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.
12 thoughts on “My Reading Statistics for 2014”
Wow – this is an amazingly thorough breakdown of your reading habits. I LOVED that you produced all those pretty graphs:)) Very handy for displaying the numbers and relevant information. I was intrigued to see that you’d gone to the trouble of looking at the gender of the protagonists in the books, as well as the authors. Was there any correlation between the gender of the protagonists and the books you most enjoyed? I’m assuming that your two favourite books were fantasy – am I right in that assumption?
I’m delighted that you decided to do this. I found it fascinating to look at your reading habits and also your approach to your reading. I have a theory that despite we bookworms spending time buried in a book – there is quite a lot of variation in why we do so. And how we look upon this pursuit… What do you think?
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Thanks! I used Microsoft Excel to make the graphs. Though I wasn’t crazy with the initial cover scheme it assigned, so I spent some time customizing. *rolls her eyes*
I didn’t consider a correlation between protagonist gender and the higher-ranked books. My top 5 books from last year were a mix of male only, female only, and both genders. And surprisingly, my two highest rated books of last year were NOT fantasy. One was historical fiction, the other was behavioral psychology (an awesome “research” book on introverts).
I’m not sure how to answer your last question. (Probably because it’s late and I spent a good chunk of the day novel-writing, and my brain is fried. *lol*) I know I choose my reads for different reasons. Sometimes I feel guilty that a certain book has been sitting on the shelf unread for so long. Sometimes I’m so excited to read a new book that I refuse to put off reading it. Sometimes it’s instinct, whatever “jumps out” at me when it’s time to choose the next read. Fantasy is and will always be my favorite genre, too, but I like reading outside of it every now and then. I believe writers can learn something from every story they read regardless of genre, then take those lessons or ideas and apply them to our own work.
I think I’m rambling now, so I’ll stop there. XD But they’re all great questions, Sarah. And thanks for nudging me to do this.
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Ooh this was a very interesting read! Great Post!
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I honestly find myself just enjoying books written by women more. Perhaps it is easier for me to connect to the characters because the author is able to write them in a way that I identify with? Great authors can write from any perspective, but good authors might do better when writing from their own perspective for the most part.
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That was one thing I didn’t think about: whether I enjoyed books written by one gender more than the other. I tend to read more novels written by women (as illustrated here), but thinking back to my Top 10 list for 2014… my #1 pick was written by a male author, and 4 out the 10 were penned by men.
I agree with your point about the author writing characters in a way that I can identify with them. Stories where I can relate or connect with the characters – especially the protagonist – tend to be my favorites.
Interesting thoughts here, Anya. Thanks for sharing them!
Very interesting stats! The thing I noted about gender balance in my own reading habits is that I too don’t let it play a role in what books I choose to buy or read – but somehow it ends up being close to 50/50 anyway. I think the YA and UF books end up skewing the count towards female authors in the end, I probably wouldn’t see the balance so much if I didn’t read those genres (but I do so love them!)
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That’s a good point, how the genres or intended age groups of the books we read might affect the balance in author gender. I didn’t think of that before. And yes, I can’t help what I love to read, either! *lol* Thanks for commenting, Mogsy!
I got to 150 books last year but most were graphic novels and manga so I probably read around 50 actual novels xD I’m a speed reader but can definitely agree that it’s better to go through a book slowly and savor it. If I talk to my co-blogger about books she’ll mention a part or a quote that I totally missed or skipped because of that Anyways! I think your stats are really interesting, especially series vs standalone. I usually am a series reader but I think last year I read mostly standalones for a change! Fun post!
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Thanks, Alise! Yeah, it was neat to see how everything unfolded and how aware it made me of certain habits, like reading more books from a series than standalone novels. I’m already seriously thinking about doing a similar article next year, so I’m already tracking my stats for this year’s books. (Though I haven’t had a lot of reading time as of late…)
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