This year I tracked the books I read by a variety of categories in an attempt to ascertain my reading habits. I didn’t participate in any sort of reading challenge; just read what I wanted, which was a lot (maybe not for any voracious book bloggers reading this, but for the normal person on the street, a considerable amount, I think): 142 books in total.
I always start the year with a target of approximately 75-100 books, knowing this could fluctuate depending on the number of graphic novels / collected comic editions I read. I’m also totally cognisant of the fact — though not apologetic of it — that I read predominantly commercial fiction, which I can generally breeze through in a couple of days, or one long reading session if I’m gripped. That’s why I don’t really think there’s any point in comparing my total number of books read with other people. Besides which, it’s not about the number of books you consumed, just that you read and enjoyed something. And this year had some great reads: check out my Top 5 Books of 2016.
So, here’s what I learned about my reading habits this year:
Yikes, right? I knew my reading was dominated by men — every year I read the latest offerings by Lee Child, Michael Connelly, Ian Rankin, etc — but I never knew my reading was quite this skewed. I was actually a little surprised, given that 3 of the books on my Top 5 Books of 2016 were written by women. It shows that I need to make a conscious effort to read more books by female authors. So that’ll be one of my mission statements for 2017, which shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish if I flit equally between both genders. It’s not asking much of myself.
No real surprises, here. Again, most of the long-running series I read are by Americans. I’d like to make more of an effort to read local authors next year, though. I thought I had done so this year, but it’s not really reflected in the stats. Another goal for next year…
No real surprises that my reading is dominated by thrillers and crime fiction. I read far less YA and children’s books this year because I spent far less time in the children’s shop, and am less naturally inclined to pick up the new Tom Gates or Wimpy Kid. One weakness I need to rectify is my overall lack of non-fiction reading. And I absolutely do need to read more literary fiction.
2016 was the year of the audiobook. I’ve started listening to them at the gym and when I go running (unless it has been a particularly exhausting day, in which case I need some beats to get me through the 10km). I generally listen to thrillers or crime novels; nothing too character-focused or nuanced, in case I’m momentarily distracted and lose track.
As a bookseller, I’m lucky enough to receive tons of review copies and proofs, but there’s plenty I don’t get, and as such, I read more books I’ve purchased than books I got for free this year. I’m always annoyed when bloggers groan about how they didn’t receive a copy of a book they wanted to review from a publisher; as though they’re obliged a free copy, and because they haven’t, can’t possibly drop the $32.99 for a copy. Happens to me all the time, and I’m supposedly on the frontline, interfacing with customers. When I’m forced to buy a book, I try not to complain about it: I think of the positives. The money’s going back into the bookshop, and at some finite level, the author of the work is benefiting from my dollars. Of course, I wouldn’t say no to publishers providing more review copies…!
Let’s see what 2017 brings!