Did you know that Goodreads now shows you your year in books?
It’s a pretty cool feature, and according to their metrics:
- I read 7,693 pages
- Read 35 of my 60 book goal
- Had a 4.2 average rating
- My longest book was Outlander at 896 pages
But, since I’m actually putting forth a serious effort to read better this year, I wanted to see how the books I read ranged in diversity of genre, characters, and creators. To make things a little easier I didn’t count single-issue comics, even those that were marked on Goodreads. According to my numbers:
- I read 31 books total
- Read 6,608 pages and listed to 30 hours and 15 minutes of audio
- My shortest book was Chicken with Plums at 84 pages
- Average book length was 228 pages
- 204 when Outlander the outlier is removed
Just for fun, here are a the different genres I read this year.
I tried to stay as general as possible with the categories, and included some (like comics and YA) that aren’t genres, but rather categories that are still worth measuring. There’s also a lot of overlap across books for novels that cover several genres. (Outlander, for example, got counted as scifi, fantasy, and romance.)
What I learned: I read significantly more comics this year than in years prior, and went on a huge scifi kick near the end of the year. Also that I probably need to read more nonfiction that isn’t in graphic format.
Speaking of format, I also learned that I spent a ton of time reading digitally this year, more so than ever before. This might have something to do with my new Scribd account and my old Kindle I found while moving. I am determined not to let either of these go to waste.
But I’m still a lover of paperbacks, my go-to format when I need to feel a book in my hands. I think all of those hardcovers were actually borrowed from the library, a resource I aim to use more this year (I only rented 7 last year).
I should also probably revisit some more traditional literature, since almost all the books I read this year were less than 5 years old, and the oldest original publication date was 1986.
As for other publication details, I was surprised to see that I actually read a pretty wide spread of publishers last year.
Of course, when accounting for imprints and subsidiaries, the real spread looks a little more like this:
It’s still better than I thought it would be, which is probably due to the fact that the comics industry is slightly more varied than traditional book publishing. But I did discover some new indie publishers last year: Skyhorse is the independent owner of scifi imprint Night Shade Books, and Bleeding Heart Publications is a relatively new publisher based in Southeast Asia.
As for the books themselves, here’s a breakdown of the authors I spent the most time with last year.
What this chart doesn’t include is the two Neil Gaiman audiobooks that kept me company on the drive to and from Boston in May, which together accounted for 30 hours and 15 minutes.
Of the authors I read last year, most were white men. This isn’t really that surprising, though I thought I did a bit better at selecting books and writers that fell outside the straight white male majority.
Unfortunately, I didn’t read any books by trans, nonbinary, or genderqueer writers, and only two of the books I read were written or illustrated by creators who identify as queer in any form.
Character representation fared a bit better, though I didn’t distinguish between representation among main characters compared to representation among background characters. This means that a majority of main characters I read about this year were still straight and white.
About these charts:
There were two books I read that did not contain characters: a book of infographics and a collection of blackout poetry. That’s where the n/a comes in.
For character gender: Misc. means that the book followed an ensemble cast made up of many main characters of many genders.
For LGBTQ and POC: I only marked yes for those books that explicitly stated a character’s race or sexual orientation. Where not stated, I marked a no, simply because it’s due to interpretation.
I didn’t actively try to complete any kind of reading challenge last year, but I did try to be more conscious in my reading choices. It may look like it didn’t make that much of a difference, but it’s better than where I was a couple years ago. I hope to collect data like this in the future so I can better track my progress and understand my own reading habits. But ultimately, the goal is this: read widely to increase understanding of experience, and therefore understanding of each other. Plus it’s always nice to support independent writers and publishers who don’t always make it in the spotlight.
How was your reading year?