I’ve been thinking about my book-buying habits lately. Partly because I’ve been reading ebooks on my iPad and partly just because I’m fascinated by the evolving business of publishing.

So I decided to be systematic.

Here’s a list of the books I’ve read in the last year, and either how I found out about them or why I chose to read them.

What and/or who influences your reading decisions?

  1. The Echo Maker, A Novel/Richard Powers – Chosen for book club. (Hated it.)
  2. On Writing/Stephen King – I’d heard about it online. (Loved it.)
  3. Darwin’s Radio/Greg Bear – My partner Greg recommended it. (Loved it.)
  4. Black Hole/Charles Burns – My in-laws gave it to me. (Liked it.)
  5. The Gunslinger/Stephen King – I’d read it as a kid and wanted to revisit it. (Enjoyed it as a kid. Hated it as an adult.)
  6. Zeitoun/Dave Eggers – I love Eggers and followed reviews and news of this book online. (Liked it.)
  7. Darwin’s Children/Greg Bear – Sequel to Darwin’s Radio. (Meh.)
  8. Olive Kitteridge/Elizabeth Strout – There was unending buzz amongst bookish types online. (Loved it.)
  9. The Book of Fires/Jane Borodale – I was sent a review copy by Penguin Canada. (Loved it.)
  10. Body of Lies/David Ignatius – My brother gave me a copy when he finished reading it. (Meh.)
  11. Lowboy/John Wray – I’d asked for it for the holidays a while back, I believe because I’d read a blogger’s review somewhere. (Loved it.)
  12. The Swarm/Frank Schatzing – My friend Kevin had suggested it for our book club a few years back and it stuck in my head though we never ended up choosing it. (Liked it.)
  13. Starfish/Peter Watts – Greg recommended it because of our discussions of The Swarm. (Liked it.)
  14. Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer/John Grisham – I was sent a review copy by Penguin Canada. (OMG I hated it so much.)
  15. South of Broad/Pat Conroy – My father-in-law lent it to me. (Liked it.)
  16. In the Land of Invented Languages/Arika Okrent – Heard about it online. (Loved it.)
  17. The Shipping News/Annie Proulx – Common knowledge. It had been on my list for a long time. (Loved it.)
  18. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues/Tom Robbins – Common knowledge. I’d picked up a used copy. (Hated it.)
  19. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest/Stieg Larsson – International phenomenon. (Didn’t like it.)
  20. Smilla’s Sense of Snow/Peter Hoeg – My friend Elin recommended it during a conversation about enjoying The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. (Loved it.)
  21. The Strain/Guillermo del Toro and Peter Hogan – Lots of buzz amongst geeks online. (Hated it.)
  22. The Hunger Games Trilogy/Suzanne Collins – In the last few weeks, I noticed lots of talk of it online amongst friends and others. (OMG I loved it so much.)
  23. The Secret Hour/Scott Westerfeld – My friends Michelle and Stephanie recommended it. (Enjoying it.)
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I’m impressed by a) how many books you read in a year! and b) how many books you finish that you hate!


I’ve read 79 books so far this year, mostly from the Vancouver Public Library. (I ran out of my 50 holds sometime in May!) Most of them were recommended by friends on Goodreads, including you, or on other forums. :) There were also some books that I couldn’t get through before I had to return them and a few that I couldn’t get through at all for various reasons. (The Hunger Games series came under the latter, in spite of almost everyone I know and whose opinions I respect recommending them enthusiastically.)

What I do find frustrating though is when someone on Goodreads who I know has similar tastes recommends a book or series and they aren’t available at the library! I usually only buy books now by my 10 or so favourite authors, all of whom are prolific, so even though I keep culling my books, I have at least one bookshelf in every room in my apartment, including the hall but excluding the bathroom! :D

My taste in reading material, as in almost everything else, is eclectic, although this year I’ve read mostly fantasy, paranormal romance, contemporary suspense and a few non-fiction. I still have a few more weeks – and a few more books on hold – before the end of the year.


I’m trying to be a bit broader in my reading this year and so I’ve been trying to read through the list of Booker prize winners to see if I find any new authors I like. I’ve had really mixed feelings about the ones I’ve read so far so it seems just as hit and miss a way of finding books as my previous method of browsing the library shelves and pulling off ones with titles/covers that appealed to me.

The only book I’ve also read from your reading list was Miss Smila’s feeling for snow which I also loved. I’ve read a few others of Peter Hoeg’s and I enjoyed A history of Danish dreams the best.

banksy canvas

Really great post, thanks so much for sharing this.

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