I've counted that multiple times). I've only included authors I've read in the last 25 years. Going back beyond that there would be lots of Weis and Hickman Dragonlance books, R.A. Salvatore Forgotten Realms books, Douglas Hill, Monica Hughes, Hergé and Roger Hargreaves. I read the bulk of the Pratchett books more than 25 years ago, but I've read some of his in recent years, so I've included them all.

My general reading is more diverse than this list would suggest. These days I'd generally prefer to read 3 books by 3 different authors rather than a series by the same author, which means there are lots of authors I've only read a couple of books by. Science fiction and fantasy are my favorite genres, and male British sf/f writers rank high on my list of favorite writers. Stephen Turnbull is a name that might be unfamiliar - he writes Japanese history books, which I've read for story research.

Books Read Authors
29 Terry Pratchett
22 Iain Banks
16 Stephen Turnbull
10 Douglas Adams, Ursula K. le Guin
9 John Irving, Haruki Murakami
8 Bill Bryson, China Mieville, Shaun Tan, J.R.R. Tolkien, Jeff VanderMeer
7 Orson Scott Card, Philip K. Dick, Ann Patchett, J.K. Rowling, David Sedaris
6 William Gibson, Margo Lanagan, Ethan Nicolle & Malachai Nicolle
5 Joe Abercrombie, M.T. Anderson, Alfred Bester, Ray Bradbury, Jonathan Carroll, Raymond Chandler, Richard Dawkins, Greg Egan, Karen Joy Fowler, Neil Gaiman, Barbara Hambly, Tom Holt, Stephen King, Nancy Kress, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, George R. R. Martin, James Morrow, George Orwell, Tim Powers, Philip Pullman, Mary Roach, Neal Stephenson, Charles Stross, Anne Tyler, Kurt Vonnegut, Sean Williams, Jane Yolen

Most Read Author Nationalities

Lots of British and American science fiction and fantasy writers.

Interesting Novels

These are not necessarily my favorite books. My list of favorites would include books like Lord of the Rings, Dune and Catch-22 that a lot of people already know. I could easily fill up the list with just Iain Banks books, but I also know that some of things he writes about aren't for everyone. Just look at the different reactions to The Wasp Factory

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
I don't hear people talking about this in Australia much, but I love the voice and humor in this book.

Feed by M.T. Anderson
Published in 2002, this is a book that predicted the rise of social media. Dark and hilarious.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman
My favorite Gaiman novel by far. Different gods battling it out in contemporary America.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
I love the voice and humor in this story of a strange family.

The Scar by China Mieville
A fleet of pirate ships crewed by vampires and other strange creatures go in search of legendary monsters.

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Terrorists hold a group of diplomats and others hostage in an embassy in a South American country.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
A book brimming with ideas, humor, excitement and the world's most dangerous pizza delivery guy.

Fevre Dream by George R. R Martin
Martin is of course better known for the Song of Ice and Fire series, but I love this tale of scheming vampires battling on steamboats.

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Anything by Murakami is going to be interesting, and this is perhaps my favorite of his books that I've read.

Anno Dracula by Kim Newman
Dracula actually defeated Van Helsing, turned Queen Victoria into a vampire and now rules over London. Jack the Ripper is actually trying to protect humanity by killing vampires.

Interesting Non-Fiction

Obviously people's topics of interest vary greatly, but I found these books fascinating. Admittedly I have perhaps a more morbid sense of curiousity than most people.

Killing Pablo by Mark Bowden
Pablo Escobar and the Medellin cartel.

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
My favorite of Bryson's travel books.

The Etymologicon by Mark Forsyth
Crammed full of fascinating detail about the origin of English words.

Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano
A history of the exploitation of Latin America.

King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild
A grim, but fascinating book about the Belgian Congo.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
Things go wrong on a Mount Everest ascent.

Stiff by Mary Roach
All about death. Fortunately Mary Roach is hilarious.

A Death in Brazil by Peter Robb
Corruption and scandal in Brazil.

The Siege of Mecca by Yaroslav Trofimov
An amazing and influential event that seems almost forgotten now.

Marching Powder by Rusty Young
An Australian journalist decides to live in a Bolivian prison.

Interesting Other Books

These include books that are hard to fit into a category, along with graphic novels and photo books.

Fallen Superheroes by Eric Curtis & Scott Allen Perry & Adam Mock
A photo book with portraits of superheroes who are past their prime.

You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack by Tom Gauld
Clever and funny literary inspired comics.

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey
"I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world, because they'd never expect it."

Where Children Sleep by James Mollison
A photo book showing the contrast in living conditions of children around the world.

All My Friends Are Dead by Avery Monsen & John Jory
Poor dinosaur.

Axe Cop: Volume 1 by Ethan Nicolle & Malachai Nicolle
A comic written by a 5-year-old and illustrated by his 30-year-old stepbrother.

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton
Photo interview book with some amazing and moving stories.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Sedaris books are usually a mixture of essays and stories, but they're always funny.

The Arrival by Shaun Tan
An amazing graphic novel about moving to a strange land.

The Art of Clean Up: Life Made Neat and Tidy by Ursus Wehrli
A photo book where chaos is rearranged in order.