My 2014 Reading Wrap-Up

December 31, 2014 Uncategorized 28

DoingDeweysYearInReview

I’m not sureΒ you’ll be as excited about this as I am, but we’re about to talk about STATS! This year, I used a spreadsheet from Nicki at Fyrefly’s Book Blog and it was pretty much the best thing ever. It wasn’t much effort to move my information from goodreads to the spreadsheet and most of the info goodreads doesn’t directly track could still easily be found on their website.

The Stats
Stats1

This year, I originally set my Goodreads goal at 140 books, but a few short, coffee table books and my new addiction to audiobooks pushed me past that. I also DNF’d my first book since starting blogging and it was liberating! I don’t plan to make a habit of it, but I won’t force myself to read something I’m really not enjoying either.

Rating2

I’m going to be geeky (geekier) here and confess that looking at this makes me want to rate differently so that I truly have a normal distribution centered on my middle rating value! However, I don’t really want to start giving out 1 stars. I hate to even give a book 2 stars. Instead, I’m considering adding a super-awesome category above a five (I’m sure I’ve seen this done somewhere, but I can’t remember where to give credit. Poke me if it’s your idea :)). I think this could work for me because there are books that stand-out for me among my five star reviews.

The Diversity (Authors)

AuthorSex

I think I’m alright with the majority of my reads being by female authors. So many awards and reviews in print publications seem to be slanted towards male authors, for now I’m alright with showing the reverse bias. I was curious if my author gender balance was different for different genres (and particularly worried that I might be reading less nonfiction by women), so I also looked at gender breakdown by genre.

AuthorSexByGenre

Happily, I was wrong! My author gender distribution only seems to be affected in Sci-Fi and Fantasy and even those genres it only becomes 50/50. (MR = magical realism, P = paranormal, SP = steampunk)

I’m also happy to report that my average rating for male and female authors are similar, with female authors receiving on average 3.82 stars, male authors receiving on average 3.88 stars, and books with authors of both gender receiving an average of 4.25 stars.

AuthorNationality

This section actually makes me wish I’d done more keeping track of stats. First, I’m not thrilled that two thirds of my books were by American authors and I particularly wish that more of my books by non-American authors weren’t by native English speakers. I’ll definitely want to step it up on reading translated works next year! My “Other” category does include authors from 13 different countries, from Romania to the Philippines, Germany to Kenya. However, only 7 are actually translated from another language. Β Second, I do think I did better in terms of author diversity this year than last year, so I wish I had last year’s stats to compare.

The Diversity (Characters)

CharacterSex

You may notice that the total character count in these graphs is smaller than my total book count (144 instead of 157). This is because 13 of the books I read, all nonfiction, didn’t have an identifiable main character at all. Given my author gender breakdown, the fact that 73% of my female authors wrote female characters, and the fact that 61% of my male authors wrote male characters, this character gender ratio isn’t surprising.

CharacterOrientationAndRace

Like my author nationality breakdown, I think I’ve done a lot better in terms of reading books with LGBT or POC characters than I have in the past. I’m not sure how I feel about the actual numbers. Ideally, I think our reading would accurately reflect real demographics. Unfortunately, this data seems to be hard to get for LGBT individuals, although from what I’ve read, 5% of the population might not be a bad estimate (depending on how many people who are LGBT feel able to respond to surveys truthfully). In that case, I’m doing pretty well, with 11% of my books containing LGBT characters. Of course, the sad thing is that I categorize a book as LGBT if at least one prominent character is LGBT, when in reality every book should have around 5% of the characters be LGBT. I think we’re probably much further from that reality.

Out of my 140 books with categorizable characters, 31% of my books had at least one prominent, non-white character. According to Wikipedia, in 2010 the US was 72% white and 28% non-white, so again I’m doing pretty well by that yardstick. If you compare to the world population, which Snopes suggests is only 30% white, I’m not doing as well, but I’m still pretty happy with the progress I’ve made.

28 Responses to “My 2014 Reading Wrap-Up”

    • DoingDewey

      Character race and gender generally seem to track author demographics, but character sexuality is more often different or the author’s personal preferences simply aren’t publicized, so I think it’s important to track the LGBT characters especially. It’s also made me very aware how infrequently minority characters show up and especially how infrequently they’re a reasonable percentage of the characters in any of the books I read.

  1. Trisha

    You look at really interesting categories and you use visuals. Impressive. I used to be awesome like this; alas, not so much anymore. πŸ™‚

  2. Cayce

    Oh, I love statistics!! Just too lazy to make my own… I managed to finish my GR challenge, but just barely. This year, I am aiming a bit lower πŸ™‚
    Wow, you have read a lot of Nonfiction and I think you have done pretty well with you LGBT “challenge” πŸ™‚

    Happy New Year!! Hope 2015 will be a great one.

    • DoingDewey

      I love them too, but it was a lot of work! And my fiance kept making fun of me because I was making graphs for fun. I’d still like to read a few more books with main characters who are LGBT next year, but I was pretty happy with how it turned out. Happy new year to you too πŸ˜€

  3. Jancee

    When I rate books, I see a lot of 3.5 and 4 ratings and barely any 1 or 2 ratings as well. My theory is that I just know how to pick books that I will enjoy, so I don’t need to feel guilty about how I rate.

    You’ve had a fantastic reading year – can’t wait to see what’s next for you!

    • DoingDewey

      I agree, it’s probably reasonable for our ratings to skew a little high since it’s not like we’re reading books at random, but I do wish I gave a wider range of ratings. It would be nice to be able to separate out the really stellar books a little more, I think.

      Thanks Jancee! I hope you’re have a great new year πŸ™‚

  4. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    You’ve collected some great and interesting stats! I would love to create a category for above 5star books too – I do think there should be something to mark the really exceptional book.

    • DoingDewey

      I feel like the only alternate way to single them out is to lower all of my other ratings so that only these books get 5 stars and I don’t think that’s fair to the other books, which I do think deserve the ratings I’ve given them. Perhaps putting them on end-of-year top ten lists is enough; I haven’t decided yet what will work for me.

  5. Doro

    your statistics are so interesting! this now makes me curious for my own reading statistics πŸ™‚ have a great reading year 2015~

  6. Geoff W

    So many stats!!!! I’ll have to check out that spreadsheet. I have a pretty basic one that I use to track the minimum of things I can track πŸ˜€ Can’t wait to see where you go with reading this year!

    • DoingDewey

      I know next to nothing about excel, so I was excited to find a pre-made spreadsheet I could use. It made it much easier to track lots of stats this year!

  7. Anya

    I used to want an average rating of 3 stars, and then I realized that that would mean purposefully reading books I thought I’d like less which seems kind of silly when you think about it ;-). Therefore, an average about 3 just means to me that you are good at picking books you are likely to like and that’s okay! As long as you’re being honest with your ratings, who cares! πŸ˜€

    • DoingDewey

      It’s true! I definitely don’t want to lower my average by reading books I like less. I was wondering if I should be giving out harsher ratings, but I think I’m happy with what my ratings mean and I do feel like I’m giving books the ratings they deserve, so if I changed anything, it would probably be to add some sort of exceptional rating for my very favorite reads.

  8. Aylee

    Love these kinds of stats posts – the results always interest me! I especially like how you’ve broken down the gender by genre and rating and your character diversity stats – I think you’ve done quite well this past year! I know I for sure need to read more books with diverse characters this year.

    • DoingDewey

      I really loved your stats post too! It looks like you also had a great year, without too much book buying a great author gender ratio. I hope your next year is wonderful too πŸ™‚

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