About this time last year, I commented that I had (approximately) 4400 books left to read before I die. I read 195 books this year (for a list, go here, here, here) and here), leaving 4204. Not bad, right? However, as we all know, it's quality, not quantity that matters. And sometimes, quality is, well... lacking is a good way to put it.
Unfortunately, reviews (professional and from well-meaning friends) are not always helpful or accurate. It's like cataloging in the library: some catalogers see a book as being about the history of the presidency and assign it to the social sciences (300s, for those of you unfamiliar with the Dewey Decimal System). Others, looking at the same book, conclude that it's really about the history of the US and assign it a 973 number. We, the hapless librarians charged with shelving the books, have to make up our own minds. So when someone says, "this is a great book" or "an incredible first novel" or "you'll laugh out loud", you take it with a grain (or cupful) of salt.
I get more upset by the things that should be good - a known author who, for whatever reason, writes a bad book - than by the ones that I had my doubts about in the first place. Those just hurt: it's time, effort, reading all lost and never to be regained. My goal, this year as always, is to cut back on the "bad" and increase the "good". Of course, I'd have to get over my problems with "clean your plate" reading.
All this ties in with an update to this post about reading in 2004 (taken from Librarian.net), updated below. 2004 totals are in parens.
number of books read in 2005: 196 (124)
best month: January/43 books
worst month: June/1 book
average read per month: 16.3 (10.33)
adult fiction as percentage of total: 13 (14)
children's/YA fiction as percentage of total: 40 (35)
mystery as percentage of total: 12 (23)
non-fiction as percentage of total: 8 (13)
On to 2006!