2014 Mid-Year Reading Assessment

It’s about that time of the year again when I look back on all the books I have read so far.  Again, I’ve set my Goodreads reading challenge for 50 books, even if I know there’s no way I’m ever going to manage all that in one year.  I’ve never been able to finish 50 books in a year, even when I was still a single non-parent.


It’s about the middle of 2014, and so far I’ve read 13 books – that’s about 2 books a month…not bad, I think.  Granted, 5 of those books were only around a hundred pages long (Hector and the Search for Happiness; South of the Border, West of the Sun;  After Dark; Chronicle of a Death Foretold; Memories of My Melancholy Whores) and one is a graphic novel (The Encyclopedia of Early Earth), but still, I’d say that’s pretty good considering I didn’t think I’d be able to read much this year.

  1. The Golem and the Jinni – Helene Wecker
  2. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena – Anthony Marra
  3. After Dark – Haruki Murakami.
  4. South of the Border, West of the Sun – Haruki Murakami
  5. Silent House – Orhan Pamuk
  6. The Encyclopedia of Early Earth – Isabel Greenberg
  7. Rebecca – Daphne du Maurier
  8. Hector and the Search for Happiness – Francois Lelord
  9. Chronicle of a Death Foretold –  Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  10. Memories of my Melancholy Whores – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  11. A Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  12. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
  13. The Dinner – Herman Koch

There have been some funny,  coincidences among the books I’ve read this year, and since I don’t follow a reading plan and choose books randomly, I found the coincidences pretty interesting:

1.  The first book I read for the year, The Golem and the Jinni, and the second book I read I read, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, both have characters named Havaa/Chavaa, Ahmad/Akhmed.

2.  The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, Rebecca, A Handmaid’s Tale, and Memories of my Melancholy Whores all have nameless narrators, and aside from Melancholy Whores, all end very abruptly.

Other than that, some other insights that may or may not be relevant:

3.  More than half of the authors on the list I’ve read before – Donna Tartt, Haruki Murakami, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Orhan Pamuk, and Margaret Atwood.

4.  6 of the 13 books are translated works – from Japanese (2), Spanish (2), Dutch, and Turkish.

5.  It’s my first time to read a book translated from Dutch / written by a Dutch author (to my knowledge, at least).

6.  I did two book review pairings  of 2 short novels – After Dark / South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami and Chronicle of a Death Foretold / Memories of my Melancholy Whores by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I felt that the books were too short to review on their own, so I lumped them together.

7.  The 13 novels feature some very interesting cities/countries:  Chechnya (the first I’ve read), New York (2), Tokyo (2), Columbia (2), Istanbul, England, Hong Kong, Haiti, France, USA, an dystopian USA, Amsterdam, and the North and South Poles.

8.  Worse book so far:  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.

9  Best book so far:  A Constellation of Vital Phenomena (Anthony Marra), but closely followed by The Dinner (Herman Koch).

10.  Two stars were given to 9 out of 13, 3 stars to 1, and 1 star to 1.

11.  Book which made me shake my head for the hopelessness of the human race:  A Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

12.  Most disappointing book so far because I had such high expectations of it:  The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg.

13.  Pulitzer Prize Winner of 2014:  The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt – how in the world that happened is still a mystery to me!

Looking forward to the next half of 2014!

Suggestions as to what to read are most welcome!

10 thoughts on “2014 Mid-Year Reading Assessment

  1. Good job! I’m a slow reader this year, but well, 6 more months to cath up! If you haven’t read already I’d suggest the white tiger or the god of small things for books from India. I enjoyed both for different reasons!

  2. I think I should read The Goldfinch. Hihi. There’s a lot of controversy surrounding it. Some literary critics don’t like it (like James Wood), so you could just imagine their dismay when it won the Pulitzer.

    As for me, my goal this year is 40 books. I lowered it from last year’s 52 because I was supposed to do some writing (but since I’m a pathological procrastinator…). I’m now at 12, one book behind you.

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