Sunday, July 14, 2013

Sunday Salon: January to June in review

Here we are halfway through July. The year just seems to be flying by. Before you know it, it will be time to start thinking about Christmas, which for me usually starts with the Virtual Advent tour, and then celebrating and then another year begins again. One of the things that will be exciting for me this year is that one of my friends from the UK is coming to Melbourne at the end of the year so I have to think of some cool things to do. We haven't seen each other since I left the UK 14 years ago, so I am sure at the very least there will be lots of talking to do. I am both anticipating and a little bit nervous though.

Anyway, before I get too carried away thinking about the end of the year, I thought I would have a look at my reading year so far, and so I will start with a few stats.

As at the end of the June, I had read 137 books, most of which fell into either the historical fiction or romance genres. Let's break those down a little bit into a few key criteria

Gender balance

Of those 137 books 25 were written by male authors and the remaining 122 by female authors. One of the conversations that happen quite regularly in blog land is about gender imbalance and a lot of people identify with those who say that they read predominantly male authors and have to make an effort to read female authors. For me, it is very much the other way around. That is most likely because the two genres that I do read most from are dominated by female authors (especially romance) but even in other genres I find myself reading more female authors than male.

How I read

One noticeable change in my reading this year is that I have gone back to listening to audiobooks. This started last year but has carried on more this year with 13 completed audiobooks so far (although I should note that I actually listened to one of those books three times - Venetia by Georgette Heyer as narrated by Richard Armitage. Aural bliss......... (Cue gratuitous Mr Thornton image now)

The ratio between the number of books I read in print and ebook has also changed this year. In previous years I have been averaging around 1 ebook for every 4 print books which reduced to 1:3 last year, but at this stage it is more like a 1:1 ratio. I still love my Sony ereader but I am actually considering getting a proper Kindle (as opposed to a Kindle app) at some point in the future as there are times when it is just too hard to read on the phone or to snaffle my son's Ipad to read on there (and some times not necessarily appropriate depending on how steamy a read it is!)

Australian authors

At this stage I have read 39 books by Australian authors which isn't a bad effort. Last year I ended up reading around 50, so I am well on track to read more than that this year.


Last year was a bit of anomaly for me as I ended up rereading 18 books. This year I am back to around my normal ratio of rereads, having reread 3 books so far (one of them being the audiobook I mentioned above).

Next I am going to talk about my favourite reads of the year so far and I am going to mention a book which was a reread. In what I am sure is a first for me, I am going to have a book on my best of list for the year that was also on my best of list for last year. It didn't matter that I already knew what was coming, it was still an amazing, amazing read for me!


So far I have given four books a 5/5 grade this year.

The Best Man by Kristan Higgins - I think that this may have just been the perfect book for the day that I read it as this book got very mixed reviews, and in retrospect I can possibly see why. On the day that I read it, I closed the book with a very contented smile. I need to hurry up and read another book from this author as I still have a couple of books left from her backlist.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes - this is the book that was a reread and I can still see myself reading it again at some point in the future. It's funny and sad, uplifting and yet dealing with a very difficult subject matter. I have recommended this book to a number of people now, and will continue to do so. You can read my original discussion style review with Bree starting here.

Easy by Tammara Webber - I really loved this book which sits in the new New Adult genre. I haven't yet read more from this author, but I will at some point. Or maybe I should just get this one again?

Lighthouse Bay by Kimberley Freeman - I was a little surprised by how much I enjoyed this reading experience. I have read her previous book, Wildflower Hill, and liked it, but didn't love it as much as lots of other readers did. I was drawn into this dual storyline book right from the beginning. Since then I have listened to one of her earlier novels on audiobook and just got the last remaining book from her backlist out on interlibrary loan to read in the next few weeks.

And now, I look forward to the next six months reads.

Currently reading

Listening to Almost French by Sarah Turnbull and reading Written in Red by Anne Bishop

Up Next

Not sure, but most likely The Provence Cure for the Broken Hearted by Bridget Asher


  1. All four of your 5 star books are on my TBR stack ... I do wish there were more hours in the day, or maybe I should just stop playing addictive games like candy crush and sims freeplay lol. I've finally got back into audiobooks in the last month, hope to continue that trend for the rest of the year.

    1. I hear you re the games although I haven't start sims freeplay. Candy Crush, Farm Heroes Saga and Words of Wonder for me!

      If I was going to suggest only one of these I would definitely encourage you to read Me Before You. I am sure you will love it.

  2. I also enjoyed Me Before You and both of Kimberly Freeman's books. Thanks for sharing your lists and stats. Very interesting.

    1. Have you read Kimberley Freeman's backlist books?

  3. I loved Me Before You, too - that book packs an emotional wallop!

  4. I'm the same way with the gender balance - I have to consciously pick up books written by men - and it's far fewer than the number of books I read that are written by women.

    1. I tend to read cookbooks and other genres from male authors. Trying to be more balance gender wise is definitely something need to make conscious decisions on.

  5. Thanks for the word on Me Before You; our book club is reading that one next. !
    Sounds like your reading for the year is right on schedule. cheers.

    1. Me Before You is a good book club choice!

  6. I really want to read Easy!

  7. You're more organised than me, I haven't even got around to doing a wrap-up- especially of challenges!
    The Best Man was one of my faves too :-)