If 2020 was good for anything — besides, y’know, moving in with my girlfriend, getting engaged, and being named Young Bookseller of the Year — it was reading. And this year I totalled 165 books, which is 18 more than last year, but not as many as my best year in 2018 when I read 166. I know, right? A couple more graphic novels or short story collections and we’d be celebrating a monumental year. Sorry, folks. We almost made history.Continue reading
This year I managed to read 147 books, which is 19 less than in 2018, which is a lot, but then, 2019 has been a much better year for me personally, so it’s hard to complain. I’ve already posted about my favourite books of the year, but as I’ve been doing since 2016, this year I tracked my reading by a variety of categories, the results of which are below.
This year I reached as close to gender parity as I ever have before, and I hope to continue closing the gap. In fact, I’d love an even split in 2020. I read far less crime than last year, but it’s still the genre I read most. And my reading continues to be dominated by American authors; I’d love to read more nationalities, and that’ll be another mission next year. Interestingly and unintentionally I listened to far fewer audio books. And despite the avalanche of proofs several publishers supply me, I actually buy most of the books I read.
This year I managed to read 166 books, which is 25 more than 2017, and 24 more than in 2016. Each year I aim to read at least 100 books across a variety of genres — and with my propensity for genre novels, it’s a manageable target.
Now, you might be wondering — what exactly do I classify as a book in my trusty, never-leave-home-without spreadsheet? Because everybody has their own rules. Some readers, for example, might include children’s picture books in their tally; I don’t. But I do include graphic novels, collected editions of comic books, and volumes of manga (the latter of which I’ve actually not read this year, but y’know, if I had read manga, it’d be included).
Let’s break it down.
Well, here we are, the last day of the year, which means it’s time to tinker with my super-cool and in no way nerdy Excel spreadsheet and reveal my Year In Reading.
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!