My Struggle.

I’ve been keeping a log of all the books I finished in 2014. Note that these were finished in the last year, and that the top one or two might have been started in 2013. Here’s that list in full:

Number Author Title
1 Ella Cheever Thayer Wired Love
2 Nethergate Writers If Stones Could Speak
3 John Twelve Hawks The Traveller
4 Nethergate Writers Whodunwhat?
5 Rachel McCrum The Glassblower Dances
6 Jenny Lindsay The Eejit Pit
7 Luke Wright Mondeo Man
8 Various authors Alternate Hilarities
9 Adam Gopnik Paris to The Moon
10 Virginia Woolf Mrs Dalloway
11 Carson McCullers Ballad of The Sad Café
12 Jayne Anne Philips Quiet Dell
13 Raymond Carver Elephant and Other Stories
14 Kohta Hirano Hellsing

Not all of these were traditional novels. Numbers 5, 6 and 7 were poetry chapbooks, 9 was a collection of essays, while 14 is my first foray into reading graphic novels.

My favourite of these had to be number 1. It was published in 1880 and was ahead of its time both in terms of the technology used in the story and that the main characters are all women, with the men in supporting roles. My least favourite was number 10. This choice will rub up two of my lecturers the wrong way, but while the quality of her writing is high, her books never form much of a story. I had to wait until page 168 for anything major to happen.

Since I became a writer, I’ve tried to finish any book I’ve started even if I find it hard going. I’m currently trying to plough through the abstract concepts in Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, and I tackled Crawling Round South Oakwood by Stephen Slaughter a couple of years ago although it read like an unedited first draft. Before then, I would give up after a short time; I didn’t make it past the first few pages of Road to Mars by Eric Idle, nor A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking.

Mathematician Jordan Ellenberg has developed a formula based on the latter of these books called the Hawking Index to estimate how far people are reading before giving up. It uses the five passages in each book most highlighted by Kindle users. However, in the time since the publication of the formula, the title of least-read book is no longer Hawking’s masterpiece, but Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty. You can read the full list here.

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