2013 Roundup: Fiction Books

I wrote reviews of 42 fiction books during 2013, of which 17 were in my great re-read of all the fiction I own. There’s also a small handful of books I didn’t write about because I read them in the library and didn’t bring them home – so say 45 for a round number of books read. Of these both my favourite of the year and least favourite were library books, both written by women and one published this year and one last. Over on my librarything I do give books star ratings, and I’m organising the rest of this post using them. Even tho the difference between any two adjacent star ratings is dependent on my mood at the time I rated the books, there’s a clear difference between 5* and 3* and 1* books.

First some overall stats:

Gender split (f:m) = 14:13
Dates (2013:rest) = 8:34
Ownership (library:owned(new) ) = 24:18(1)
Series (standalone:series) = 11:31

(Counting authors once each, but not going into details about authors of short stories just using the editors. Also counting a book as standalone even if it’s in the same universe as others by that author but not directly related by plot or characters. If a book was owned when I read it it counts as owned even if it was given away afterwards.)

I’m noting these for a variety of reasons. Gender split is because that’s part of the ongoing conversation in SFF fandom over the last year – or at least in the parts that I read. One strand of that is that books by women are reviewed disproportionally less than books by men, and as one of the ways I pick up new books to read is by reading reviews I wanted to see if that affected what I was reading. But it looks like I’ve got a fairly even split, although that’s a slightly disingenuous way to count it – each author once – because I read a dozen Asimov related books which I think might skew it more male if I counted each book separately.

The next two stats are because I was interested in how my re-read was skewing what I was reading. But I’m still reading a substantial amount of new-to-me fiction (mostly from the library), and a reasonable amount of actually new fiction. The last stat is because I noticed that of my 5* books two were new instalments in on-going series that I’m already invested in. And three more were the start of serieses, only one was standalone. Which seemed very skewed so I wondered how it played out across the rest of what I read last year – the answer is skewed towards series books, but not at at 5:1 ratio like my favourites. I don’t know if that means anything, but it was interesting to me 🙂

5* Books

Gender split (f:m) = 4:3
Dates (2013:rest) = 4:2
Ownership (library:owned(new) ) = 5:1(1)
Series (standalone:series) = 1:5

Of these I’d pick out “Life After Life” by Kate Atkinson as the top book I read in 2013, I really liked the exploration of how the events of someone’s life shape them and yet they’re still themselves despite the differences.

4* Books

Gender split (f:m) = 4:5
Dates (2013:rest) = 1:11
Ownership (library:owned(new) ) = 8:4(0)
Series (standalone:series) = 3:9

3* Books

Gender split (f:m) = 3:6
Dates (2013:rest) = 2:15
Ownership (library:owned(new) ) = 6:11
Series (standalone:series) = 4:13

2* Books

Gender split (f:m) = 3:2
Dates (2013:rest) = 1:4
Ownership (library:owned(new) ) = 4:1(0)
Series (standalone:series) = 2:3

1* Books

Gender split (f:m) = 1:0
Dates (2013:rest) = 0:1
Ownership (library:owned(new) ) = 1:0
Series (standalone:series) = 0:1

If I manage to finish a book it generally doesn’t get 1*, but this was a rare instance of a book where the more I thought about it the less I liked it. The worst book I read last year.


Gender split (f:m) = 0:1
Dates (2013:rest) = 0:1
Ownership (library:owned(new) ) = 0:1(0)
Series (standalone:series) = 1:0

I didn’t know how to rate this one, so I didn’t!