I don’t know how to do anything complicated with statistics, but I have a warm spot in my heart for doing light statistical analyses of my hobbies, mostly because I think the charts look cool. Yet while I’ve been pretty constant about talking about my knitting/crochet stats for a few years now, it looks like I haven’t talked about my reading stats since 2014. I kept the statistics (I love a good reading spreadsheet or database), but my annual reading post has moved to being more about the memorable reads of the year rather than the numbers behind them.
I’m at home for the duration and need a break from my knitting. Therefore, you’re getting a stats post. 😈
Many people create reading spreadsheets and share them. The one I use is a moderately customized version of one that Book Riot offered a couple of years ago. (Here’s an article and link to their 2020 version.) This isn’t the same thing as a catalog of my library: it only covers the books I’ve read in a calendar year. I’ve been cataloging my books since childhood, but I only started looking at my reading stats in 2008 when I joined Goodreads. At first, all I counted was how many books I read in a year. By the early 2010’s, I was seeing more discussion about how people were reading more books by male authors than female ones, and curious, I tracked that for a year. (Year after year, I read more books by women than by men, without even trying.) The whole reading stats thing just grew from that point on.
I finished reading 78 books in 2019 and gave up on another 9.
Between fantasy, science fiction, and science fantasy (the last of those a genre I’d never tracked before, but I needed it for The Philosopher Kings, Gideon the Ninth, and The Book of the Ancestor series), speculative fiction is the core of my reading preferences, with the awkwardly-named body-mind-spirit genre close behind as my favorite nonfiction genre. At the other end of the spectrum, I’ll have you know that that one horror novel was The Haunting of Hill House, and it’s only there because my book group read it.
I deliberately tried to reread more books this year—I keep so many books, telling myself I’ll reread them someday, I figured I’d better get started!
When I was a kid, I couldn’t understand why my dad would read nonfiction books. There was no story! Why wasn’t he bored silly by them? 😆
No, no audiobooks. I’m surprised there weren’t more digital books.
The occasional novella or tome is good, but generally, I seem to like the Mama Bear size of books: neither too long nor too short.
I read three books of poetry last year: wow!
Apparently I was quite the grown-up in my reading.
Oh look, I still read more books by women than by men. I’m pretty sure women write the majority of body-mind-spirit books. They also write a lot of the fantasy novels, although I’m not sure how the numbers compare with men in that genre. Of course, often what categories an author falls in are guesswork on my part. For instance, unless it’s spelled out in the about-the-author paragraph, I won’t know if an author is queer.
So, what were the protagonists of the fiction works like?
The main characters
I’m only counting main characters here, usually the ones who are POV characters or at least significantly direct the story. YA novels, for instance, often have parental figures who are older, but who are off on the sidelines somewhere while the teenagers do the interesting stuff. “Older,” here, means 35 and up or the equivalent for nonhuman characters, and sometimes I had to guess about that. No, I don’t consider people in their late thirties to be middle-aged, much less elderly. But I read fiction in genres that really focus on teenagers and 20-somethings, and even consciously looking for books with older main characters, I’m not having a lot of luck.
You will probably not be surprised to learn that I’m keeping a spreadsheet for my 2020 reading. I’ve tweaked it a bit: added a category, recalculated other categories…that sort of thing. I’ve listened to a few audiobooks this year: that chart will be more colorful. Alas, my actual reading has gone down because of the pandemic: I did a lot of my reading during the commute to work, and that’s not happening now. We’ll see how it goes.