2013 Reading by Numbers

As is becoming an annual tradition, I have totted up the books I read in 2013 and made some pretty charts to illustrate my reading habits. I’ve also listed my 2013 reading highlights at the bottom of the post, so feel free to scroll straight down to there!

2013_totalsMy amount read by year has been steadily increasing, although I’m not really sure why. I read a whopping 91 books this year! Maybe I’m just reading faster in a desperate attempt to keep up with all the many, many books I want to read? My TBR pile is rapidly getting out of control again, I may have to ban myself from buying new books until I’ve got it to a more manageable level!

2013_monthlyI kept track again of how many books I read each month, so I could try and compare to last year and see if I’ve got any usual patterns. Nothing’s really leaping out at me here, except that both this year and last I didn’t read much in August. That surprises me actually, as I’d always thought I read more in the summer!

2013_genderLooks like I still read significantly more male than female authors. Again, that surprises me as I did feel like I’d read more books by women this year! I would like to do something about this, actually, as I don’t think it’s great to have such an imbalance. There’s some fantastic women writers out there, and I don’t want to feel like I’m missing out! I found this article by a person who decided to only read women writers for an entire year, and thought that was pretty inspiring. I don’t think I’ll go quite that far, but I would like to prioritise the female writers on my TBR pile. In fact, I think I’ll make that one of my reading resolutions for 2014!

2013_fictionLooks like my proportion of fiction vs non-fiction read has stayed about the same. I still read far more fiction than non-fiction, and I don’t think that’s likely to change. Although I have read some great non-fiction this year, I do tend to find it more of a chore than fiction! Maybe I’ll try to read a bit more factual stuff this year, but I doubt it to be honest.

2013_sourceI’m pleased to see that my reading this year shouldn’t have made too much of a dent in my bank balance! I only bought half of the books I read, and I think most of those will have been discounted (for example, I only really buy ebooks when they’re on sale, as I resent paying full price for something I don’t really own!). Looks like I used the library a bit less this year than last year (library books made up 29% of my reading material in 2012), not really sure why. I’ll have to try and make that up again in 2014!

2013_acquiredAlthough I didn’t do a Mount TBR challenge again this year, I did try to read at least some of the books I already had on my shelf rather than ones I bought, borrowed or received this year. As you can see above, I didn’t do too well at this! I might have to try a TBR challenge again for 2014, as at the moment my TBR list stands at 116 books, and I’d like to try and make a dent in those before getting more books!

ETA: I just did a quick count of the 116 unread books in my LibraryThing, and the totals from each year are as follows:

  • Added in 2009 – 3 books
  • Added in 2010 – 10 books
  • Added in 2011 – 12 books
  • Added in 2012 – 34 books
  • Added in 2013 – 57 books

So I am slowly working through the older books in my collection! I just need to slow down my rate of acquisition of new books. But new books are so pretty, so tempting… *strokes the books*

2013 Reading Highlights

1. Best Book of 2013: This is always such a hard question to answer – it’s like being asked to choose your favourite child! (Or so I imagine, not actually having any children…) I think it’s a toss-up between The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin, and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. On balance, I think I’ll go with A Monster Calls, just because I found it so incredibly moving, painful and life-affirming all at once.

2. Worst Book of 2013: I haven’t read any really awful books this year, I’m happy to say! There’s been nothing this year that I couldn’t finish, and looking at my LibraryThing ratings I haven’t given anything less than two stars. If I had to pick one, I’d say probably Pirate Cinema by Cory Doctorow. I feel a bit bad naming this here as it really isn’t that bad, just not my cup of tea! I admire Cory Doctorow for his stance on information rights, but his fiction writing just doesn’t grab me.

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2013: Probably The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker. Again, it’s not a bad book, it just didn’t really live up to my expectations – the premise sounded fantastic, but I found the story and characters a little flat.

4. Most Surprising (in a good way) Book of 2013: Where the Bodies are Buried, by Christopher Brookmyre. A few people had said they felt really let down by this book, as it doesn’t have the humour of Brookmyre’s previous books (which I am a huge fan of), but I actually really enjoyed this. It’s a good, solid crime thriller.

5. Book You Recommended the Most to People in 2013: The Hunger Games! I lost count of the number of people I spoke to about the films, and urged to read the books immediately!

6. Favourite New Authors Discovered in 2013: Naomi Klein (can’t believe I’d never read any of her books before!), Alison Bechdel (ditto), Eleanor Catton, John Scalzi, Naomi Alderman

7. Most Hilarious Read of 2013: Definitely How to be a Woman, by Caitlin Moran – had me crying with laughter on the train!

8. Most Thrilling Unputdownable Read of 2013: A Storm of Swords (parts 1 and 2) by George RR Martin. One of those books that makes you resent having to do things like go to work, eat, sleep, etc when you could be reading instead.

9. Favourite Cover of a Book You Read in 2013: More than This, by Patrick Ness. I like the stark graphic, it works well with the book’s subject matter (without wanting to give too much away!)

11. Most Memorable Character of 2013: Don Tilman, from The Rosie Project

12. Most Beautifully Written Book of 2013: Tough choice, but probably The Testament of Mary

13. Book That Had the Greatest Impact on You in 2013: The Shock Doctrine, by Naomi Klein. Made me so incredibly angry when I was reading it. Also made me want to run up to random strangers on the street, thrust the book at them and yell: “Have you read this? Read it immediately! And give it to all of your friends to read too! And then REVOLUTION!” For some reason, I did not actually do this.

14. Book You Can’t Believe You Waited Until 2013 to Read: I’m going to cheat and pick two here: The Shock Doctrine (see above), and Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home.

2014 Reading Resolutions

I have three reading resolutions for the coming year…

1. Read more books by women

2. Finish 2014 with fewer books on my TBR pile than at the start of the year

3. Write more reviews and blog more book-related stuff – I’ve managed a pitiful 12 blog posts this year! If I commit to two blog posts per month, I can easily double that for 2014.

Anyone else have any reading resolutions for 2014? What were your reading highlights of 2013? If there’s anything I really MUST read in 2014 then leave a comment and let me know below!

Leave a comment


  1. This is excellent! Not only have you put my 42 books to shame, but now I’m wondering why I have never incorporated a pie-chart into my annual book list!!


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