"Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, 'What! You too? I thought I was the only one.'" ~ C. S. Lewis

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016: A Review of a Year in Books

A few years ago, I came across a blog post where someone (I honestly have no idea who it was now, or I would link to it!) had kept track of what they read in Excel and used it to make little graphs to see stats on their reading for the year. I love that kind of stuff, so I bounced off their idea and created my own categories, just for my own curiosity.

I kept it up again this year, and decided to make my own graphs just to visually view the types of reading I had done over the course of 2015.

If you're curious, here they are!
Sort of an unspoken goal for me this year was to read more books by female authors than by male authors. This wasn't really a big goal, since I think a good story is a good story, no matter the gender of the author, but I was pleased to see I succeeded in my goal.
It's also interesting looking at the break down of the main character's gender. Some books (such as books of essays) don't have main characters, so those fall under the n/a and if a book has multiple viewpoints from both male and female perspectives I categorize them under "multiple" but overall it's a fairly balanced pie, with a definite leaning toward female main characters.

For this chart, standard means just the standard type of text format that most books are. Mostly I was curious about the other types of books I was reading.
And then of course, a look at the format in which I read them. I listen to audiobooks in my car, but didn't hit as many this year as I usually do. 13 of those were also from the Series of Unfortunate Events, so that accounts for most of the audiobooks I listened to this year.
 Although many books don't fit into hard and fast age ranges, they do tend to be marketed toward a particular age group. These are based on either where they tend to be sold in a bookstore, or my own perception (especially for the New Adult category).
This is the chart that intrigued me the most. I apologize for the fuzziness - I've tried a couple times, and can't seem to get it to render any more clearly. Anyway, I was shocked to see that I read more contemporary books than anything else this year, but looking back at the last couple of years I can see that, it's not that I read more contemporary (it's pretty equal with the last two years), but that I diversified in my other reading, spreading it out. These categories are also completely subjective to me, so a book I labeled as paranormal, someone else might have labeled fantasy. I just like creating fairly specific categories for myself. I also self-define some of them (such as magical realism, which I attached to books that had magical elements, but were set in a contemporary world).
Just out of curiosity, I like to see what different narrative styles I come across (a lot of non-fiction falls under the n/a category). The thing I found most intriguing this year, was how many books I read that had a mix of narrative styles, such as a book in both 1st and 3rd person.
 I still tend to rate books high, but I don't have a problem with that. I tend to round up (so if I give a book a 3.5, I'll make it a 4 star on GoodReads). But that also means that if I give a book 1 or 2 stars I really REALLY didn't like it.
 And finally, looking at page ranges. I read almost 52,000 words total (at least according to GoodReads and my own calculations), but this breaks it down for me a little more and I can see that I read quite a quantity of books with a fairly low page range. I don't think longer books are better, by any means, but I can see that a 50 page graphic novel will probably take less time to read than a 300 page novel. So it's just interesting to see it play out this way.

I can't say I'm planning on making any specific changes to my reading style based on these numbers, but I do find it really fascinating to look at my reading habits in a more graphic (pun intended) way :)

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