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Reflection

Reading (and Purchase) Analysis 2010

Writing this entry is the most difficult thing I have to do this year, one that almost met its early death when my database containing my review ratings and pivot tables all done up on Microsoft Excel 2007 crashed two days ago when I am about to begin my year end reading analysis. 😦

It feels like dooms day.

But… never say die. I maintained another database which kept minimal entry on the book I have read and with that I spent one morning building a year’s worth of database again with extra fields, except for the review ratings of course. The last time I analysed on my corrupted database, I was able to correlate my ratings against author’s gender, against the length of books, against months, against anything that I wish to compare with, now I can’t, unless I look through all 80 entries of my reviews on the blog and input all the ratings into my spreadsheet. And… I am not going to do that. All my virtual TBR list built up in 2010 also went with the crash. Sigh… better luck next year.

The good news I am able to analyse a few basic stuff. I won’t hold anything against you if you like to skip reading some of my boring analytical stats and move on to the Books in 2010 meme! 😀

Reading analysis

Number of books read this year


My reading pattern remained fairly constant from Spring to Summer but went through a slump towards the autumn and winter months, I attribute the slump to my holiday plans in that period, as I scour travel guides and reading up on the historical background of the cities I have visited. But I read  21,187 pages this year, compared to 34,294 last year, it is 13,107 pages less than last year.

Male vs Female authors

I have managed to close the gaps between reading books written by male and female authors this year. Last year it was a 23% gap, this year it is 15%. A high 12% of my reading comes from novellas, books which contains less than 150 pages and that was my intent in the beginning of 2010.

New Authors

An amazing 66% of my reading this year goes to discovering books by new authors. It was fruitful as I have discovered many of my new favourite authors that expanded my 2nd read list.

Fiction vs Non-fiction

Although I valued researched, true stories non-fiction a lot more, it was my intention to read more fictional literature, a good 83% went to it, an increase of 12% from 2009.

Library loot vs reading from books owned or mooched

It is quite shocking to discover that although with the best intention of reading my own books, I ended up reading more from the library. More shocking it is to know that last year’s stats (91% from the library, 9% from own or mooched books) was exactly the same as this year!!! Déjà vu people, I think I should snap out of denial and stop looting from the library. 😉

Nationalities and Locations

I read authors from 18 nationalities but covered 30 different locations in its story setting. This is a new data included this year, hence no comparative trend.

Publishing edition

A great 67% goes to reading books published in the noughties (2000’s), but very few from current year edition, only 14 from 2010, and 7 from 2009. A conscious effort to read more classics constituted the rest of my reading and I intend to continue the trend for next year.

Translated fictions

A respective 39% of books I have read are translated fictions, I am inclined to increase that by 50:50 next year, but will see how it goes, as the books on my TBR shelves are more of non-translated ones.

Purchase Analysis

I purchased a staggering 104 books this year (and many more titles that I have not included in my list because I have either given them out as a gift or hope to keep and pass them on later). It costs me £99.83 in total which is not bad a haul, I gather.  The purchase climb steadily towards the summer, peak at the start of Autumn, take a dip when I was in vacation in October and retained its summer high in the winter months. 😉

My purchase came from many sources, Oxford Road in the city of Reading and my workplace in Bracknell constitute the majority of my purchase and both add up to be 61%. A good 13% came from Library withdrawn stocks. The rare titles, especially translated fictions are purchased through Amazon.co.uk, which provides the most competitive pricing ever in the market.

13% of the purchase are books that I have read and want to keep a copy of it, but the remaining ones are those that I hope to read next year.

Phew, so much for stats, lets do a meme similar to the tradition of the Oscar awards:

