Review of the Year #2 – 2021 – Time for Book Stats.

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

This year I read more books than ever, my highest ever. However, although the total page count was up at around 37.5k, this only gives an average of 251, due to the large number of novellas in that 150! I am a bit of a cheat, but I don’t care!

Where the books came from

I decided this year that I wouldn’t use the library as I have too many books as it is (If my library was one of the ones that public lending rights are calculated on – yes, it’s an annually changing list – not all libraries, I’d support it more). I detest reading e-books so got none from Netgalley.

But did that result in me reading more from my over-huge TBR? No! The blue section is a mere 19% of my total, and review copies 55%, and shiny new books bought this year make up the rest. Must try harder in 2022 to get that TBR down.

Year of Original Publication

Naturally with all those review copies and books I bought for myself, shiny new titles were bound to dominate, but only a couple of % more than last year. Pre-2000 books are up by 1% though. The only pre-1900 thing I read was Poe’s The Murders in the Rue Morgue from 1821.

Where the authors come from and the language they write in

I managed to increase the number of European countries read to 16 (incl English-speaking ones), consequently I read fewer novels in French this year and fewer from Ireland. The Americas are represented solely by a larger number of US authors (up 4%) and 1 from Mexico. Similarly Australasia/Oceania are represented by two from New Zealand authors. Last year, I managed three by African authors – same this year I’m afraid – but I was concentrating on expanding my European reading.

However, I managed to read a full 36 books in translation – 24% – up 6% from last year – result!

Author Gender & Authors of Colour

I’ve decided to give up comparing the number of male vs female authors I read in a graph. This year, I read 45% by female authors up on last year. The reason I’m doing this is because I really don’t pick books by the gender of the author at all – never have.

I have read more books by authors of colour this year at 14, even if I only managed three from Africa.

Book Genres, Publishers and Miscellaneous

Just a few highlights this year!

  • SF / Spec Fiction was up at 11
  • Crime Thrillers and Spy novels also up at 25
  • Graphic novels up at 6 (thanks to 4 x Walking Dead volumes!)
  • Poetry was down to 3 from 5 and 9 the year before that.
  • Memoirs were up at 10 books – vs biographies at 1 book – I prefer memoirs.
  • Non-Fiction: in total I read 28 books which is two more than last year, but with more books read they made 19% of my total – down a couple of percent on 2020.
  • Publishers: I’ve spread my reading quite widely – including a lot of indie publishers this year – but with all the different imprints from the big houses, it’s difficult to make a definitive list quickly, however showing well alongside the perennial Penguin paperbacks which top the list are, Faber with 10 books and Orenda with 7 (the latter being mainly due to signing up for their super blog tours).
  • Multiples: Apart from the 4 Walking Dead comic books, I (re)read 4 books by Iain Banks, and 2 each by ten authors.
  • Re-Reads: Just 4 this year, two by Banks.
  • New to Me: A full 90 authors – that’s 60%!

…And Finally

A few more fun stats for you…

  • Longest book read – The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles at 592 pages – the only book of over 500 pages I read this year.
  • Shortest book read – Mother by Jess Phillips, a 50 page essay about motherhood.
  • Most viewed post from whenever – STILL Return to Wigtown, (but down from 4040 views in 2020 to 1642 this year).
  • Most viewed 2021 book review The Book of Pebbles by Christopher Stocks and Angie Lewin  

And some recurring motifs in book titles…

  • Animals: Bee, Cats x 3, Lion, Mayflies, Peacock, Rabbits x 3.
  • Body Parts & Functions: Blind, Bones, Brain, Breath x 2, Guts, Healing, Heartburn, Vertigo.
  • Buildings and Contents: Bookshop, Chair, Door, Hotel, House, Mirror x 2, Real estate, Table, Wardrobe.
  • Forenames: Jack, Lanny, Why. Surnames: Frankenstein, Maigret, March, Mortimer.
  • Friends & Family, People: Baby, Best friend, Friends, Girl, Madwoman, Man/Men x 3, Mother x 3, Mrs, People, Sister, Women x 2
  • Natural World: Mistletoe, Pebbles, Rose, Wool.
  • Numbers & Ordinals etc : Nada, One, Single, Double, Twice x 2, Three, 3rd, Five, Seven, 1979.
  • Occupations & Activities: Agent, Assistant, Candidate, Disciple, Employee, Engineer, Gardener, Hermit, Killer, King, Liar, Muse, Policeman, Reader x 2, Rider, Trawlerman, Walker, Witch, Writer
  • Real Places: Beijing, Douala, Harlem, Lincoln, Paris, Texas,
  • Real People in fiction: Francis Bacon, Charles Darwin.
  • Science – Space: Astral, Galaxy, Moon, Planet, Space, Star Universe. Other Science: Air, Atomic, Fahrenheit, Glass, Poison, Steel.
  • States of Mind: Alive, Being, Cool, Dishonoured, Dead x 3, Heeding, Idleness, Mad, Psychopath, Rage, Unbearable, Unsettled.
  • Weather & Seasons: Dark x 2, Light, Night x 2, Rain, Storm, Winter.

That’s all Folks! 

I hope you enjoyed the stats.

Coming on Dec 31st: My Books of the Year.

15 thoughts on “Review of the Year #2 – 2021 – Time for Book Stats.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      That Bythell post just keeps on popping up at the top of my stats (closely followed by my post on a vintage paperback about the benefits of honey and cider vinegar).

  1. kaggsysbookishramblings says:

    Interesting, Annabel! I think I’m like you when it comes to picking a book in that the gender etc of the author isn’t relevant – I just choose what I want to read. I don’t know the split of review/own books this year, but I am determined to attack the TBR this year. And despite the temptation, I am going to try to stick with books I already own for your FINDS event!

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      The emphasis these days is different I hope/think, it’s more about being more inclusive generally which is good. I’m going to try very hard to look to my TBR – of which I have a full shelf of Nordic books without having to *ahem* add any more.(didn’t quite achieve that bit – bought several recently from Postscript Books – they were cheap though). Looking forward to seeing what you will read.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I could do parallel coordinates (if I had time of course), but I’d not heard of k-means cluster analysis! Will have to look that up.

  2. Calmgrove says:

    Impressive, Annabel, both the range of reading matter and the actual marshalling of stats! Shiny new books have been few and far between for me unless I strike it lucky in local charity shops or titles call to me in the local indie, so it’s been a real mix for me this year. My own scheduled overview will eschew most figures, and I’m more determined than ever to go for the ideal Year of Reading Randomly which has eluded me recently!

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I’ve kept this spreadsheet going since I started blogging – and I do use the stats to keep me on my toes a bit.

  3. Paul Cheney says:

    Very impressive stats, Annabel. I am looking at tinkering with my spreadsheets this year to get more data from them

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I love tinkering with my spreadsheet – which is only for books read. Librarything which I love has my catalogue.

  4. Liz Dexter says:

    Love your stats! My most viewed post ever is a review of Chetan Bhagat’s Two States, my most viewed from 2021 is my Anne Tyler project page. Happy reading for 2022!

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