Reading Habits of 2014

In 2014 I read 72 books, a total of 20,572 pages for the year. That works out to about 56 pages a day, or a book every 5 days on average. That’s a 14% increase over the previous year, so I’m definitely becoming more of a shut-in, if there was ever any doubt.

This does not include four books that I didn’t finish as I found them not to my taste, or two audio books I listened to this year.

This also does not include 882 various articles and blog entries that I also read via my ereader. This naturally includes a lot of computer programming related articles, as well as the occasional movie review, something about coffee, diversity in tech, stoicism, or anything else that captures my interest.

I’ve been tracking my book reading via Goodreads. My average rating is 2.79, which is about on par with last year. The average community rating of the same books is 3.87, which is also about the same as last year. Interesting to see the consistency there.

All in all my year old reading glasses got a very good workout.

Cover image for The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

My favourite book for the year would have to be The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Catherine Webb under one of her several pen names, Claire North. It’s on my list of books to read again sometime. Special mention would also have to go to Rubbernecker as the second runner. All in all, I rated sixteen books with four stars and the bulk, thirty-one, with three stars. That’s 65% of the books I read with a three star rating or better. Of these books, I read six on paper (pbooks), the rest were ebooks.

I also plowed through a few series, including the four books in Gregg Hurwitz’s Tim Rackley series, and fifteen books in Craig Johnson’s Longmire series.

Special mention also has to go to the audiobook version of Dune that I listened to. It was a very good production. I’ve read Dune at lest three or four times previously, but probably hadn’t picked it up in over a decade. Listening to this reminded me how much I enjoyed this book (and loathed the rest of the series).

I started the year with an Icarus Pocket six inch ereader. It was okay, and the firmware had some nice features, but it never really played well with plugging it into my Linux desktop computer and loading stuff with Calibre. Hard restarts were required regularly. Then some of the buttons stopped working, so it was time for an update.

I ended up going with Kobo’s Aura HD and am really happy with it. I always found the six inch e-ink screens a little cramped, so the 6.8 inch gave me the bit extra room I needed. I was also surprised to find the higher resolution screen a big difference to me, and was just that much more comfortable to read with.

With regard to using my ereader to read articles and blog entries, for the last few years I’ve been using a program I wrote called Erudite that downloads articles saved via Instapaper, Readability, or Pocket, convert them to an appropriate format such as EPUB or MOBI, and add them to my Calibre ebook library. If you think that all sounds too complex, please see here.

However, one feature of the Aura HD ereader I purchased this year turned out very handy. It has the ability to synchronise with Pocket. So if I saved all the articles I want to read with Pocket, then they are wirelessly synchronised onto my ereader, saving me having to plug it via USB into by desktop and run through my Erudite → Calibre → ereader pipeline all the time. (I still use this for articles Pocket doesn’t deal with, or that I want to keep a copy of.) And if you think that all sounds too complex, please see here.

However, I still wanted to track my article reading habits, plus follow up on articles in related forums such as Hacker News after I’d read them and such, so I wrote a litte PHP browser based application that interfaces with the Pocket API to help me manage all that.

Naturally I called it Pocket Lint.