Books in 2010
  1. Best Book of 2010: Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick (the book affected me so much that I thought it is one that everyone should read).
  2. Worst  Book of 2010: Black Mamba Boy by Nadifa Mohamed. I couldn’t finish it because I thought the writing was bad and none of the characters interest me.
  3. Most Disappointing Book of 2010: Rabbit Run by John Updike. A book that won the Pulitzer prize and went on to many sequels should be a great read but I feel the book didn’t live up to the recommendation and the praise. It is lewd, senseless and the protagonist is such a loser. Someone had kindly told me that this book is more of a guy’s book and I agreed. Other disappointing books are Bel Canto by Ann Patchett, The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters, The Gathering by Anne Enright and Life and time of Michael K by J.M.  Coetzee, the last two almost made me want to give up pursuing my Man Booker Prize winners project.
  4. Most Surprising (in a good way) Book of 2010: The Silver Lining Playbook by Matthew Quick it was surprisingly hilarious, with a heart.
  5. Book You Recommended the Most to People in 2010: The Islamist by Ed Husain. And Where in the world is Osama Bin Laden? (book review to follow) by Morgan Spurlock which produced a documentary of the same name. With so much misunderstanding in the world about Islam and the Jihadists, these two books offer great insights in understanding how different Muslims around the world are and what they think about Islam and the extremists who terrorise the world in the name of the religion.
  6. Favourite New Authors Discovered in 2010: So many new authors discovered, and a lot of them are ranked as my favourites. Henning Mankell, YiYun Li, Ian McEwan, Yukio Mishima, Daphne Du Maurier, Banana Yoshimoto, Albert Camus, Xinran, Jeanette Winterson, Hermann Hesse.
  7. Most Hilarious Read of 2010: Mini-Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella and The Silver Lining Playbook by Matthew Quick, both had me laughing in stitches and they are a joy to read.
  8. Most Thrilling Unputdownable Read of 2010: The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  9. Books You Most Anticipated in 2010: I am not the sort of readers who look at what’s about to publish and do pre-order. I am more of a “The last person on the universe who read this book” sort of person, so I am happier to keep a look out on classics that I have missed. So no book on my list qualifies for this one.
  10. Favourite Cover of a Book You Read in 2010: Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas. It was the cover of this book that attracted me to pick this up.
  11. Most Memorable Character of 2010: La Prisonniere by Malika Oufkir, Malika and family survived 20 years in incarceration, her courage humbles me. Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa – the harrowing experience of Mari in Hotel Iris haunts me no end.
  12. Most Beautifully Written Book of 2010: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima. The prose is heartbreakingly beautiful, absolutely beautiful.
  13. Book That Had the Greatest Impact on You in 2010: Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
  14. Book You Can’t Believe You Waited Until 2010 to Read: Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier. I should have discovered Du Maurier sooner!

My Top 10 Read of the year:

  1. Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick
  2. After the Banquet by Yukio Mishima
  3. The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Yukio Mishima
  4. Disgrace, J.M. Coetzee
  5. The Islamist, Ed Husain.
  6. La Prisonniere by Malika Oufkir
  7. The Silver Lining Playbook, Matthew Quick
  8. Siddhartha, Hermann Hesse
  9. Oranges are not the only fruits, Jeanette Winterson
  10. Sputnik Sweetheart by Haruki Murakami

Other noteworthy titles read this year:

  1. Ghostwritten, David Mitchell
  2. Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie
  3. The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Milan Kundera
  4. A Thousand Good Years of Prayers, YiYun Li
  5. Yalo by Elias Khoury
  6. The Outsider by Albert Camus (other title : Le E’stranger, The Stranger)

Other useless stats, if you care to read, include:

  • Total books acquired: 104 books
  • Total Books Read: 89 (8 not reviewed, excluding 1 abandoned book, read 3 books less than last year)
  • Total Books Skim Read: 8 books, many of them are travel guides.
  • Total Books Abandoned: 3 books.
  • Total Books Reviewed: 80 (90%)
  • Total Pages Read: 21,187 compared to 34,294 last year (13,107 pages less)
    Thicksters (400+ pages): 4 (4.5%) (thickest being Midnight’s Children at 647 pages)
  • Same Year (2010) Edition: 14 (15.7%)
  • Books by same Authors (more than 2 books in the span of one year): F. Scott Fitzgerald, Graham Greene, Haruki Murakami, Yoko Ogawa, Banana Yoshimoto, Daphne Du Maurier, David Malouf, Xinran, Milan Kundera, Yukio Mishima, Jeanette Winterson.

Reference : 2009 Year End Reading analysis

Some disclaimer:

  • Number of books read exclude abandoned books and graphic novels.
  • Number of pages is not a good gauge of reading efficiency, as pages varied by font size and spacing. A little book doesn’t mean I am reading less, a big book doesn’t mean I’m reading a lot more. Although Midnight’s Children, is one hell of a long read this year.
  • The effectiveness of reading is not being measured.

