Translate

Friday, December 30, 2011

Book Chase 2011 - in Numbers

Being the statistics nerd that I am, I've managed to pull together some end-of-year numbers that reflect the kind of reading year 2011 was for me. I think I was more consistent in my reading this year than I ever have been, with seven months at 10 books read, three with 11 read, and two with 12.  I didn't hit one of my normal "slump" periods in 2011, and that probably means that I chose my reading material more carefully this year then in past years.  I did, however, abandon 9 books again this year, same as in 2010.  I continued to make good use of my public library, and was lucky enough to get my hands on a bunch of really great Advance Reading Copies.  It was a good year.

This, according to the stats, was how it happened:
Number of Books Read - 127

Fiction - 92:
Novels - 90
Short Story Collections - 2

Nonfiction - 35:
Memoirs - 12
Biographies - 5
Literary Criticism - 2
Education - 3
Travel - 2
Sociology - 4
Sports - 1
Science - 1
History - 5

Written by Men - 84
Written by Women - 43
Co-Authored by Both - 0

Audio Books - 15
E-Books - 17
Library Books - 41
Review Copies - 64
Started but Abandoned - 9

Translated: 9
Pages per Day: 93

Length of Average Book Read in 2011 - 306 pages
Total Number of Pages Read (Excluding audio books) = 34,000+ 
I'm excited about moving into the New Year and beginning the sixth year of Book Chase on January 20. I hope to come up with something special to mark my fifth anniversary because that's definitely one I never thought I would be celebrating.  Let's have some fun in 2012; I can't wait to get started.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Authors, Poets, and Playwrights Lost in 2011

As happens every year, 2011 claimed a long list of writers, poets, and playwrights from around the world.  Here's the list that I've pulled so far - with just three days to go (the ones in red are simply the ones most readers will be familiar with):



January
2                                  Robert Trumble – Australian writer – 91
3                                  Eva Strittmatter – German writer – 80
4                                  Dick King-Smith – British author – 88
6                                  Susana Chavez – Mexican poet – 36
9                                  Ruth Cavin – American writer – 92
11                               Marcel Trudel – Canadian author – 93
15                               Romulus Linney – American playwright – 80
17                               M.K. Binodini – Indian writer 0 88
17                               Jean Dutourd – French author – 91
19                               Wilfrid Sheed – American author – 80
20                               F.A. Nettlebeck – American poet – 60
20                               Reynolds Price – American author – 77
22                               Park Wan-suh – South Korean author – 79
23                               Novica Tadic – Yugoslavian poet – 62
24                               Anna Yablonskaya – Ukrainian playwright – 29
25                               Vincent Cronin – British writer – 86
26                               R.F. Langley – British poet – 72
27                               Diana Norman – British author – 77
29                               Loreen Rice Lucas – Canadian author – 96
30                               Hisaye Yamamoto – American author – 89
31                               Nikolay Dorizo – Russian poet – 87
31                               Stuart Hood – Scottish writer – 95


February
2                                  Eric Nicol – Canadian writer – 91
5                                  Brian Jacques – British author – 71
8                                  Jorma Ojaharju – Finnish author – 72
11                               Bo Carpelan – Finnish poet and author – 84
15                               Judith Binney – New Zealand author – 70
16                               Hans Joachim Alpers – German writer – 67
17                               James McLure – American playwright – 59
17                               Perry Moore – American author – 39
19                               Max Wilk – American playwright and author – 90
25                               Aminath Faiza – Maldivian poet and author – 82
25                               Manny Fried – American playwright – 97
28                               Netiva Ben-Yehuda – Israeli author – 82

March
1                                  Hazel Rowley – Australian writer - 59
2                                  John Haines – American poet – 86
2                                  Thor Vihjalmsson – Icelandic author – 85
3                                  May Cutler – Canadian author – 87
3                                  Al Morgan – American author – 91
12                               Olive Dickason – Canadian author – 91
14                               Giora Leshem - Israeli poet – 71
15                               Amos Bar – Israeli author – 79
15                               Jean Liedloff – American writer – 84
24                               Lanford Wilson – American playwright – 73
26                               Joe Bageant – American writer – 64
26                               Diana Wynne Jones – British author – 76
27                               H.R.F. Keating – British writer – 84

April
2                                  Paul Violi – American poet – 66
3                                  Ulli Beier – German writer – 88
3                                  Marian Pankowski – Polish writer – 91
6                                  L.J. Davis – American writer – 70
10                               Stephen Watson – South African writer – 56
14                               Arthur Marx (son of Groucho) – American writer – 89
23                               John Sullivan – British writer – 64
25                               Ira Cohen – American poet – 76
29                               Abdul Hameed – Pakistani writer – 83
30                               Ernesto Sabato – Argentine writer – 99

May
6                                  Oniroku Dan – Japanese author – 80
7                                  Kate Swift – American writer – 87
7                                  Doric Wilson – American playwright – 72
9                                  Newton Thornburg – American author – 81
10                               Patrick Galvin – Irish writer – 83
13                               Pam Gems – British playwright – 85
14                               Birgitta Trotzig – Swedish author – 81
15                               Martin Woodhouse – British author – 78
18                               Dick Wimmer – American author – 74
19                               William Kloefkorn – American poet – 78
22                               Bob Gould – Australian bookseller – 74
25                               Edwin Honig – American poet and translator – 91
25                               Yannis Varveris – Greek poet – 56
27                               Johanna Fiedler – American author – 65

