2015 Reading by Numbers

Well it’s been a quiet year on the blog, but a busy one on the reading front! As is traditional, I’ve run some numbers, made some pretty charts and tried to quantify my reading for the year. Look out for my second post (probably tomorrow) on my favourite reads of the year if qualitative is more your thing…

01-totals

I read a grand total of 93 books this year, beating my previous record of 91 books in 2013! I had a quick look comparing total number of pages for the past few years, to see if I genuinely did read more this year and in 2013 than in 2014, or if I just read fewer but longer books in 2014…

02-pages

As the chart shows, going by page numbers I still read significantly less last year than I did this year or in 2013! Interestingly, although I read 2 more books this year than in 2013, in 2013 I read more than 1,200 more pages than this year – so I must have read some significantly longer books in 2013!

03-pages-month

Month by month, the number of pages read each month correlates pretty well with number of books read, as a percentage of the totals. As in previous years I seem to read a lot more in the Autumn months – probably due to my reading the Booker Prize shortlist and trying to fit in other things I want to read at the same time! There was a pretty big dip in July this year, I think that’s because it was such a busy month – my twin got married on 1st August, so July I was mostly busy with first the hen weekend, then helping out with wedding prep!

04-gender

I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to maintain a pretty even split of identified genders in the books I’ve read this year, with a slight favouring (52%) of female-identified authors. I have worked to get to this point – in previous years, despite always assuming I read mostly books by women, in fact I had either a 60-40 or even 70-30 split in favour of male-identified authors! So this is something I’ve continued to bear in mind, to try to redress this balance.

This year, I also tried to keep track of how many books I read were written by people of colour. I haven’t done this in previous years so I can’t track any progress here, so no pretty chart, but looking at my LibraryThing, this year I’ve noted down 7 books I’ve read as being by people of colour (the rest are either by white authors or I didn’t know) – just 7.5% of the total. That seems pretty poor to me, so I’ll try to improve the diversity of what I read over the coming year.

05-sources

I didn’t do so well at the whole “stop spending all your money in bookshops” thing this year… I bought nearly half of the books I read this year! That being said, I did make good use of the library this year – 29% of the books I read this year were library books, as opposed to just 19% last year.

06-year

Probably as a consequence of buying so many books (!!), three-quarters of the books I read this year were ones that I picked up this year, rather than ones that had been languishing on my shelves from previous years! I must work harder to clear my backlog this year…

One of my reading resolutions last year was to finish the year with fewer than 100 books on my to-read (TBR) pile. I’ve utterly failed at this – at time of writing, LibraryThing tells me that I have 129 books in my possession that I have not yet read! That’s even more than this time last year – I managed to end 2014 with just 104 on my TBR list. That means I must have bought, borrowed, been given, or otherwise acquired 118 books this year!! This is getting out of hand…

Let’s be honest though, it’s never going to change. I love reading and I love books. And although I know full well that I’ll never have enough time to read all the books I already have, somehow I convince myself every time I pick up a new book that of course, I’ll have time for this one!

Next up, I’ll be posting some thoughts on what I’ve read this year, and some reading resolutions for 2016.

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2 Comments

  1. Great analysis! I’ve done the exact same thing, in terms of thinking my gender balance was good, and then realising it’s still actually more male authors – the Booker shortlist probably doesn’t help with that! Looking forward to Part 2!

    Reply
    • Thanks for the comment, and sorry it took me so long to get part 2 written!

      I think its important to be aware of things like gender bias, even if you think you’re pretty progressive. It’s so much easier to find books by men – they’re more likely to be reviewed and to be nominated for awards, so get more publicity. It’d actually be really easy to read nothing but books by men, whereas you do actually have to put more effort in to finding books by women! These books are out there, but they don’t tend to get pushed as much, especially if you take a lot of your reading from awards shortlists like I do.

      I’ve really enjoyed seeking out more work by women though – and it’s actually made me realise how limited a lot of the literary-award-winning stuff by white, middle-class men actually is! I think there’s another blog post in that…

      Reply

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