This is possibly my favourite post of the year! I love playing with my master spreadsheet, 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
I read slightly fewer books this year. Last year I read a lot of novellas, this year I read several books which were long, dense or both. However I also read 9 poetry books which, although short I read most poems twice or more, and took more time to reflect on them. Several big novels did keep up the page count though, and my average was 269 pages per book, up on last year.
Source of Books Read
I got an ebook from Netgalley – still didn’t like reading it on a tablet. But I can also report progress: not only did I read more books from my TBR than I bought, but I rediscovered my local library which has been a pleasure, so again my own + borrowed books outnumber review copies, and by a (slightly) greater margin than previously.
Year of Publication
Once again, no pre 1900 novels, and look at the showing for those published before I was born (pre 1960) – just a single one this year. The percentage published this year is reduced by 3% on last year (4 books), but it appears I’ve otherwise been reading a lot of pre-2019 21st century books.
Author Nationality & Original Language of Publication
Given that I’d noted a handful of Welsh authors on my spreadsheet, I thought it would be interesting to break down the UK – but I discovered some author profiles just say ‘British’ – so I’ve included them with England, as most Scottish, Welsh and a lone NI author state up front that they’re Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish… Hmm! So this year, I’ve read less widely around the world in general, and more around the UK.
The above is born out by the fact that 85% of the books I read were published in English, with French coming next at 8%, See my post from a couple of days ago about my reading in translation this year.
Author Gender Identification
My reading still is more of male than female authors, I suspect it always will be this way, although as you can see, the see-sawing is getting closer to a line at about 44% female, 56% male. However, 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, so the gender plot is getting more complicated.
Types of Book and Fiction Genres
I’ve talked about my Non fiction and Poetry reading on previous days, so my last chart drills down – sort of – into genre and categories of fiction. It’s complicated again, as several general fiction books like Kate Atkinson’s Transcription and Jennie Rooney’s Red Joan are spy stories and could belong under Crime & Thrillers in one sense.
One really interesting stat though was the rise of the fictionalised biography – I read six of them last year – dramatising episodes in lives from Elvis and Maud (and Frank L) Baum to sculptor Rembrandt Bugatti.
A few more fun stats for you…
- Longest book read – A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness at 704 pages. I read 11 books of 450 pages or more.
- Shortest book read – I read several single short stories at between 42 and 48 pages.
- Most viewed post from this year – Return to Wigtown, by quite a long way, followed by La Serenissima – City of Masks
- Most viewed post this year from any other year – The Honey and Cider Vinegar Way to Health – a top performer ever since I posted it!
And some recurring themes in book titles…
- Animals: Fox, Horse, Mole, Owl, Turtle
- Body Parts: Astragal (another name for the talus bone in the ankle), Heart x 3, O Positive, Skin, Tongue
- Forenames: F: Adele, Alice, Audrey, Daisy, Dorothy, Joan, Mimi, Modesty, Rose. M: Auggie, Charles, Tony, William x2
- Friends & Family, People: Angel, Children, Folk, Friend, Girl x2, Gods, Kids, Lady x2, Ma, Man, Monsieur x2, Wife
- Numbers & Ordinals etc : Nothing, One x 2, Three, Trinity, Quartet, Five, 1954, Last x 2
- Occupations & Activities: Airhead, Amateur, Archivist, Bookseller, Carrier, Cleaner, Doctor, Gardener, Gazer, Magician, Sleepwalker, Witch x2
- Real Places: Barnhill, Bexleyheath, Calabria, East West Street, Gloucester Crescent, Graceland, Ochakov
- Weather & Seasons: Cold x 2, Dry, Drought, Rain, Winter x 2