Some Personal Myths Get Busted for Christmas

This is the first time in my life I’m doing this for real: counting books I’ve read and making statistics. Ooh, no, wait, this is not going to be a boring post full of numbers! (I’ve done enough professional reports like these) The great lesson of this experience is: I should have done this long ago. I’d no idea. I’ve been talking baloney for years (I’ve just discovered this expression, let me revel in using it anywhere for a minute, but you’re allowed to correct me if I’m using it incorrectly). Here are some myths in a bad shape: 

  1. Myth: I read a book a week. Fact: I’ve read over 70 books this year. Not counting magazines, I promise. Not counting the individual short stories I’ve discovered through A Curious Singularity. Not just browsing through a few pages and dropping it. In fact, I rarely drop a book. Except on the library floor. And I don’t take it home.
  2. Myth: I read only fiction. Fact: I’ve read over 20 non-fiction books this year. And I love it. I venture into literary analysis provided it’s not too academic. I love travel books by Nicolas Bouvier. Memories and essays by Virginia Woolf, of course. And unclassifiable texts of W.G. Sebald.
  3. Myth: I don’t read any French literature. Fact: eer… that’s actually true (only 4, and not really memorable, except for Marc Dugain’s An Ordinary Execution), and none of the French bestsellers or prizes.
  4. Myth: I don’t read much contemporary fiction. Fact: if contemporary is to be defined by post-2000, then I’ve read more than 30 of them! And the books published before 20C make a paltry 10.
  5. Myth: I love Asian fiction. Fact: well, I do love it, but it doesn’t really show: 5 books only. Gosh, I must work on that next year. (but didn’t I already say that in January 2007?)

Of course, American and British 20C novels make the bulk of it. But I’ve managed to diversify, with several Irish, Canadian and European authors. Now that I have a nice and clean list in front of me (and not just my hazy patchy memory) I can think hard about the best books of the year. In the meantime, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you!

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6 thoughts on “Some Personal Myths Get Busted for Christmas

  1. Happy happies to you too, Ms Smithereens! I’m going to be doing my own myth-busting list later this week. It will be an interesting exercise, especially since this is the first time I’ve kept a list.

  2. I only began keeping statistics last year, but I’ve found it fascinating — I’ll do my own post on the subject soon. I like keeping track of my reading, although I don’t like obsessing about how many books I’ve read and whether the number is higher or lower than last year, etc.

  3. It’s interesting to see how we have these myths about what we read (and probably many other things as well) that don’t quite correspond to our reality. I think it must be a pleasant surprise to discover that some of your myths are just that … myth, and not fact.

    Bonne année !

  4. Happy Christmas (and now more pertinently, New Year!) to you, too! I enjoyed this very much – isn’t it entertaining to explode those myths. I’ll bet I’ve got loads that I don’t acknowledge. I shall have to encourage you to read some more French lit, however. I’m honour bound. I’ll think on some of the best books I’ve read recently and try to tempt you with them!

  5. Charlotte, this is my first time too and it’s quite worth it!

    Dorothy, I read your post on your statistics. I guess for a repeat exercise it’s all the more interesting to compare with the previous year’s results!

    Stefanie, it was indeed a nice surprise. I tend to overlook the books I read in electronic format: because I don’t have to carry them around physically, they slip out of my mind!

    Kate, these myths are what I usually answer when people ask me about what I like to read. Next year I’ll be able to answer more truthfully!

    Litlove, please do recommend me some French lit (including sexy, explicit stories you must have studied for your book!!)

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