Hello everyone! It’s been so long- over 6 months!!! Apologies for the impromptu, unannounced hiatus: coursework kind of took over my life, I wasn’t really reading, and I didn’t really have time to blog. Now, though, most of my coursework is finished and I only have exams left, so I can resume regularly schedule, and hopefully improved, programming! Starting with wrapping up and updating you on the little reading I did manage to do in 2019.
Today, I will be running through some stats (which I love) and later (probably later today, because I’m trying to get these wrap up posts out quickly so we can move onto looking at the future) I will tell you all about my favourite books as well!
Without further ado, here we go!
So my reading goal this year was to read 30 books, which isn’t that many but 2018 and 2019 have been very off reading years, so I set my goal pretty low. I also managed to achieve my goal (just), which is very exciting!
I know people have mixed feelings about statistics, but apart from giving me an excuse to learn new things about how to use Excel (learnt how to use =COUNTIF this year which was exciting), I also think they give an interesting insight into my reading year!
So, firstly lets have a look at how long my books were!
Considering I did read 30 books, I didn’t read very many pages at all! This is reflected in my average length: 174 pages! I read a couple of picture books, a fair bit of manga and some plays, all of which probably brought down this average.
As you can see in the graph, I did read a couple of longer books, but most of the books I read were in the 120-150 range and then I read quite a below that as well! I’m not too upset about this, but it does mean that I definitely haven’t been focusing on my reading if I only managed 30 books when they were so short (but I already knew that, so nothing new here)!
Next, let’s check out when the books were published!
A lot of people try to read diverse books in terms of representation of different people, but I have been trying to read books from a diverse range of time periods and countries, so this statistic is a bit more important to me than the one about page count. What I am happy to see is that there is quite a good spread! I read quite a few books published before the 1990s, which I’m happy about as I have tended to do pretty badly on that front in previous years. I did read more books than I expected from 2019 as I really didn’t keep up with new releases, but I think 3 of them were picture books I happened to pick up at work when it was quiet (I work in a bookshop, if you didn’t know), and at least one other was a book I got for review.
I already mentioned that apart from publication year, author nationality is one of the stats I am most interested in. I think a lot of us read mostly US authors, with some UK authors as well (perhaps those of us based in the UK more than others because those publications are more available to us), and I wanted to make a concerted effort to read books from people of other countries. A lot of people try to read books by people of colour etc. because: representation (which I totally support), but I wanted to look at representation of different cultures from around the world. You can learn so much by reading from another cultural perspective!
So like I expected, most of the books I read came from the US or the UK (13 total). However, surprisingly the single country from which I read the most books was Japan! I’ve been really interested in Japanese fiction recently, but that has mostly resulted in me buying a lot of books and not yet reading them, so I don’t think that really explains this statistic, nor does the fact that I went to Japan. What really explains it is the fact that I read quite a bit of manga, because they are quick and easy to read! I also read one book each from Germany, Denmark, Kenya, Canada and Switzerland. It’s nice to see a little bit of African literature and some other European literature seeping in, but I think we can do better!
Now let’s take a look at genre.
At first I was quite surprised by this! I only read 2 non-fiction books, but it felt like a lot more. I certainly bought a lot more and got very interested in reading the genre through a combination of working in the non-fiction section at work, and doing research for some papers I was writing over the summer. Then I realised that whilst writing those papers I was just skimming through books to find relevant pages, so none of them were actually read, which would explain why I read so much more fiction than non-fiction in 2019, continuing the trend of previous years before I became more interested in non-fiction.
So, like I mentioned: I read a lot of Graphic Novels/Comics/Manga this year- they made up over 1/3 of my total reading. Apart from that, my biggest section was actually plays, probably because I had to read a lot of them for my English Lit. class. However, I also read quite a few classics this year. Although this graph only shows 10% classics, most of the plays I read were also classics, so it is probably more along the lines of almost 1/3 of my reading being classics! This never happens, and whilst it is exciting, is probably more of reflection of how little I read outside of my academic requirements this year. This is also reflected in how little Fantasy I read, as well as General Fiction (incl. contemporary, literary fiction etc.). One thing I did improve this year was reading less romance books, which I am happy about as I tend to find those books mediocre!
Penultimate stat!!!! We’re almost there. I try to read a books from a variety of demographics, and I also think it is interesting to see how my reading shifts as I get older (I turned 18 in December guys… that counts as getting old… right? Haha, just kidding, but anyway.)
So, it is pretty clear to see that most of my reading (in fact, slightly over 50%) was adult books this year! This was again likely highly influenced by the amount of reading I did for my English and German classes. The 3 children books are thanks to the picture books I read at work that one time, and I think most of the teen and New Adult and half of the YA comes from Manga, which I didn’t really know how to place, but did my best.
And now, perhaps the most clear indication of how good my reading year was! Although things like diversity and how much I read are important, I think the MOST important indicator of how my reading went was how much I liked what I read! That’s right, todays final statistic is going to be RATINGS.
So, I added a little look at how popular the books I read were: looks like I read some more obscure books this year (I mean only 7 people marked Stories as read!!!)
As for the actual point of this section…. 3.5 is a pretty average rating for me, I would say! I do try and be fairly critical about my books, but equally I don’t rate books that I DNF, so any books I give 2 stars I probably only finished for a class, and I don’t really have 1 star books because I just don’t finish them and therefore don’t rate them.
Fairly predictably, and potentially due to the number of manga, picture books and graphic novels I read (which struggle to get higher than 3 stars), almost 50% of my ratings this year were 3 stars. 4 were 2 stars, including a couple of books I had to read for school. I don’t like doing ‘least favourite books’ posts, but just to be controversial: one of them was Othello, and I actually gave it 1 star until we discussed it in my English class, which made me appreciate it enough to bump it up to 2 stars (I know, so much right?) On a more positive notes, I also gave 4 books 5 stars and found some new favourites this year!
And that’s all! Thank you for reading despite my EXTENDED absence and I hope you stick with me as I regrow this blog! In the meantime…. here are some questions for you (please leave me a comment with your answers and we can discuss all things bookish!):
- Would you be interested in participating in a kind of international reading challenge if hosted one?
- Do you tend to rate books more leniently or more harshly?
Also feel free to share some observations or stats about your own reading in 2019 either by leaving a comment below or sending me a link to your own blog post, and I’ll be sure to check them out!