What do I think about 2010?

I think it’s a good year. I finished 89 books without skim reading, hosted the Read-A-Myth Challenge, hosted Midnight’s Children read-along and finished 8 out of 10 reading challenges.

Plans for 2011?

Well, I have decided not to make any resolution next year, be it personal or reading resolution because I’m hopeless in keeping them! 😀 In principle, I am going to read more from my own shelves. I have signed up for two TBR challenges so that would give me a push to read from my own shelves.

There may be new opportunities, new priorities that take over reading next year. I hope there is a year in the future that I will finish a 100 books!

I am grateful for everyone who reads or follows my blog. May this new year brings you new hope, blue skies and nice things. Happy New Year to you!😀

Reference : 2009 Year End Reading analysis

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About JoV

A bookaholic that went out of control.... I eat, sleep and breathe books. Well, lately I do other stuff.

Discussion

39 thoughts on “Reading (and Purchase) Analysis 2010

  1. You didn’t like ‘The Little Stranger’? I read it in 2009 and I thought it was quite an interesting read. I don’t think we had ‘met’ when you reviewed this book, otherwise we would have definitely had a discussion about the book.

    Nothing to Envy is going on my TBR list.

    Posted by anaamica | December 31, 2010, 4:11 am
    • Ana, I didn’t like ‘The Little Stranger’ maybe because I went in having high expectation of Sarah Waters, but I am not giving up on her yet, I’ll read her better novels like Fingersmith or Nightwatch! (I think we had the discussion about ‘Little Stranger’).

      Posted by JoV | December 31, 2010, 12:01 pm
  2. That looks like a lot of work! I liked the way you divided your reads by decade – mine are categorised 21stC, 20thC, 19thC, 18thC and BC!

    Happy New Year, and best wishes for 2011 🙂

    Posted by Tony | December 31, 2010, 5:30 am
    • Tony, LOL… I haven’t read so widely to be able to divide them in centuries!! Imagine I would have to read Don Quitoxe, Cervantes, to be able to go that way back in pre-1700’s! 😀

      Happy New Year and best wishes to you and family too!

      Posted by JoV | December 31, 2010, 12:04 pm
  3. Ohh Bracknell is a great place for buying cheap books – I often pop over there myself and always come back with a bag full 🙂

    Disgrace is the only book on your list that I have read, but I loved it. I’m impressed by the number of Japanese books that you’ve read this year. I hope to read a few of your suggestions next year. Have a wonderful 2011!

    Posted by Jackie (Farm Lane Books) | December 31, 2010, 9:18 am
    • Jackie, you have been to Bracknell before?!! Did you visit the Thames Hospice? They are the people who let me walk away with 10 of Du Maurier collection with unbeatable price! I always come back with a bag full too from Bracknell. Do scour the library withdrawn stocks, they have good one there. We should meet up for tea in Bracknell! 😀
      Thanks for your kind words Jackie. I am picking up from your top 10, I’ll pop over to drop a comment tonight when I have time… Have a wonderful 2011 too Jackie! 🙂

      Posted by JoV | December 31, 2010, 12:07 pm
  4. Jo, your diagrams and graphs are so impressive! 🙂 And you read so many great books and also wrote a ton of reviews, wow!

    Hope you manage to read more from your own books next year (esp. the du Maurier books 😉 ) and I’m cheering you on for reading 100 in 2011! You can do it! You had a fantastic reading year and I’m sure it’ll only get better next year!

    Posted by Bina | December 31, 2010, 10:45 am
    • Aww.. thanks Bina.. I do graphs for a living, that’s why. 😉 Thank you so much for your company and encouragement, won’t be where I am with the challenges without you! 😉

      Posted by JoV | December 31, 2010, 12:08 pm
  5. Love love your round up wish I had ability to do it but not so technically gifted I read 127 books longest was don Quixote and books from 61 nationalities ,all best for 2011 stu

    Posted by winstonsdad | December 31, 2010, 11:31 am
    • Stu, thanks for the kind words Stu, you can send your database to me and I’ll be happy to do up the analysis for you, seriously. It’s truly amazing you manage to read 127 books!! and from 61 nationalities too! Awesome. All the best for 2011 to you too. 😀

      Posted by JoV | December 31, 2010, 12:12 pm
  6. Haha your diagrams are amazing and some what put my computer skills to shame. 89 books is very impressive, I managed 48 rather upset I couldn’t manage to round it off to 50!