June
2                                  Josephine Hart – British novelist – 69
3                                  Harry Bernstein – American author – 101
4                                  Lilian Jackson Braun – American author – 97
4                                  Andreas P. Nielsen – Danish author – 58
7                                  Jorge Semprun – Spanish writer – 87
10                               Patrick Leigh Fermor – British author – 96
12                               Kathryn Tucker Windham – American author – 93
21                               E.M. Broner – American author – 83
21                               Robert Kroetsch – Canadian novelist – 83
24                               Richard Webster – British writer – 60
26                               Simon Heere Heeresima – Dutch writer – 79
29                               K.D. Sethna – Indian writer – 106

July
3                                  Ian Blair – British romance novelist – 69
3                                  Francis King – British writer – 88
6                                  Warren Leslie – American author – 84
16                               Geraint Bowen – Welsh poet – 95
20                               Blaize Clement – American writer – 78
20                               Gloria Sawai – Canadian writer – 78
27                               Hilary Evans – British author – 82

August
1                                  Stan Barstow – English novelist – 83
2                                  Leslie Esdaile Banks – American author – 51
3                                  William Sleator – American science fiction writer – 66
11                               David Holbrook – English writer – 88
15                               Colin Harvey – British science fiction writer – 50
21                               Edith Tiempo – Filipino author – 92
22                               Samuel Menashe – American poet – 85
25                               Ruth Thomas – British writer  - 66
26                               Susan Fromberg Schaeffer – American novelist – 71

September
4                                  Hugh Fox – American novelist and poet – 79
6                                  Michael S. Hart – Project Gutenberg founder and e-book inventor – 64
9                                  Khairy Shalaby – Egyptian writer – 73
14                               Frank Parkin – British author – 80
19                               Jo Carson – American writer – 64
23                               Jose Miguel Varas – Chilean writer – 83
25                               Denis Cannan – British playwright – 92
27                               Sara Douglass – Australian writer – 54
29                               Hella Haasse – Dutch writer – 93

October
1                                  Ruby Langford Ginibi – Australian author – 77
2                                  Taha Muhammad Ali – Palestinian poet – 80
7                                  Mildred Savage – American author – 92
7                                  Avner Treinin – Israeli poet – 83
15                               Gerald Shapiro – American writer – 61
18                               Paul Everac – Romanian writer – 87
18                               Andrea Zanzotto – Italian poet – 90
21                               Anis Mansour – Egyptian writer – 86
24                               Morio Kita – Japanese novelist – 84

November
1                                  Andre Hodeir – French author – 90
3                                  H.G. Francis – German writer – 75
4                                  Andy Rooney – American writer and journalist – 92
5                                  Les Daniels – American writer – 68
6                                  Isaac Chocron – Venezuelan playwright – 81
6                                  Peretz Kidron – Israeli writer – 78
7                                  Tomas Segovia – Mexican poet – 84
7                                  F. Springer – Dutch writer – 79
9                                  Shmuel Ben-Artzi – Israeli writer – 96
10                               Barbara Grier – American publisher – 78
16                              Rusian Akhtakhanov – Chechen poet – 58
17                               Peter Reading – English poet – 65
18                               Daniel Sada – Mexican author – 58
19                               Michael Hastings – English playwright – 73
19                               Ruth Stone – American poet – 96
20                               Shelagh Delaney – British playwright – 72
21                               Anne McCaffrey – American science fiction writer – 85
24                               Helen Forrester – Canadian writer – 92
25                               Leonid Borodin – Russian novelist – 73
25                               Erling Laegreid – Norwegian author – 72
29                               Mamoni Raisom Goswami – Indian writer – 69

December
1                                  Christa Wolf – German writer – 82
2                                 Christopher Logue – British poet – 85
2                                  David Montgomery – American historian – 84
7                                  Josip Barkovic – Croatian writer – 94
8                                  Gilbert Adair – Scottish author – 66
10                               Jean Baucus – American author – 94
11                               Ahmed Bahgat – Egyptian writer – 79
13                               T.J. Bass – Amerian writer – 79
13                               Kabir Chowdhury – Bangladeshi writer – 88
13                               Russell Hoban – American writer – 86
15                               Christopher Hitchens – British writer – 62
20                               Hana Andronikova – Czech writer – 44
22                               Richard Bessiere – French author – 88
25                               Simms Taback – American author - 79

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Rod Serling

I didn't have time to mention in on Christmas Day, but I do want to mark the birthday of one of the earliest "literary" influences in my life, Rod Serling.  Serling was born on Christmas day, 1924, and died on June 28, 1975, at the age of 50 from complications suffered during the open heart surgery procedure he had undergone just two days earlier.  Most people, especially those my age, will remember Serling as the creator of one of the finest programs ever to grace CBS-TV, The Twilight Zone, but he was also an accomplished short story and screenplay writer.  The series ran for 156 episodes, over 90 of which Serling wrote himself, and his introductions to each of the shows became classic pieces of television history in themselves.

The Twilight Zone ran for five seasons, beginning in 1959, not too long after I turned eleven years old - the perfect age for someone to discover a series like that one.  Suddenly, I found myself paying attention to plot details and characters in a way I hadn't done before, probably because I was so fascinated by just how much could be packed into a show that lasted only 25 minutes or so.  And, too, I think these shows were my introduction to the concept of the "surprise ending," still one of my favorite literary devices (I thank Rod Serling for preparing me to be a huge O. Henry fan when I finally stumbled upon that great short story writer a few years later).  Rod Serling is, beyond doubt, one of the main reasons I am such an avid reader today.  He helped make me appreciate the world of stories and books, and I still can't get enough of either today.

Serling is a member of the Television Hall of Fame and I consider him to be one of the finest science fiction writers that I have ever read.  It is a real shame that the man, a heavy duty chain smoker, died so young from the damage all that smoking did to his heart.  Who knows what else he might have left behind?