Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reading stats for 2011

For almost four years now, I've been keeping a list of every book I read. It's basic record keeping: the date I finish a book, the title, the author. If I don't finish a book, or if I'm re-reading the book, I mark it with an asterisk and a short note. Lately, I've also started keeping track of how many books I read with main characters or authors of color. And whether or not I know the author (how cool is that?!).

Last December, for the first time ever on Critically Yours, I shared my reading stats for 2010, along with random speculation about what the numbers meant. It inspired a number of my readers to keep track of their own reading (how's that going?) and was such a popular post, I've decided to make it an annual thing.

So, without further ado, I give you Critically Yours' Reading Stats for 2011!

*the crowd goes wild*

As of Sunday, December 18th:

Books completed: 92

DNF (Did Not Finish): 20 (18% of books I started)
Some of my reasons for DNFs: "Didn't believe story," "Long-winded," "Cliche & poor writing", "Not my book, confusing, arduous," "Just didn't care," "Annoying characters."
Re-read: 9
Graphic Novels / Comics: 3
Audiobooks: 4
Manuscripts (unpublished novels I was asked to critique): 3*
Adult: 30
Non-Fiction: 4
Person of Color (PoC): 11

*I suspect this number for manuscripts is wildly inaccurate. I think I've read a lot more full books, I just forgot to write them down, perhaps because reading them usually feels more like writing work than pleasure reading, no matter how good they are!

And yes, any book not specified as "Adult" or "Non-Fiction" is a children's book.

Some thoughts:

Throughout the year I felt I was reading fewer books, and the numbers do confirm that (last year I completed 105 books). However, the numbers also show I read THREE TIMES as many adult books this year as last year. And those do tend to take longer to read (it took me all of March to read Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens, though it was a very worthwhile read!). Part of this was due to a bit of impatience with angst-y teenage lovers, my monthly participation in an adult reading group, and my attempt to broaden my reading horizons a bit.

Speaking of broadening my reading horizons, I've been spending more time than in the past with different formats, specifically graphic novels and audiobooks; I've never read so many of each. I'm hoping to read a lot more. I'm disappointed, however, with the number of PoC books read. Last year I learned that only 13% of children's books published annually feature PoC, so I challenged myself to read at least 13, and ended up reading 19. So 11 is a disappointment, especially since a few of those 11 were re-reads. As the 13% stat reflects, PoC books really need to be sought out, as they often sadly fall out of the mainstream.

Last year I was surprised at how low my DNF percentage was (21%), but this year it's comparable at 18% ("See," Anne says to her husband, "I don't give up on HALF of the books I read! Only 18%!").

Thursday I'll be sharing my top ten reads AND top two writing books of 2011! Can't wait? Here's 2009's and 2010's lists.

Did you keep any reading stats this year? Any surprises? Trends?


  1. I don't keep track of how many books I read in a year. I guess I could figure it out on Goodreads though since they keep track of start and end dates for me. I know I read 20 on my Kindle because I got that for Christmas last year and my "read" file has 20 books in it. I've read a lot more in print. I'm still old fashioned in that I love the feel of a book in my hands.

  2. I found that I've given up on fewer books this year, but "I don't care" is probably the #1 reason I've stopped reading. I'm only at 60 books finished this year, but that's up from last year so I'm happy. :-)

  3. I kept track but not like you did - So far, 78 and two 1/2's (halfway thru two more) - one of those 78 I read twice (Hunger Games). I anticipate reaching 83 or 84 by the New Year. It was fun to keep track and keeping a list on my blog was great because it helped jog my memory for book discussions.

  4. Kelly: I don't know, there's something interesting for me in looking back over a year and seeing what I've read. But it does take some counting up! I'm actually getting an ereader for Christmas, and am really curious how that's going to change (or not change) my reading habits. Guess I'll save that post idea for next year at this time! ;)

    Anna: Why do you think you've given up on fewer? Is it because you're being more conscious about what you decide to read, or trying to finish what you start? Regardless, more books read is ALWAYS happy!

    JR: Yes, I love being able to look back through my records. Just last night I was trying to remember a book, and I was able to flip back through and figure out which one I was thinking of. Also great, as you say for recommending books to other people.

  5. You beat me by XXX so many, that I won't mention numbers. But I will say that I loved all the many I read, and am raising a glass to yours.

  6. So far, I'm at 78 for the year but hope to make it to 80 before 2012.

    Your post last year inspired me to keep a paper record of my reading and I've been so grateful. At least a dozen times I've referred to it for recommendations or reminders of why I liked the book. (Notes on side.) I also use it to make my Christmas list. :) One Crazy Summer (have you read it? great MG/HF & PoC) and Moon Over Manifest are sitting under the tree, right now, because of that journal. So thank you!

    Looking forward to reading about your eReader experience. I haven't broken the skimming habit with reading off the screen. Can't decide if it's an age thing or what.

  7. Wow, that 's a lot of books. I also keep track too. But this year I only read a measly 30 fiction books. And like you I gave up on some. My time is just so limited theses days. I'm finding I'm reading more nonfiction. I read about 20 of those.

    It's great that you're reading POC books too!

  8. Wow. Congratulations--92 is an impressive number. I didn't keep track but I'm sure my stats would be way under that. This is a great idea--I'm going to keep better track for next year.

  9. Mirka: Love that way of looking at things. A great year for reading, regardless of how many we read. Nice to look back over them and be grateful for all the enjoyment they brought us.

    Bridgette: hehehe. Yeah, that's always awkward, isn't it? Those poor books I read between now and New Year's never get counted!

    I'm so pleased your paper record has worked out! Yay! And you're so sweet for letting me know, thank you.

    I will definitely update on my ereader thoughts. I hadn't even thought of it until writing comments here, but that would be a great post. I'm an online skimmer, too, but I hope that eink works wonders! ;)

  10. Karen: Well, I'm at a time in my life where I can do a lot of reading... next year at this time I might easily be back down to thirty, so I guess I better enjoy it while I can! I'm not much of a non-fiction reader at all (too impatient with real life!). But good for you for reading so many! Any PoC recs for next year for me?

    Lena: Thanks, though as I said above to Karen, it's nice to have a year where I have time to read! If you follow the link to my 2010 stats post, I talk more about my record-keeping. It's been so useful for me, and such little effort. And really interesting to look over a year and see where my reading took me. So I hope keeping better track works out well for you, too.

  11. I started keeping a reading log in the summer of 1995. I used to read 2-3 books a week; I knew I'd been reading a lot less lately, but I was still shocked to look back at my 2011 list and find that I'd only read 35 books! I know I spent a lot more time this year on things like work, tv-watching, and mindless internet surfing. But I also started writing again, which I've really enjoyed even though it's cut into my reading time. ;)

    ps--One of my favorite reads of 2011, I heard about through your blog--Keren David's When I was Joe, and Almost True.

    --Monica R.

  12. Aw, thanks for stopping by Monica! AND for telling me you enjoyed Keren's books! Yay! So happy to share great reads! There's a third one coming out in the next year or so.

    Bummer becoming an adult, isn't it? ;) But great to hear that you've started writing again!


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