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 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.
- 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 Table by Michael Ondaatje
- Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer
- Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
- Stoner by John Williams
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte (reread)
- Summer by Edith Wharton
- Bonjour Tristesse by Francois Sagan
- The Testament of Mary by Colm Toibin
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
- Middlemarch by George Eliot
One Star Books
The fact that I read two romances and gave two one-star ratings is not a coincidence.
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.
- Love Letters of the Angles of Death by Jennifer Quist
- The Paradise Engine by Rebecca Campbell
- Roost by Ali Bryan
- Belinda’s Rings by Corinna Chong
Best Book of the Year
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: