Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Reading in 2013

You probably don't know this, but I'm on Goodreads. Sort of. I don't do reviews or discussions on there or anything. I just use it keep track of what books I read. I know there's a whole social media aspect to Goodreads, but I'm just not that involved in it.

But feel free to be my friend on Goodreads. Now that I have totally undersold it.

I think I may know why I have no friends on Goodreads...

(The Idea Salesman will be so disappointed when he sees this post.)

The thing I really used Goodreads for is to track my reading habits. Every January I download my book list from the previous year and analyze it to death looking for trends. Because I like books and I like spreadsheets and manipulating a spreadsheet about books is my idea of a good way to spend a day.

Newsflash: I am a nerd.

I was ridiculously busy moving house this time last year, so I didn't get a chance to put together a blog post of my findings. (Notice I didn't say I didn't have any findings. It takes more than a little thing like moving halfway across the country to stop me from extremely nerdy procrastination detailed analysis.)

But never fear! This year I managed to not only analyze, but also put together this charming little summary of my results, which I know you're all just desperate to see. So, without further ado, here's some stuff I discovered about my reading in 2013:

Total Books Read: 191
My goal for 2013 was 150, so I more than met that one. :-)

Breakdown by Month:
January: 4 (2%)
February: 17 (9%)
March: 18 (9%)
April: 11 (6%)
May: 18 (9%)
June: 16 (8%)
July: 17 (9%)
August: 21 (11%)
September: 21 (11%)
October: 18 (9%)
November: 14 (7%)
December: 16 (8%)
I've noticed this same kind of spread over the past couple of years. Apparently I read a lot in the summer and early fall. I've also noticed that if you match it up against my writing habits, I write a lot more in the late fall and the spring. Winter is apparently just a dead zone for the bookish side of my brain. Snow is very distracting?

Breakdown by Source:
Books Bought: 86 (45%)
Books Borrowed: 105 (55%)
I think this is the first year I've ever used the library more than the bookstore. I think there are a number of factors involved here. For one thing, I'm reading more than ever and if I was still buying all my books, we'd have a hard time putting together rent money. Also, the digital inventory available from libraries is growing all the time. It's gotten to the point where I can almost always find something from my TBR to check out. And I'm spending less time in the physical bookstore than I used to. I used to take at least one evening a week out of the house to hang out at Barnes & Noble and read and write and browse. My schedule has changed and now my "me time" is in the early mornings, when B&N isn't open.

Rereads: 7 (4%)
I used to read every book at least twice. Once to plow through the story, and then again (generally right away) to really take it in. I've gotten better at paying attention to the first read, though, so I've gotten out of the habit of automatically rereading everything. Now the only books I reread are ones that really intrigue me, ones that I am trying to recall something specific about, or, occasionally, ones that I just get a little nostalgic for. For example, this year 5 of the 7 rereads were the Dante Valentine series by Lilith Saintcrow, which I couldn't resist revisiting after she started putting Selene (a prequel spin off--sort of--to the series) up as serial blog posts.

Breakdown by Rating (1-5 Stars):
0 Stars: 2 (1%)
1 Star: 3 (2%)
2 Stars: 9 (5%)
3 Stars: 73 (38%)
4 Stars: 36 (19%)
5 Stars: 68 (36%)
Average Rating: 3.79
Goodreads Average Rating: 4.01
In general it looks like I'm pretty satisfied with the books I read. I'm getting better at sorting out good recommendations from bad ones, I think, and I'm also getting better at controlling the compulsion to keep reading a series to the end even if I'm really not liking it. I also let go of a lot of my stupid notions about what I should and shouldn't like to read, which has helped immensely. Oh, and apparently I'm a slightly harsher grader than the overall Goodreads community.

Breakdown by Publication Year:
Before 2000: 18 (9%)
2000-2004: 16 (8%)
2005-2009: 33 (17%)
2010-2012: 69 (36%)
2013: 55 (29%)
Every year Goodreads asks me to pick my favorite books of the year in various categories and most of the time I've never heard of most of the books on the list. I made an effort to change that this year and try to read at least a few new releases every month. I still hadn't heard of most of the books that were nominated, because my reading ended up concentrating in a few key genres, but within those genres I had actually read quite a few of the books that came up. Which turned out to kind of suck a little, because then I sat there dithering over which one I liked more...

Speaking of genres...
Breakdowns by Genre:
Erotica: 10 (5%)
     Contemporary: 9 (5%)
     Historical: 1 (1%)
Mystery: 2 (1%)
     Contemporary: 1 (1%)
     Paranormal: 1 (1%)
Nonfiction: 3 (2%)
     Comedy: 1 (1%)
     Writing/Editing/Publishing: 2 (1%)
Romance: 93 (49%)
     Contemporary: 46 (24%)
     Historical: 37 (19%)
     Paranormal: 10 (5%)
SF/F: 83 (43%)
     High/Traditional Fantasy: 14 (7%)
     Science Fiction: 1 (1%)
     Urban Fantasy: 66 (35%)
     Victorian/Gaslight/Steampunk: 2 (1%)
Science fiction/fantasy takes the #2 spot again this year, which comes as a little bit of a surprise, since it's my genre of choice. But, while I'd read an urban fantasy novel every day of the week if I could, the fact of the matter is I've read my way through most of what the library has and I can only afford to buy so many books. Romance is becoming my go-to genre for pleasure reading. I like romance novels and there are probably billions of them out there. I'm also learning quite a bit about how to structure internal conflict in a novel, which is pretty much the whole deal in a romance novel and something I've never been very good at myself. But there's a whole other blog post there...

Breakdown by Age Range:
Adult: 177 (93%)
Young Adult: 14 (7%)
I wish I was reading more Young Adult. I made a good effort in 2012, but it wasn't a focus this year and so my YA reading fell off quite a bit.

Breakdown by Format:
Kindle: 143 (75%)
ePub: 47 (25%)
Other: 1 (1%)
I think this is the first time I've ever gone an entire year reading absolutely everything digitally. (That one listed under "other" was an online serial.) Since I had my kids it's just so much easier to read on my phone than to try to keep paperbacks out of curious drool-covered toddler hands. It also fits well with my schedule, since my free time is typically early in the morning and late at night, when the physical bookstores and libraries are closed. The interwebs are always open!

Part of a Series: 185 (97%)
<i>Apparently I like series.</i>

Number of Authors: 45
New Authors to Me: 23 (51%)
I've been working really hard over the past few years to read more by authors I've never read before. I don't want my taste to get stagnant, I guess. My efforts on this goal continue to go pretty well, with more than half of the authors I read this year being new for me. And I've already got a list going of authors to introduce my imagination to in 2014.

My goal for 2014 is to read 200 books. As I said above, I'd like to continue adding a bunch of new authors to my list, and I'd like to get back to reading more Young Adult. Also, I want to read more science fiction. I read a great scifi novel the other day (Fortune's Pawn, by Rachel Bach) and it made me realize that I'm missing the sf chunk of sf/f. At the same time, I also think I'd like to try to get out of my regular genres more often and get back to reading from all over the store, so to speak.

What about you? What did you read in 2013? What would you like to read in 2014?

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