A Book A Month 2019

How did my A Book A Month Project fare in 2019?

Which books did I manage to plow through this year?

This is the fourth year of the A Book A Month Project, and this year I’ve almost exclusively read books that are part of a series. The only exception was Airport by Arthur Hailey, a book I abandoned after 5 hours of reading simply because I felt it was going slowly nowhere in particular.

2019 has been dominated by two authors; Marko Kloos and George R. R. Martin. I read the last three books of Kloos’ excellent Frontlines military science fiction series. I even managed to post a review of it. Like most series, Frontlines has its ups and downs, but my informal individual score of the books never dipped below 3.5 out of 5. As military science fiction series come, Frontlines is top notch.

A Throne of Books

George R. R. Martin is the only author I’ve read since May. I’ve been occupied with his A Song of Ice and Fire high fantasy series. Right now I’m on the fifth and final book that has been published so far, but it doesn’t look like I’ll manage to finish it in 2019.

But that was never the goal: Martin has thrown a figurative monkey wrench into the whole A Book A Month project. I usually try to read books that are around 300 pages long to give myself a realistic chance to actually finish it within a month. But 300 pages are far, far away from Martin’s modus operandi. None of the books in the A Song of Ice and Fire series weighs in below 700 pages, and because of that, I’ve allowed myself two months to finish each book. So far, so good. If all goes according to plan, I’ll finish A Dance with Dragons some time in January next year.

What prompted me to start reading the critically acclaimed A Song of Ice and Fire series was that HBO finally released the last episode of their Game of Thrones fantasy drama this year. Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last 8 years, you’re probably aware that the HBO series is based on Martin’s books. In early December, all the seasons were released on Blue-ray, and I wanted to read the books before I started to watch the series.

Behind the Scenes

During the year, I’ve also added a couple of new technical feature to the A Book A Month Project. I wanted to know how quickly I read, and how much time I actually spend reading each book. So now I can do that by starting and stopping my reading session. At the end of each session, I note how many pages I’ve read, and the system automatically figures out how much time I use per page. Marko Kloos’ Fields of Fire was the first book that had this kind of data registered.

Lately, I’ve also been adding a review score for each session, but that data is not being displayed anywhere yet. When I’ve collected enough data, I can calculate the average score for each sessions, which could tell how much I enjoyed the book. It’s important to remember, however, that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

To summarize, 2019 was a good year in terms of books. Next year, I think I’ll also try a bit of non-fiction to mix things up a little. Mindf*ck by Christopher_Wylie and Edward Snowden‘s Permanent Record are obvious candidates.

By Vegard Vines Skjefstad

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