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Coming out of hibernation after the year’s end, surrounded by books new (Christmas additions in above image) and old, I find a flurry of reading related articles, posts etc which inspire me to review my own reading. A few years ago I catalogued my (then!) books on http://www.librarything.com and did one annual reading list on that site. I then changed allegiance to Goodreads and did a few annual lists on there. I have found these web sites an easy way of keeping track of what I read (although even then I sometimes forget to add books!), although I am not so much into all the associated elements. As with all forms of social media they can be used to suit one’s own inclinations.

Looking back on the 37 books I apparently read last year I am idly searching for common elements, links, to make sense of what is in actuality a fairly random selection, governed by what I chanced upon at the library, found in secondhand bookshops, was given as presents or, most rarely, bought new myself. Of course some I also already had but had not read. Some books get left out – those partly read, flicked through, used for research of some sort, especially art books or catalogues. However I detect some patterns in those read and recorded, particularly amongst my favourites. My 5 star selection :

The Small Heart of Things by Julian Hoffman

Four Fields by Tim Dee

Feral by George Monbiot

Austerlitz by W G Sebald (finally got round to this)

A Place in Space by Gary Snyder (and this)

Distance and Memory by Peter Davidson (actually finished 2014)

So a bias to non fiction often in essay form, male authors (not consciously intended but certainly evident), all authors I knew of already, nature and the environment, place. The personal and local is contrasted or counterpointed with the global: home and away.

The trends continue in my next (4 star) favourites, with a few women writers creeping in at least:

The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit

Holloway by Robert Macfarlane et al

Boneland by Alan Garner

Harvest by Jim Crace

A Sting in the Tale by Dave Goulson

Patrick Leigh Fermor: An Adventure by Artemis Cooper

So I think about this year. I’m still reading Orhan Pamuk’s Istanbul (he was a feature of last year’s reading). My new books (above image) also look a bit more urban and (along with those I gave my partner, which I also intend to read: The View From the Train by Patrick Keiller, Nairn’s Towns by Ian Nairn and Concretopia by John Grindrod) architectural maybe. Only a couple of women authors again though.

I select some of the books I acquired last year but have not got round to yet:

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Streets, cities, walking and countryside with some melancholy thrown in, all by men. Oh well  plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

Happy Reading New Year!

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