    I agree that The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters was a disappointment. I’m planning on doing this meme next week, so watch this space 🙂

    Posted by jessicabookworm | December 31, 2010, 11:52 am
    • Jessica, aww.. don’t be too hard on yourself Jess, you had to work most of the time and watch interesting TV programs. I will be watching out for your meme, can’t wait! 😉

      Posted by JoV | December 31, 2010, 12:13 pm
  7. Wow, such an impressive posting! I may print it out and put it up by my computer for inspiration! Great books, great charts….

    Happy New Year to you – it has been so much fun spending time with you (virtually) this year, and I look forward to another year of doing so!

    Posted by rhapsodyinbooks | December 31, 2010, 12:46 pm
    • Rhapsody in books, Jill,
      Awww….. thanks, you are so sweet! I had so much fun with you. Your comments always made me smile. I look forward to another year of fun with you! 😀

      Posted by JoV | December 31, 2010, 9:07 pm
  8. Wow ! This is one of the BEST year-end wrap ups I have ever read ! Well done !
    Since I need to do my own top ten etc. I’m very thankful I can use yours as a learning tool to teach and inspire me.
    Well done !!!

    Posted by maphead | December 31, 2010, 4:45 pm
    • Maphead, thank you so much for your kind words!!! If my database didn’t crash, I might be able to gain more insights into my ratings vs other reading attributes. Hope I’ll be able to pull that off next year…. 😀

      Posted by JoV | December 31, 2010, 9:09 pm
  9. If this is what you can do after your database has crashed I can only imagine what you could produce if you had all your data. Very impressive charts and analysis indeed.

    I hope 2011 is another great reading year for you, and that your database never crashes again

    Posted by bernadetteinoz | January 1, 2011, 12:55 pm
  10. Wow! I am seriously impressed. I would love to keep a database/spreadsheet of some sort to keep track of all my book and reading stats, but I’m not sure where to start. What software do you use, for example? Maybe you could write a brief post about the mechanics of it and perhaps show a screenshot or something to give an idea of how to set it up? I know that I, for one, would find this incredibly usefull!

    Posted by Rebecca | January 1, 2011, 1:03 pm
  11. Good Lord. Look at all the pie charts and tart charts you have!

    Wow.

    I am speechless.

    So, belong these charts and numbers, I would like to see forecast please.

    Hehehe.

    PS. You are amazing!

    Posted by Wilfrid | January 1, 2011, 1:55 pm
  12. Very impressive translated literature stats! You’ve got a lot of variety in terms of language, country and story setting in your reading – I’m envious. An interesting view of book size, too. I’d never have thought to look at the length of a book as a measure, but your graph implies that perhaps I should think about it some more… Fascinating stats!

    Posted by Biblibio | January 2, 2011, 8:27 pm
    • Thanks Biblibio for your kind words. There are so much that can be measured. Unfortunately my database crashed, as I said I was religiously tracking my own review ratings for 2010 and that would have gave some insights into what I like and do not like to read against the many attributes / fields currently analysed. 😉

      Posted by JoV | January 2, 2011, 9:58 pm
  13. I am seriously in awe of the bloggers who are able to make such excellent, aesthetically pleasing charts and graphs to keep track of their stats. I admire you. :p Happy New Year!

    Posted by Jenny | January 3, 2011, 1:34 am
    • Awww… Jenny… thanks so much. If I wasn’t doing charts, I would love to be a graphic designer. I came from a family of artistic people (that got stuck in mundane jobs!).. :p Happy New Year Jenny, all the best, joy and happiness and peace in the new year! 😀

      Posted by JoV | January 3, 2011, 1:39 am
  14. Oooh Mee loves all these charts! I sort of thought about it for a second, but then gave the idea up lol. I might add a couple more stats to my own post later that I missed (like library/own percentage, and translated works). Great work Jo! I hope to tackle Mishima, Nothing to Envy, and Winterson this year. Cross fingers 2011 is the year!

    Posted by mee | January 4, 2011, 2:37 am
  15. Wonderful post, Jo! 89 books is quite impressive! Congratulations!

