After seeing a couple reading statistics articles from Sarah J. Higbee (who encouraged me to share my own) and Oh The Books!, I decided to figure out my own stats based on the books I read in 2014. So, I went through my reviews, plugged my tallies into Excel, and made some pretty graphics for your viewing pleasure. While the results didn’t really show me anything new, they made me think more consciously about my reading habits and preferences. Here’s how things shaped up:
How Many Books Did I Read in 2014?
Last year I read a whopping 21 books. *lol* That’s not many, compared to other readers. (I’ve seen a number of year-end lists or reading stats where people read 100+ books. How do they do it??) Then again, I’ve always been a slow reader who prefers to take her time and absorb each story, and then have the rug pulled out from underneath me with the occasional “unputdownable” that I gobble up in a week or so. I’d definitely like to read more books in 2015. That said, I’ll leave the intention open-ended instead of setting a specific goal, just to see if I can surprise myself. 😉
Genres of Books Read in 2014
- Fantasy: 15 (71%)
- Science Fiction / Dystopian: 2 (9%)
- Behavioral Psychology: 1 (5%)
- Contemporary Fiction: 1 (5%)
- Historical Fiction: 1 (5%)
- Mystery / Thriller: 1 (5%)
No surprise here! Fantasy’s my favorite literary genre, so naturally I’d read more of those novels. What caught my attention, however, is how few books I read outside of fantasy last year. I do like historical fiction, science fiction, and the occasional contemporary, yet I read only one or two in each of those categories last year. I guess I was in a fantasy mood most of the time.
Looking ahead to 2015, fantasy will remain my focus genre. And it should, especially since I’m a fantasy writer. However, I’d like to read a little more often outside of fantasy this year, for variety’s sake. I’m currently reading Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief (YA historical fiction); and with two other historical fiction novels coming out this year that I’m really looking forward to, that category’s already guaranteed to tick higher.
Intended Audiences (Target Age Groups)
- Adult: 11 (52%)
- Young Adult: 10 (48%)
Not all that surprised here, either. I tend to go back and forth between adult and YA, and I plan to continue that philosophy. I didn’t expect the split to be so close to 50-50, though!
- Female: 15 (76%)
- Male: 6 (24%)
This result is a bit skewed, since I read multiple books by two female authors (two by Ursula K. Le Guin, four by Maria V. Snyder). Even so, it wouldn’t have changed the fact that I still read more books written by female authors last year by a 2:1 ratio. Which got me thinking…
When I buy books or add titles to my wishlist / TBR pile, my decision comes down to three factors: genre, a compelling blurb / synopsis, and recommendations or review trends. The author’s gender plays no role whatsoever. Yet, the trend toward female writers exists. I wonder if I subconsciously choose to read more novels written by women simply because I myself am female? Regardless, I’ll see if I can read a few more books by male authors this year and equalize this statistic a little more.
Standalones vs Books From a Series
- Books in a Series: 14 (67%)
- Standalones: 7 (33%)
I guess this shouldn’t surprise me, since fantasy’s chock-full of series. But, I read more serial installments by a 2:1 ratio? Wow. I doubt this will change my habits going forward (again, I read mostly fantasy, so I’m bound to read fewer standalones than books from a series), but I’m more aware of this now than I was before.
Male or Female Protagonists
- Female Only: 9 (%)
- Both Genders (Multiple POVs / Protagonists): 7 (%)
- Male Only: 4
- N/A: 1
These results make sense. I relate better to female protagonists (and since I’m a female, too, why not?), so naturally I’m more attracted to stories with female leads. However, I’m not opposed to reading books with male protagonists or (if a story contains multiple POVs / protagonists) both male and female. Though I didn’t realize I’d read almost as many books with protagonists of both genders as I did for books with only a female protagonist(s). That’s not a bad thing, though! The N/A category is there because of a book I’d read for informational / learning purposes, so it doesn’t have an actual protagonist.
Again, knowing this statistic most likely won’t change my reading habits, but it’s interesting to see how everything breaks down once you pay close attention.
Ratings of Books Reviewed in 2014
Here’s a bar graph of the same figures:
What did I infer after looking at both charts?
- I liked most of the books I read. (I’d consider anything with a rating of 3 or higher to be a positive review.) This is probably because I stick to the genres I enjoy most and am good at choosing books I’ll like.
- I look at every story I read with a critical eye. Though I wouldn’t call myself a tough grader, I’m not afraid to say whether something needs improvement, confused me, or seems odd. The bar graph in particular mirrors that philosophy, and shows that most of my ratings were between 3.5 and 4. It also illustrates that I’m willing to give lower grades (below a 3) if I don’t like a book and to award higher ratings (4 or higher) if I think a book truly deserves it.
What do you think of these statistics? Did you notice anything that I didn’t point out? Any statistics I should for next year’s article (if I choose to do it again)? And, did YOU post about your reading statistics from 2014? Share your thoughts and/or links by commenting below.