Books by the Numbers

Reading

In 1995 I got several books for Christmas. This was not unusual. However, in 1995 I also received a small address book from my Uncle Ray, and although I didn’t really need it as an address book, I decided to use it to keep track of the books I read in the new year.

Because I can be a tad obsessive, I’ve kept track ever since. Like I said, a tad excessive.

So, books, by the numbers.

335: The number of books I’ve read since 1996.

23: Number of non-fiction books on that list. Okay, so I like fiction. The vast majority are genre novels of one kind or another—horror, science fiction, fantasy, crime. You get the idea.

5: The fewest book I read in one year, in 1998. That year I drew several wallpaper borders for a local company. These were huge, time-consuming projects that left me little free time.

31: The most books I read in any year, in 2002. For whatever reason, I must not have done much drawing or writing that year. No idea why.

8: the number of graphic novels on the list. I was surprised and a little disappointed that I’ve read so few graphic novels, and I’m trying to rectify that. I have several on my TBR pile.

17: The number of novels I’ve read by Joe Lansdale, the most by any one author. Lansdale is a modern-day Mark Twain, if Twain had written violent, scatological, deeply serious and laugh-out-loud funny crime, horror, westerns, and historical fiction, often all of those things jumbled together in a meaty East Texas stew. My favorites of his are the Hap and Leonard series, the misadventures of a middle aged white guy (Hap) and his best friend, Leonard, a gay Viet Nam vet. These books are violent, profane, tense, and hilarious, sometimes in the same paragraph.

Other authors who appear multiple times: Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, J.K. Rowling, Lemony Snicket, Seanan McGuire (writing as both herself and Mira Grant), Andrew Vachss, Richard Kadrey, Paul Tremblay, Joe Abercrombie. There are others, but these are the writers I come back to again and again.

First book on the list: Deviant Way, by Richard Montanari, a brutal serial killer novel set in my hometown of Cleveland.

Last book on the list: The Woman In The Window, by Dan Mallory, a twisty thriller that I’m about halfway through as I write this.

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