Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 reading stats and favorites

I shouldn't have waited until the last minute to work on this post, particularly since I've known since the middle of the week that I wouldn't be finishing another book until 2012, but if I've been consistent about anything this year, it's been in being as bad a blogger as I could possibly be. I'll do better next year--but that's a good hour-and-a-half away.

So what conclusions have I drawn from this year's hastily-assembled reading stats?

That while 82 completed books (I've lost count of the number of books set aside, yet still in progress) is quite respectable, if not awe-inspiring, I'm still a little bummed when I compare that number to the 101 that I managed the previous two years.  Couldn't I have looked at less kitchen porn, read fewer political blogs? Couldn't I have tried harder to convince the guys that six seasons of Lost should take longer than five weeks to watch? Perhaps I could have finished a bit more nonfiction, read a volume or two of poetry, if I'd used my time more wisely.

But of course the most appalling stat is the number of new books that came into the house and remained unread. Dare I mention that I ordered three more this morning, before I go cold turkey for the next three months? Only one of those books do I intend to read right away; I should have waited on the others.

My reading stats for the last seven years (this year's in bold):

Books Total  82  / 101 /  101  /  78  /  81  /  74  /  77
Nonfiction    12  / 16 /  15  /  13  /  8  /  14  /  13
Novels   66  / 78 /  79  /  62  /  62  /  50  /  47
Short Story Collections  2  / 7 /  7  /  3  / 4  / 1  /  8
Library Books  39  / 26 /  48  /  27  /  14  / 31
Newly Acquired/Read  12 / 23 /  32  /32  /  31  /  24
Newly Acquired/Stockpiled  120+ / 113 /  140  /  88  /141+  /  75+
E-texts Read 12  / 17 /  10  /  12
Free E-texts Read 6  / 9 / 5  /  7
Just-published books  21  / 36 /  55 /  41  /34  /  33
Classics    23  / 21 / 10  /  8  /  23  /  12
Pre-20th Century  10 / 9 / 7  /  4  /  12  /  11
Written by women  38 / 46 /  55  /  42  /  33  /  28

Two plays: Othello and Agamemnon

Authors with multiple books read: W. Somerset Maugham (Wendy and I read five Maughams over the summer); Alice Thomas Ellis (3); H.G. Wells (3); Stewart O'Nan (2); Mary Doria Russell (2); William Styron (2); Anthony Trollope (2); Rebecca West (2); and Connie Willis (2).

Rereads: Othello, Pride and Prejudice, The Razor's Edge, House of Mirth, Darkness Visible and Atonement.

I read several books this year that I finished knowing that I want to read them again some day. At the top of that list is Shirley Hazzard's The Transit of Venus, which the Slaves read back in April.

Other favorites from the year are:
Started Early, Took My Dog. Kate Atkinson
Who Was Changed, and Who Was Dead. Barbara Comyns
Galore. Michael Crummey
The Sisters Brothers. Patrick deWitt
A Visit from the Goon Squad. Jennifer Egan
Wounded. Percival Everett
We Had It So Good. Linda Grant
The Sundial. Shirley Jackson
Skippy Dies. Paul Murray
Doc. Mary Doria Russell
There But For The. Ali Smith
He Knew He Was Right. Anthony Trollope
Among Others. Jo Walton

The complete list of books read in 2011 can be found here.

See you next year!


  1. I hear you on the new books that remain unread. I keep telling myself that it would make sense to only buy a book if I'm going to read it right away, but my actions don't always make sense. The main problem is that I do love a bargain and can't pass up really good deals when I find them.

    I'm happy to see Atkinson and Trollope on your list. Those are both great books, and I enjoyed the Linda Grant very much as well. Just about all the others on your list are on my TBR list, and I even have a copy of Doc.

  2. Anonymous9:08 PM

    You're quite a statistician! I'm impressed that you've reading stats that date back seven years. That's certainly useful in keeping track of the trend of your reading habit and preference. I'm in an Ireland Reading Challenge this year and see you've read Skippy Dies by Paul Murray. Did you like it? I'm also listening to Egan's Goon Squad, not sure I enjoy it that much despite its high acclaims.


  3. Nice! Really cool stuff and very inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I loved Tranist of Venus too but I had so many really good books read this year that it didn't quite make it to the top. Definitely want to read more of her work though.


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