Reading in Bed Year in Review #4: Best Books and Blog Stats

I love statistics. You’re probably sick of them by now, what with the many end-of-year blog posts, but I love how they’re both meaningless and mean everything; how “numbers don’t lie” but they can tell whatever story we want them to tell. Here are the numbers that made up my year of reading.

…but first, a public service announcement: Goodreads has a sweet stats thiny that shows you how many books you’ve read, how many pages you’ve read, how you rated your books, and more! Go to “My Books,” then “stats” which is on the left side in tiny font, then click “details.” It’s magic! Here’s mine. You can also export your books to Excel to do EVEN MORE analysis – click “import/export” in that same tiny, left hand menu.

Books ReadFavs

  • Books read in 2013: 52 (Book a week!!)
  • Books read in first six months: 12
  • Books read in last six months: 40

I knew my reading picked up after I finished Moby-Dick this summer but I didn’t realize the extent till now. I never thought I’d read 50 books in a year, but it looks like I could reasonably go for 75 next year!

About the Author

  • 35 Female (67%) 16 male (31%) 1 various (2%)
  • 22 Canadian (42%) 16 American (31%) 9 British (17%) 2 French (4%) and 1 each: Columbian, Russian, Irish. 
  • 48 white (88%) 6 visible minority (12%)

I didn’t restrict myself to female authors this year, but I did stack the deck a bit by choosing female authors on the Classics Club list, and, by accepting review copies from independent presses – I have a feeling that female authors are over represented in smaller publishers. I won’t set any specific goals for next year, but I’d love to read more books by minorities.  I’m sure I’ll still read lots of CanLit, butI gotta read some more World Lit too, beyond the States and the UK. Anyone got any good world lit reading challenges happening? I’ll probably do the Russian Lit one but would love to broaden my horizons even further…

Genres and Lists

  • 18 classics (35%), 25 contemporary lit fic (48%), 3 non fiction (6%), 3 YA (6%), 2 romance (4%), 1 anthology (2%)
  • 11 1001 Books for a total of 115 read
  • 11 Classics Club picks for a total of 11


  • 10 five star reviews (19%), 19 four star reviews (37%), 14 three stars (27%), 3 two stars (6%), and 2 one star reviews (4%).

Compared to the average Goodreads rating…

  • I rated 22 books higher. The most underrated book was The Testament of Mary, which I rated a 5, compared to average 3.56 rating.
  • I rated 28 books lower. The most overrated book was Dragon Bound, which I rated a 1, compared to average 4.19 rating.

Blog Stats


  • 17,000 page views in 2013. Compare that to 900 in 2011 and 3,500 in 2012. As Disco Stu would say, “if this trend continues, HEY!”
  • Most viewed post of 2013: What’s The Deal With Infinite Jest? It’s a year later and I still don’t know what the deal is! It’s funny because I wrote it in a very unplanned, stream of consciousness style, which I don’t often do. I’m just happy to share the WTFness and the DFW love.
  • Most viewed post that was actually written in 2013: The Fault in Our Stars: Use Your (Literary) Allusion. I get searches for “Fault in our stars allusions” on a daily basis, particularly in the summer, which tells me that a lot of students write papers on TFioS, and makes me realize how different writing papers must be these days.

And now, on to the good stuff: my best and worst reads of the year!

Five Star Books

Conveniently, they form a top ten:

The Cat's TableFrancesandBernardOryx and Crake 2009Stoner by John Edward Williams | Published in 2006 by NYRB (originally published in 1965) | Paperback: 278 pages | Source: LibrarywutheringpenguinSummerbonjourtristessethetestamentofmaryWizard_title_pageMiddlemarch George Eliot

One Star Books

The fact that I read two romances and gave two one-star ratings is not a coincidence.

Fifty Shadesdragon

Notable Newbies

I don’t do a lot of five star ratings for new books and new authors. I need to see if they’ll stand the test of time. I read a lot of new authors this year and many were on the cusp… if Goodreads allowed .5 ratings they would have got a 4.5.
roostlovelettersThe Paradise Engine Rebecca CampbellBelinda's Rings by Corinna Chong

Best Book of the Year

The Cat's Table

The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje!

Look, he wrote my favourite sentence and was my biggest crush of the year so obviously Mr. O is taking the prize. The strange thing is that there is a whole section of this book I didn’t like – all the stuff about his married life – and I still love this book more than anything else I read this year. It was simple and poetic where I was expecting dense and intellectual. It was a breath of fresh air. Challenge for next year: The English Patient!

Check out my other 2013 review posts:



  1. Nish

    I read The English Patient this year and it unfortunately topped the list of disappointing books in my year-end list. Hopefully, it works better for you. I think my expectations were way too high.

    • lauratfrey

      I’ve been advised to watch the movie first, maybe that will help? I tried to read it a few years ago and abandoned it, which is very rare for me. Definitely a challenge for this year.

  2. tanya

    Woot Woot Can Lit. I can’t believe how highly you recommend The Cat’s Table. I must admit I haven’t read it yet because I had heard so many so-so things about it. Maybe I’ll give it a try. I love early Ondaatje, but his more recent books have not done it for me.

  3. Brie @ Eat Books

    Nice work! I love stats, so I thoroughly enjoyed this post, haha! I like the bit about “rated higher/ rated lower”…I may have to steal that one. What happens when you export your stats from goodreads to excel?? (I’m assuming you did this…?)

    The difference in number of books you read in the first half of the year compared to the second is amazing. I look forward to seeing what books you read next year 🙂

    • lauratfrey

      I exported my “read” bookshelf into Excel. Do you get everything, title, author, pub date, original pub date, rating ect. and then I added columns for gender, ethnicity, country of origin.

      I thought I would rate most things lower, because I’m stingy about 5 star reviews, but it was actually pretty even!

      Novellas in November helped my total a lot, I’m sure! I’ve already finished my first book of the year so off to a good start 🙂 Are you able to keep up with reading at all? I had a tough time towards the end with my first pregnancy!

      • Brie @ Eat Books

        I was doing pretty well during my second trimester (no book a week!, although I did read 4 books in about 10 days while in Florida), but I’m declining again now that I’m well into my 3rd trimester. Sigh, I have a feeling my book reading is going to be drastically lowered during this first year of parenthood, isn’t it? ;p

    • lauratfrey

      Depends how well you can read with one hand. Get an ereader! I spent sooo much time watching TV when Ben was little that I could have spent reading… I would not recommend it.

      • Kristilyn

        An ereader works wonders! Mine has frontlighting so I use it when I’m nursing at night … I’m up anywhere from 3-5 times starting from when I put little one to bed. During the day when he naps and I have time, I’ll read a physical book. Just finished my first one and working on a reread while nursing. Hoping to get at least 2 books a week!

        I actually spent most of December watching TV because we had been to hospitals, appointments, the NICU … it was nice to just sit back when I had the time and stare at the TV … now it’s rarely on.

  4. Kristilyn

    I kind of love how detailed your statistics are. I want to do that this year! I think I read mostly YA this past year, with lots of romance towards the end. I know this year I want to focus more on adult literature, classics, etc. I read a LOT of series in 2013 and am sick of them. And paranormal books. Those will be on the bottom of my pile this year.

    I love all your recaps!

  5. .Ambur.

    All of those stats are pretty fascinating, and I definitely love that Goodreads keeps track of everything…it’s pretty handy! The only downside for me is that I read a lot of ebooks and ebooks aren’t recorded as having page numbers, so it leaves a lot out in that aspect, but other than that it’s so neat!

    I’m glad you had some books that you enjoyed so much this year, Laura…and I definitely agree with Wuthering Heights getting five stars…I love it, too! 😀 Also, it’s pretty crazy that after Moby DIck your reading increased so much! Weird how that works. 😛

    At the rate you’re going, I think you can definitely read 75 books in 2014. Might as well reach for it anyway. It’s always better to make your goal higher, and work towards it! Happy New Year! 🙂

  6. Isi

    A great year, indeed!
    I have read the one by Charlotte Brönte, which I liked it, but I also liked Christian Grey 😀 hehehe I suppose I want such a handsome and wealthy boyfriend 😛
    Hope you are between the covers of wonderful readings this year too!

  7. Pingback: 2014 Preview: Diversity, CanLit, Classics, and Second Chances | Reading in Bed
  8. Pingback: Reading Goals: Avoiding the Single Story | writereads

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