This is the post I love writing each year. I consult my trusty spreadsheet which now has over ten years of basic data on it, and pull out some comparative figures about my year of reading. These are accurate up to the book I finished reading yesterday!
Books and Pages Read
Very close to last year basically. I do most of my reading in bed and these days prefer to go up to bed early, and have the news on the radio in the background rather than watching the telly news. Most nights I read for an hour or more. Then when I wake up, I make a cup of tea and read until I need to get up, which gets me another half an hour of booktime. So my usual minimum is an hour and a half a day – more if I can sit down during the day to read.
Year of Publication
I’m always amazed at how many ‘shiny new books’ I read each year. I’m surprised every year when it’s over 50%. This year I’m down nearly 4% on last year which reflects well on my trying to read more from the TBR, I’ve read more published in the 20th C this year too – I separate them into Pre-1960 and 1960 onwards – 1960 being the year of my birth.
Apologies for the slightly confusing cutout bar/legend – I couldn’t make the graph have a gap between the two. Last year I read 52% UK authors and 22% from USA/Canada. This year these proportions have gone up significantly to 86% at the expense of world fiction. I wrote about my year in translation in more detail yesterday, but the list does feature fewer countries and languages this year.
Genre or Category
The main things here are that I’ve read more non-fiction, which I wrote about the day before yesterday – I’m continuing to enjoy non-fiction more. However, I also read more thrillers of all persuasions – be they crime, spy, action etc. – they’re my go-to comfort reads. I’ve read slightly less contemporary fiction too, spreading my reading over the genres. Children’s and YA novels are slightly down too which, as my daughter reads fewer of this type of book, will undoubtedly decrease further this year.
Once again, I’ll repeat that don’t consider gender when I pick which book I want to read – but you can read my stats to infer an unconscious bias towards reading books by men. There is a pattern in my stats though – the annual zig-zag goes from near-parity into the male dominated half and back – but look! The peaks are getting flatter… where will 2018 take this graph?
Known vs New Authors
This year there are only two authors I’ve read more than one book by in the year (Kingsley Amis and Georges Simenon). That’s the fewest repeat authors for a few years – tranches of Beryl Bainbridge novels, loads of Maigrets or series like the Stephen King Dark Tower books having influenced these figures. This year I do seem to have read more books by authors I’ve read before.
Each year I do start off the next reading year with some of the figures above in my mind. In 2018 I’d like to read books in translation from more countries for instance. However, it may not end that way given my predilection for being swayed by the latest shiny new books all the time!
8 thoughts on “Year End Review #5: The Stats”
Annabel, this was absolutely fascinating and you may have inspired me to do something similar particularly regarding the nationality of authors. I too, don’t focus on gender when reading a book but this year I managed to read 60% female authors which is encouraging.
I love your colourful and well-presented statistics! I wish I was more gifted with charts and graphs, and had kept better statistics in previous years. I haven’t looked at author nationality or publication year, but I imagine my reading would be heavily skewed towards American authors and books from the last year or two. I was surprised to see that I read more than 60% female authors as I’ve never made that a priority.
Thank you. I am always amazed when it turns out that every year I read over 50% published that year. I love my master spreadsheet – I have a page for each year and now have years and years of data!
Hello Annabel, I decided to have a go at it too. My graphs aren’t as neat as yours, and I was lacking some data so I did a couple of things differently, but FWIW here it is: https://anzlitlovers.com/2018/01/02/2017-anz-litlovers-stats/
I haven’t kept book stats in a few years, Annabel, but I’ve enjoyed looking at yours. I must say, though, that I’m disappointed that you group the USA & Canada together for your nationality stats. Canadian literature really does have a distinct voice that is definitely not American.
Noted – there were just 2 Canadian books this year, but I’ll separate them next yr. 🙂
Fab stats! I sometimes do the location but not this year – just F and NF and male and female! Great to read and very interesting, however.
I love looking at the stats of what I read! 🙂