A few more thoughts on reading last year and this

In my recent Books Read in 2009 post I talked a bit about what I read last yea and a few other aspects of reading. In this post I want to touch on a few other issues, some of which are orthogonal ways of looking at what I read last year; so partially an update, partially new.

Public domain

January 1st was Public Domain Day [and when I started on writing some of what became this post].

In honor of the public domain, and Public Domain Day, I intend to read some William Butler Yeats whose stuff enters public domain this year. Look around the Public Domain Day site:“To celebrate the role of the public domain in our societies” and check out the list of authors (probably) entering public domain this year (Sigmund Freud, for instance, and Yeats). All of the listed authors have links to their Wikipedia pages (or the several I checked anyway. All seem to be links. Ergo.)

I have never intentionally read any Yeats so I am looking forward to it. For me, one of the big boons of reading ebooks on my Touch [I use Stanza and ePub files] is the number of public domain titles I am reading. Much of it I have been aware of, for assorted reasons, for much of my life but I never got to it. Although I have purchased a very few ebooks I have not made the transition to buying ebooks. Despite the advantages of ebooks—I do believe there are some (and that I’ve said so on this blog)—the limited capabilities of today’s hardware and software, combined with the fact that I am mostly reading stuff from free sources, means that I still buy print books. But the technology and the social/legal situation means that (currently) I get to focus on the stuff now free. I like that.

Based on my Books Read in 2009 post (and feedbooks) I read 28 public domain books last year. That is 35% of my entire reading. Only one (ah, 1.5) of those was in print: Siddhartha and half of Lord Jim. That means that 96% of my public domain reading (a solid 33% of all reading) was done on my Touch. [Only 2 of the total ebooks read were not in the public domain for the US, at least according to feedbooks.]

Fiction vs. Nonfiction

I didn’t even think of this until I saw Jessamyn West’s list a couple days after mine. When I got home I decided to sketch it out, both overall and for ebooks, and finshed vs. not finished.  Jessamyn also looks at ratio of male-to-female authors (amongst a few other looks) and that does not serve any interestof mine. Data’s there, count for yourself if you are. 😉

Overall (print/ebooks)

  • Finished: 44 Fiction, 39 Nonfiction.
  • Unfinished: 2 Fiction, 5 Nonfiction.

So 53% of total finished was fiction; 47% nonfiction. Pretty even split and appropriate, for now. If you throw in the unfinished books on both sides it comes closer to even (51/49%)


  • Finished: 24 Fiction, 4 Nonfiction
  • Unfinished: 1 each

86% of the finished ebooks were fiction; 14% nonfiction. Goes to 83/17% if add in one each unfinished, except the fiction gains it back since it is still being read; Emerson’s essays were given up completely.


As of 4 January I have joined Goodreads. Both Jenny and Angel asked me in the comments of the book post why I’m not on Goodreads. I’d never discovered a need, primarily. Thus never had an account and did not know what it is exactly.

Books—most in one of a couple different ways—get tracked in a lot of places by me. Amazon for some things I want; Google doc of acquisitions (chronological); LibraryThing as, primarily, a catalog for me of mostly stuff I own (~99%),  I do little of the social there; Zotero for things I have read, regardless of source; wiki for what read and dates. What else is left?

Well. I haven’t been happy with the amount of engagement I’ve given many of these books (or articles) after I have finished reading them, in a long time. I should write more reviews, even mini-reviews, and other commentary on what I have read. Will this help?

One thing I do not like already is that I cannot find where to find someone I know who uses it so I can add them as a friend. The add friends function seems to really want me to give them my Gmail contacts, my facebook friends, etc. I am not cool with that.

Griped about it on twitter and a friend reached out and friended me. Many of her Goodreads friends are my friends too. But I still do not know how to find and friend Angel. Jenny was found in the previous manner.

I sure wish I could figure out how to simply get a csv file out of a Zotero collection. Might play with putting the last 3 years books read in if I could. I do not want to import my whole LibraryThing database. Wonder can I just export an LT collection? Need to look into that. And. Ebook metadata/editions remains a problem and even adds a new twist. Anyway ….

No promises but I am going to give it a try.

A new year in reading

No idea what 2010 will bring for me in reading. But I am looking forward to whatever it is. Am already reading some Wendell Berry poetry and Kundera on the novel.

Here’s to a great year of reading for everyone!

One thought on “A few more thoughts on reading last year and this

  1. I tend to hate that deal that websites do (not just GR, but just about every social site) of wanting to mine your Gmail, FB, what have you list of friends. If I want to add anyone, I will send the invite myself. Hate the idea that they will spam people on my behalf. I did find and sent the add request for GR.

    Best, and keep on blogging.

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