… or lack thereof.
I’ve not kept my spreadsheet updated very well last year, so I only have a few stats to look at for 2019. I do, however, have a good idea about how to improve the record-keeping for 2020, and I will definitely need a few more categories and a reminder of what some categories (for example “classics”) are meant to mean for the purposes of these reading stats.
Anyway, here are a few fundamental numbers:
Books read: 222 (Books read in 2018: 230)
Audio v Kindle v Physical Book:
It appears that my reading is split into thirds (roughly), but physical books have dominated slightly in 2019. I’ve had a lot of library books this year (16%) which is probably one of the factors why I’ve read more physical books than kindle titles.
The number of audiobooks is one I want to define better this year. I usually have the audiobook along with either the kindle or physical copy (if the library has both), so I would like to separate out in more detail when the audiobook was the only source and when it was accompanying the book in another format.
My average rating of books for 2019 was 3.16, which is in line with what I had expected. I had a lot of bad picks this year. At least, it seems this way. To counter-act, I’ve re-read favourites and comfort reads more than in previous years. 8% of my reads in 2019 were re-reads. I used to rarely re-read, so this is quite a change.
Of course, there has been one book that was so outstanding that I had to re-read it within the same year. So, yes, I am looking at Gaudy Night for messing with my reading stats even more.
There were, of course, some other notable titles that rocked my reading year. I’ve listed my top 11 below.
Interestingly, I did not pay a lot of attention to diversity in either genre or authors this year. It appears that at least with respect to gender balance, I’ve read slightly more books by women. But the margin is quite small. I am ok with that.
I bet, tho, that if I looked at how gender corresponded with rating, there may be a trend towards higher ratings towards books written by women because:
1. a lot of my comfort reads (and thus highly-rated books) were written by women; and
2. the books I read in 2019 that were memorable low-starred ratings were mostly by male authors (Ian McEwan, John Buchan, William Faulkner, Peter Fleming).
I might look into this further for 2020 stats.
Irrespective of numbers, however, I have also discovered some cracking books in 2019, too. In no particular order, here are 10 of my favourite reads of the year:
1. Gaudy Night – Dorothy L. Sayers (& honorable mention to Busman’s Honeymoon, the sort-of sequel to Gaudy Night)
2. Actors on Shakespeare: Macbeth – Harriet Walter
3. Woza Shakespeare! – Antony Sher / Greg Doran
4. Spring – Ali Smith
5. Becoming – Michelle Obama
6. The Butchering Art – Lindsey Fitzharris
7. Circe – Madeleine Miller
8. Not So Quiet… – Helen Zenna Smith
9. Guards! Guards! – Terry Pratchett
10. Verdict of Twelve – Raymond Postgate
11. Agatha Christie: The Complete Secret Notebooks – John Curran
There were more. Many more. But of all of the books (other than re-reads) I have discovered this year, the above were the ones that made up for all of the disappointing tomes.
Let’s hope 2020 will provide an equal share of brilliant new discoveries.