Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Tracking Diverse Reading Stats

March 22, 2015 Blogger Events 19



I’ve always loved end of the year stats posts and wanted more data about what I was reading, so last year, I started tracking my blog stats using a great spreadsheet from Nikki at Fyrefly’s Book Blog. I was (and am) trying to diversify my reading, so to track how I was doing, I added columns for: the author’s nationality, whether the author was a person of color, whether any of the main characters were non-white or LGBT, and whether each book was translated (if I remember correctly; the version of the spreadsheet available at Nikki’s blog is no longer the one I downloaded, so I apologize if I’m stealing credit for some of her stat tracking ideas!). While using those categories last year, I realized just how tricky tracking diversity could be.

First, as Andi at Estella’s Revenge pointed out, you have to define what you mean by diversity. My categories above illustrate my definition. I looked for books with main characters of a different race or sexual orientation from myself or authors of a different race or nationality from myself. However, another point Andi made in that same post really resonated with me, because she highlighted a problem I’d been having: how do you determine an author’s race and nationality? Sometimes this is obvious from their biography, but often appearance and names can be ambiguous and many authors have lived in so many countries, it’s hard to determine what nationality best describes them. While it would be easy to drive yourself crazy trying to figure this out or to simply give up on tracking diversity in your reading, I think it’s important to avoid both of those outcomes. Tracking your reading shouldn’t be so hard that it takes away from your enjoyment of reading, but if you really want to see if you’re increasing the diversity in your reading, you have to have numbers. Here are some of my tips for simply tracking diversity in your reading:

  • Like Andi suggested, first figure out what diversity means to you and what kinds of diversity you think are important.
  • Check out what other bloggers are doing. Challenges related to diversity, such as some the challenges I’ve joined this year, can provide you with someone else’s definition of diversity to start from.
  • Then, figure out metrics that measure each type of diversity.
  • Try to find substitutes for metrics that are hard to determine.

Example: I like to read authors of a different nationality than myself. As I mentioned above, actually recording an author’s nationality can be tricky. Instead, this year I’ve switched to tracking only whether each book is translated fiction. Yes, this may lead me to underestimate the diversity of my reading, but it’s an easier metric to track and the underestimation is only likely to encourage me to search harder for diverse books.

  • Admit there are some things you just won’t know. Perhaps include an NA (not available) option in most of your categories, for when you just can’t find that information.
  • Consider limiting your tracking. For example, you could work on reading more books with LGBT characters this year or this month, then move on to translated fiction or author diversity later.
  • Find a convenient tracking system that works for you. The Ultimate Book Blogger plugin ($35) or web sites like goodreads will help you track some stats automatically. You can also use a spreadsheet for more customized tracking. I’ve switched to a template from Leah at Books Speak Volumes this year, because its on Google drive and accessible from anywhere. Much more convenient!

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to define some aspect of diverse reading you’d like to track, find a method of tracking it, and then share what you did in the comments. Be sure to also enter your info in the Rafflecopter giveaway below to be entered in a drawing for either a $10 Amazon gift card or a book costing no more than $10 from The Book Depository.


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19 Responses to “Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: Tracking Diverse Reading Stats”

    • DoingDewey

      I’ve always been too lazy to a do a book map, but it seems like a really fun idea! Tagging is something I should probably consider since it would help me get counts in a more automated way. I loved Tanya’s idea too!

    • DoingDewey

      Thanks Andi! I’m just now reading through all the comments and am also enjoying learning what everyone else is doing.

  1. Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf

    I read pretty diversely already, so I don’t actively track this. But it would be cool to look back and see all the nationalities I’ve read! I just installed UBB last week or so, so I’m going to check out its tracking features (I’m still getting to know this amazing plugin). Thanks for this challenge!
    Monika @ Lovely Bookshelf recently posted…Sunday Salon: A New Bookish ProjectMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      I enjoy knowing my stats just for fun as well as to track diversity too! And I’m loving the UBB, but I still don’t think I’m taking advantage of all the features.

  2. Vasilly

    For myself, reading diversely means people of color who live in the United States and around the world. I’m also trying to read more books by LGBTQ people and with LGBTQ characters. Plus, there’s also reading books translated into English. You can find a lot of really good books that way. I keep track by using Goodreads and having a “diversity” shelf. Nice challenge.
    Vasilly recently posted…Bloggiesta!My Profile

    • DoingDewey

      Sounds like a good definition to me 🙂 I’ve never really taken advantage of the goodreads shelves, but it’s a good idea. I think I could consolidate some of my tracking that way.

  3. Amber @ YA Indulgences

    Wow, I love this. This year is such a great one for diversity with the different races and sexual orientations coming about with authors AND characters. I’m going to definitely be tracking my diversity this year. 🙂

    I think I’m just going to make my own spreadsheet for this. It should be fun. Oh gosh, the word fun when talking of spreadsheets, what is the world coming to?

    Question, if starting this in March, would you include past books you’ve read this year in your tracking? 🙂
    Amber @ YA Indulgences recently posted…Top Books I Want To RevisitMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      Haha, I know, I always feel like a dork, but I really do get excited about stats. And I think you’re right about it being a good year for diverse reading. I don’t know if more diverse books are being published or if bloggers are just doing more to promote them, but I’m far more aware of diverse books this year than I have been in the past, so that’s great!

  4. Bex

    I was already tracking for authors with a different background than myself. My goal for this year is for one in every three books I read to be by a non British or American author, but after reading this post I’m adding a column for translated fiction, people of colour and religious background if available. Thanks!

    • DoingDewey

      Wow! That’s much more ambitious than I’ve been, but it’s a good idea. I’ve been so busy lately, I haven’t been planning my reading enough, but hopefully at the end of the semester I can take the time to select more books by authors who aren’t British or American.
      DoingDewey recently posted…Galileo’s Middle FingerMy Profile

  5. Kathy

    I’m pretty eclectic in my reading with regards to genre but not what I consider to be diverse with regard to author and “type of storyline” for lack of a better phrase. It’s my goal to diversify my reading this year, and I certainly want to be able to track it easily. I’m hoping this minichallenge will help me do just that.
    Kathy recently posted…Cover Reveal and Giveaway – Six Years by Stephanie WitterMy Profile

    • DoingDewey

      I think I’ve become a lot less diverse in my reading, genre-wise, since starting blogging. I’m trying very hard to be selective about the ARCs I request and that makes me stick to my favorite genres a bit more. I do think tracking my reading is helping me be more aware of and increase other kind of diversity, but I would actually like to get back to reading across genres more.

  1. Bloggiesta Mini Challenges Spring 2015 | Bloggiesta

    […] Lindsay from Nighttime Reading Center challenges us to Pin Your Author Interviews. Stacy at The Novel Life challenges us to find and listen to a Fun Book Podcast. Katie from Doing Dewey has a plan for tracking our Diversity Reading Goals. […]