I always say this, but this post is possibly my favourite of the year! The master spreadsheet is still going strong. I love playing all that data to mine for nuggets of information that will tell me if my reading habits have changed. Without further ado, here are the charts (accurate to 25 December).
Books & Pages through the Ages
Again, I read slightly fewer books this year – Covid-19 anxiety has definitely played a part – I can’t stay awake to read as easily, and during the day I endlessly binge-watched telly, listened to the news or did jigsaws when I could have been reading. The average page count was down slightly to 263 from 269. Factored into the pages read, but not numbers of books are the short story singles and DNFs.
I just managed to reach my Goodreads target of 125 books on Christmas Day, but hope to exceed it by a couple more at least by the real end of the year.
Source of Books Read
With the library shut for the most part, I read far fewer from there this year, and despite buying loads of new books, I didn’t read many of them either although I did read ten more from my TBR piles. I’d like to shout out a huge thanks to all the publishers who have kept me in review copies – print ones too, in spite of difficulties in sending, for the number of review copies I read was up on last year. THANK YOU!
Year of Original Publication
The oldest thing I read was actually an 1896 short story by Willa Cather, but single shorts are not included here. Corresponding with the increased in review copies I read, the number of books I read originally published in 2020 has increased too. I did manage to read a few more first published before I was born though.
Author Birthplace & Original Language of Publication
Looking at author birth countries, I read no Scandinavian or South American authors at all this year. As always France and Ireland lead other countries after the USA with 10 books apiece, followed by Japan and Belgian (i.e. Simenon). Africa is up to 3 books from a single one last year, but remains underrepresented – something to improve on. My US author quotient is down again – I’ve read more home-grown thrillers perhaps?
Language-wise, 82% of the books I read in 2020 were written in English. This gives 18% in translation which is similar to last year – something to at least maintain or better in 2021.
Author Gender Identification
My reading still is more by male than female authors, I suspect it always will be this way. I still maintain that gender is not a factor in choosing the books I read. Once more this year, I’ve read a book by a trans author (included in the gender they identify as), and one by a non-binary author.
P.S. Edited especially for Dark Puss of Morgana’s Cat: I’ve broken down this year’s reading into gender and decades/years – in 2020 I read no books by women until those published in the 2000s.
Types of Book, Imprints & Fiction Genres
I won’t dwell on Non-Fiction as I joined in Non-Fiction November and mentioned most of what I read there. Numbers-wise, I added a few books I read 26 books by which is 21% of my total, down by 4% i.e. 5 books on last year, but still a respectable showing. Poetry was also down, from 9 to 5 books. I’ve broken 94 fiction books into their genres – it wasn’t worth doing a chart this year.
- General fiction incl. historical novels (too hard to classify what is historical) – 57
- Crime, thrillers and spy novels – 19
- SF / Spec fiction – 5
- Fantasy / paranormal (broadly) – 5
- YA / Crossover – 3
- Graphic novels / Cartoons – 3
- Short stories – 2
Publishing Imprints: I’ve read books from 63 imprints, with many indies in the mix. Totting up, it was great to see indie Canongate tieing with PRHO giants Penguin and Viking at 8 books each, followed by Picador (Pan Macmillan) and W&N (Orion) at 6 apiece, then Bloomsbury and Faber with 5 each.
A few more fun stats for you…
- Longest book read – Dune by Frank Herbert at 884 pages. I read 6 books of 450 pages or more.
- Shortest book read – I read several single short stories and a poetry pamphlet, between 18 and 43 pages.
- Number of Re-reads – 6
- Most viewed post from whenever – STILL Return to Wigtown, (4040 views in 2020) by a long way – I wrote about this phenomenon here.
- Most viewed 2020 post – The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman.
And some recurring motifs in book titles…
- Animals: Bird (unspecific) x 2, Dog, Kestrel, Magpie, Seals, Snakes.
- Body Parts & Functions: Body, Breathe, Cadavers, Foot, Memory, Mother’s milk, Swallowing, Tongue, Urine, Voice
- Forenames: Unusually, just the two – Dora and Vernon!
- Friends & Family, People: Children, Daughters, Earthlings, Girl, Man x 2, Mother x 2, Sister, Woman
- Numbers & Ordinals etc : Two penny, Third, Six, Sixpenny, Sixties, 100 million years and a day.
- Occupations & Activities: Dancer, Doctor, Keeper, Knave, Police, Raider, Searcher, Serial killer, Sovereign, Spies, Tourist, Vampire
- Real Places: Archangel, Babel, Brooklyn, Limehouse, Tokyo
- Real People in fiction: Dan Leno, Lincoln, Mr Wilder, Piranesi, Tamburlaine
- Science (broadly): Constellations, Echo, Electricity, Fire(s) x2, Fresh water, Glass, Maths, Mercury, Planet, Silver, Static, Universe, Water
- States of Mind: Bad, Becoming, Cheerful, Deceived, Happiness/Happy x 2, Hope, in Love, in the Dark, Rage, Spoon-Fed, Wicked
- Weather & Seasons: Ice, Snow x 2, Summerwater, Sunshine, Weather x 2