Friday, January 9, 2015

Renee's Reading: What I Read in 2014

In the spirit of catching up with the whole 2014-in-review thing, I figured I'd get my annual reading review out of the way this week too. Because I know all you bots out there are just crazy for long posts about numbers relevant to pretty much no one but me.

The Idea Salesman is going to take this blog away from me someday. Especially since I apparently deleted his Monday post instead of publishing it.

(Yeah, that's on the docket for me to rewrite later today. Did you know I sold something recently? If not, don't worry. The Idea Salesman will be shouting it at you in all caps later.)

Anyway, back to the point. I've pulled together the list of everything I read in 2014 in a big spreadsheet and analyzed it approximately six hundred different ways. Here's the resulting data:

Total Books Read: 166
My goal for 2014 was to read 200 books, so I didn't quite get there. :-( I still averaged 3 books a week though, which is very nice.

Breakdown by Month:
January: 22 (13%)
February: 20 (12%)
March: 20 (12%)
April: 6 (4%)
May: 14 (8%)
June: 4 (2%)
July: 17 (10%)
August: 19 (11%)
September: 9 (5%)
October: 14 (8%)
November: 12 (7%)
December: 9 (5%)
This is a very different trend for me than I've seen in past years. But I can't really say I'm surprised. I had a pretty atypical year in terms of life stuff and that bled over into pretty much every aspect of my life, reading habits included.

Breakdown by Source:
Books Bought: 148 (89%)
Books Borrowed: 18 (11%)
Oh dear. That's a lot of book buying. But I didn't go over budget at all, because most of the books I "bought" were free. I can set the blame for this imbalance square in front of a little newsletter I get every day from BookBub. Free books! Free books that don't go away after three weeks like the library books do! Huzzah!

Rereads: 6 (4%)
Another year of mostly reading new-to-me books rather than rereads. I'm liking this trend.

Breakdown by Rating (1-5 Stars):
0 Stars: 0 (0%)
1 Star: 0 (0%)
2 Stars: 5 (3%)
3 Stars: 34 (20%)
4 Stars: 70 (42%)
5 Stars: 57 (34%)
Average Rating: 4.08
I'm generally quite happy with my reading choices lately. Which is great. Because if I'm going to be reading 3 books a week, I should be liking the darn things.

Breakdown by Publication Year:
Before 2000: 13 (8%)
2000-2009: 21 (13%)
2010-2013: 60 (36%)
2014: 72 (43%)
I set a deliberate goal to concentrate on new releases this year so I could keep the current market in my focus. I think I met that one handily.

Breakdowns by Genre:
Erotica: 12 (7%)
General Fiction: 5 (3%)
Mystery: 6 (4%)
     Contemporary: 3 (2%)
     Paranormal: 3 (2%)
Nonfiction: 4 (2%)
     Humor: 1 (1%)
     Writing/Editing/Publishing: 3 (2%)
Romance: 99 (60%)
     Contemporary: 32 (19%)
     Historical: 60 (36%)
     Paranormal: 7 (4%)
SF/F: 40 (24%)
     Science Fiction: 8 (5%)
     Urban Fantasy: 31 (19%)
     Victorian/Gaslight/Steampunk: 1 (1%)
I've gotten away from reading in my chosen genre of SF/F this year. I don't have much of an excuse beyond I was feeling crappy or recovering from feeling crappy (which, really, is just more feeling crappy) for a very large chunk of the year and I read romance when I feel crappy because it makes me feel better. Plus, I've hit on a bunch of romance authors whose work I really love in the last few years and I've been buying up everything of theirs that I can get my hands on. Which is lovely and all, but I'm going to need to consciously turn my attention back to SF/F in the future, lest I slide completely out of touch with the genre I actually write in. On the plus side, I did set goals of reading more science fiction and nonfiction this year, which I did, though not by much in either category. Still, progress is progress.

Breakdown by Age Range:
Adult: 159 (96%)
Young Adult: 7 (4%)
This is a goal I totally failed at. I wanted to read more Young Adult this year and I ended up reading less. Bad Renee. No cookie. Better luck next year. As a housekeeping note, anything that's classified as New Adult is lumped into my Adult numbers because I didn't track that as an independent category this year. I will be tracking it separately going forward though.

Breakdown by Format:
Kindle: 156 (94%)
ePub: 8 (5%)
Paperback: 2 (1%)
I am Amazon's minion. I'm coming to terms with it. Those two paperbacks I only read in that format because I got them for free at a conference. I still have three more sitting next to my desk collecting dust because reading paperbacks just isn't my thing anymore. Otherwise, this would have been another digital only year. And my percentage of ePub is steadily decreasing. I only read in that format now if I absolutely can't read whatever I'm looking for through my Kindle app. I'm a Kindle user and that doesn't look like it's going to change any time soon. I had given some serious consideration to switching away from Amazon and Kindle earlier this year in light of the whole Hachette debacle, but I couldn't find another ebook seller that offered me the same quality of user experience for the price. And I just don't have the luxury of not considering price as a major factor at the moment. Maybe when I'm a super huge international bestseller with a whole string of blockbuster movie adaptations and spin off merchandising that dominates every kid's Christmas list and I've won the lottery several times in a row... ;-)

Part of a Series: 157 (95%)
Yup. Like pretty much everyone right now, I'm big on series reading. I find new ones and work my way though the whole thing (or as much as I can before I lose interest) usually within a week or two. And then I wait for the next book to release. And wait. And wait some more. Stupid books, making the authors write them instead of just springing to the market fully formed and perfect right when I want them.

Author Analysis:
Number of Authors: 56
New-to-Me Authors: 29 (52%)
Male Authors: 12 (21%)
Female Authors: 50 (89%)
I'm continuing to do a good job reading new authors. I managed to find even more this year than last year. Go me! In terms of the battle of the sexes angle, I've discovered once again I have an imbalanced scorecard, but in the opposite direction than people usually complain about. Does this mean I'm winning? I suspect it means I probably ought to focus next year on reading more male authors, though obviously not at the expense of the female authors I already read.

I also had an idea in my head that I was going to try to read all the #1 New York Times Bestsellers in Combined Fiction, Combined Nonfiction, Young Adult, and Children's Series for 2014. Yeah, that didn't pan out. I couldn't even bring myself to fully analyze this section of the spreadsheet, my fail was so epic. Of all of the books that ended up on this list, I read 9. I just couldn't get interested in most of the titles.

I'm going to set a lower goal for next year of only 100 books. It used to be that I wasn't reading enough. Now I think I'm probably reading a little bit too much. I have too little time and I need to be a bit more selective. I am still going to focus on seeking out new-to-me authors, new releases, and keeping current with my favorite genres as well as delving into those I'm less familiar with. I guess I'll probably also try to balance out my YA/NA/A and M/F ratios. Plus there's a lot of talk right now about focusing on reading books with diverse characters and by diverse authors. I should keep tabs on that too.

Alright, fine, lots of goals. I'll stop now before the spreadsheet gets too far out of hand.

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