2012 Reading by Numbers

As with last year, I’ve been recording all my reading in LibraryThing. Here’s some of the data I’ve collected on my reading habits, in handy chart form. If you’re not interested in my pretty charts (sob…) then head down to the end of the post for my list of 2012’s reading highlights.

Number of books read


I read 80 books this year, significantly up on my 2010 and 2011 totals! Not sure why it’s so much higher to be honest – maybe I just read shorter books?? Sadly I didn’t think to keep track of the lengths of the books I was reading, so that’s just a guess…

Books read by month


I thought it’d be interesting to see how my reading fluctuated throughout the year. I can’t really think of anything that would explain the whole pattern there! I know the dip in May/June is because that’s when my sister passed away, and I really struggled to concentrate on anything so didn’t read much. The dip in August I think is because I was on holiday with my family then, so spending more time being sociable than reading! Besides that, the other peaks and troughs are a mystery to me.

Male vs female authors


Proportionally, the amount of books by female authors vs those by male authors hasn’t really changed – I’m still reading more male than female authors. That doesn’t surprise me: I don’t consciously notice the gender of authors when browsing, but I suspect that more men than women are published over all, so I would expect that most readers would see a similar balance.

Fiction vs non-fiction


Again, not a surprise! I read a few more non-fiction books this year, but still not nearly as many as fiction. I have read some good non-fiction this year, but the fact remains that it just doesn’t grab me like fiction does!

Sources of books


Once again, am happy to see that I’ve actually not spent that much on my reading – this year, three-quarters of everything I read came from free sources!

Mount TBR Challenge

Last year, I set myself the challenge of reading 40 books from my TBR pile by the end of this year. As part of the challenge, I was also supposed to not buy new books for the whole year. That part…didn’t really work out! I just can’t help it, I love buying books! Still, most of them were from charity shops etc, so I’m not going to feel too guilty about that.

I almost completed the challenge: I managed to read 35 books from my Mount TBR. Not bad, only 5 off my target! I thought I’d have a quick look at the books I read in 2012 against what year I first got them. Given that I was supposed to be only reading books acquired prior to January 2012, I don’t think I did that well…


Ah well. I don’t think I’ll be doing any more reading challenges in 2013 (apart from my annual read of the Booker shortlist) – I found it took some of the fun out of reading, feeling like I “had” to be reading certain books. I’m glad to have made a bit of a dent in my TBR pile anyway – Now I can start building it back up again! 😉

2012 Reading Highlights

1. Best Book of 2012: Always a tough one… I’m gonna go with Bring up the Bodies

2. Worst Book of 2012: Atomised. Hated hated HATED it!

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2012: That’s tough, I don’t really feel disappointed by anything I’ve read this year. There’s been a few I haven’t enjoyed, but they were ones I didn’t have high hopes of to start with, so I don’t know if “disappointed” is the right word to use! I guess Umbrella, as I do expect a Booker prize shortlisted novel to at least be readable, but I couldn’t get more than 30 pages into this!

4. Most Surprising (in a good way) Book of 2012: Dreams from my Father. Really didn’t expect a politician’s autobiography to be so honest, and moving.

5. Book You Recommended the Most to People in 2012: The Knife of Never Letting Go

6. Favourite New Authors Discovered in 2012: Chris Nickson (great books, and he’s a lovely chap too! He’s on Twitter), Deborah Levy, Madeline Miller

7. Most Hilarious Read of 2012: Good Omens, which I re-read in preparation for World Book Night 🙂

8. Most Thrilling Unputdownable Read of 2012: The Knife of Never Letting Go. Read it in one sitting!

9. Favourite Cover of a Book You Read in 2012: Dark Matter. Perfectly captures the spirit of the book

11. Most Memorable Character of 2012: Kitty Finch, from Swimming Home

12. Most Beautifully Written Book of 2012: This is a toss-up between Swimming Home and Song of Achilles – totally different books, but equally beautifully written in their own ways!

13. Book That Had the Greatest Impact on You in 2012: The Wisdom of Whores – totally changed my understanding of AIDS as a public health issue. I really can’t recommend it highly enough.

14. Book You Can’t Believe You Waited Until 2012 to Read: The Dispossessed – this was a close contender for the “greatest impact” question above, actually! Had never read any Ursula Le Guin until last year actually, now it’s a bit of a “where have you been all my life!!” kind of situation!

Well, I hope that was at least slightly interesting to anyone other than myself! Happy new year all, and happy reading 🙂

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