December 2004 books and 2004 reading roundup

December 2004 was a quieter month, celebrating little U's second birthday and then Christmas at home with just the five of us; I cooked boar as usual, and we watched the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings DVDs during the holiday. No Crisis Group publications, though I was working hard on the big Kosovo report for early 2005, and I did have the thrill of being quoted by the prosecutor in the trial of Slobodan Milošević (at end here and then again here). I don't even seem to have travelled – cancelled a planned trip to Albania at the last moment owing to pressure of work. (My non-systematic tally, before I started doing the overnights meme properly, was that I had been to twenty different countries in 2004.) My Slovenian intern K left; by peculiar coincidence, within a few months she was working for my present employers, and now works for one of our biggest corporate clients, so we are still in touch. This was also the year of the Boxing Day tsunami.

Books read December 2004

Non-fiction 2 (2004 total 42)
A More Secure World: Our Shared Responsibility Report of the Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
The Uncyclopedia, by Gideon Haigh

SF 5 (2004 total 76)
Cyteen, by CJ Cherryh
The Time Traveler's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger
The Silmarillion, by J.R.R. Tolkien
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, by Susanna Clarke
The Radiant Seas, by Catherine Asaro

Comics 2 (2004 total 8)
A Contract With God, by Will Eisner
Berlin: City of Stones, by Jason Lutes

3,600 pages (2004 total 46,800)
2/8 by women (2004 total 33/149, 22%)
None by PoC (2004 total 2/149, 1%)

I hugely enjoyed both The Time Traveler's Wife, which you can get here, and Berlin: City of Stones, which you can get here. However, The Radiant Seas failed to convert me to Catherine Asaro. You can get it here.

So looking at the 149 books that I read in 2004 as a whole (the first full calendar year that I systematically tracked my reading):

SF 76 (51% – higher percentage than in any recent years, though if you count Doctor Who and SF together it works out about average)
Best of 2004: Sacrifice of Fools, by Ian McDonald, The Time Traveller's Wife, by Audrey Niffenegger, Changing Planes, by Ursula Le Guin
The one you haven't heard of: Bad Timing, by Rebecca Levene
Worst of 2004: Humans, by Robert J. Sawyer

Non-fiction 42 (28% – also higher than any recent years, though not by as much)
Best of 2004: Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, by Claire TomalinJ.R.R. Tolkien: author of the century, by Tom Shippey
The one you haven't heard of: Home Rule: an Irish History, 1800-2000, by Alvin Jackson
Worst of 2004: Tolkien: A Look Behind the Lord of the Rings, by Lin Carter

Non-genre 19 (13% – lower than most recent years, same as 2016, more than 2017)
Best of 2004: The Summer Book, by Tove Jansson, Beasts and Super-Beasts, by Saki
The one you haven't heard of: The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits, by Emma Donoghue
Worst of 2004: To the Nines, by Janet Evanovich

Comics 8 (5% – lower than any recent year)
Berlin, Maus, Persepolis are all great.

Book of the year 2004: Claire Tomalin's bio of Samuel Pepys. You can get it here.

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