    I loved the fact that inspite of buying 104 books, you read only around 9 of them and the rest were all library books! Your TBR pile must be toppling! I thought I was the only guy who was buying books without reading them. I am glad to be in your company now 🙂

    I haven’t heard of ‘Nothing to Envy’ by Barbara Demick. Thanks for mentioning her book. If it is your favourite of the year, it must be wonderful. I will add it to my TBR list and search for it.

    Your list of most disappointing books of 2010 looks like the who’s who of the literary world 🙂 Someone might make a TBR list out of it 🙂 On a more serious note, I agree with you – sometimes hyped prize winning books are disappointing when we get to read them after a lot of high expectations. It feels bad when they turn out to be duds. I remember reading ‘The Great Gatsby’ many years back, and I didn’t find anything special in the book (though it has got raving reviews everywhere). I thought that maybe my reading taste was not sophisticated and maybe I liked only traditional plots. But during the same period I read ‘Of Human Bondage’ by Somerset Maugham and ‘Fiesta : The Sun Also Rises’ by Ernest Hemingway and loved both of them. So I concluded that ‘The Great Gatsby’ just didn’t work for me.

    Glad to know that you enjoyed Sophie Kinsella’s ‘Mini Shopaholic’. Have you read her ‘The Undomestic Goddess’? It is a wonderful book about a lawyer who is too busy with her work to learn how to manage her home or learn cooking and how she handles life when a crisis lands up at her door and she has to learn cooking.

    Wonderful to also know that you are narrowing the gap between male and female authors. This year by some quirk, I read more female authors than male authors 🙂 Your diversity in terms of the nationality of the authors you read is quite impressive!

    Hope you are having a wonderful start to 2010! Happy Reading!

    Posted by Vishy | January 11, 2011, 12:03 pm
    • Vishy, LOL.. you are not the only one. I buy books without reading most of them. This year will be the year that would change! There are quite a few hyped up books which I didn’t like, off my head I could think of “The Other Hand” by Chris Cleave. It was good but not fantastic. Nick Hornsby is another one, although to be fair I only read only “Juliet, Naked” and not sure what’s the hype all about. ‘The Great Gatsby’ is one too, which I totally agree with you.

      Strange that you mentioned “The Undomestic Goddess” because I finished a draft review of it last Sunday but wanted to complete another book review before I published UG! LOL.. I didn’t know you read UG too! What a surprise!! 😀 Stay tuned for my review soon (until I find time to finish the other one). All along I have been reading more male authors’ books more than female authors, not sure why, perhaps I read more masculine subject matter or maybe I’m not good in looking out for female authors who writes masculine subject matters! LOL… I do wish to keep the balance, but it’s not really important. More important for me is to read geographically diverse novels, both for settings and origin of authors.

      Thank you so much for your kind words. and long comment Vishy! thank you also for taking your time to be here. 😀

      Posted by JoV | January 12, 2011, 9:09 pm
  16. Fantastic post and stats! I love stats 🙂 So sorry to hear that your database crashed, that would be horrifying! I’m umm… backing up all my stuff now actually 😀 Happy 2011!

    Posted by amymckie | January 12, 2011, 1:41 am
    • Hey Amy, thanks for being here! You really got to back up. I thought Excel 2007 is reliable, it is horrifying to know that it can be corrupted. I think it’s the pivot tables that messed it up. I am not sure what I’ll do if I don’t have any records at all! Happy 2011 to you too! A January born child always start the new year with new found maturity than their peers! 😀

      Posted by JoV | January 12, 2011, 9:16 pm
  17. It’s difficult to find well-informed people for this subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks

    Posted by Friendly Article Directory | January 5, 2013, 6:41 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Pingback: 2012 Year End Reading (and Purchase) Analysis! « JoV's Book Pyramid - December 30, 2012

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Ratings Defined

0 = Abandon the book after first chapter

1 = Waste of paper, we will see what the environmentalist say about this!

2 = Skip it, read the book if you have got nothing better to do

2.5 = An average book, easily forgettable.

3 = A good read.

3.5 = A good entertaining read, a page-turner

4 = So glad that I read the book, a book with substance and invaluable for future reference

4.5 = So glad that I read the book, would pester everyone to read it, invaluable, I would want to own it and wouldn't mind a second read (something that I seldom do)

5 = The book is so good that I feel like I am on scale 4 and 4.5, and more, it blew me away and lingers on my head for weeks!

Books Read

JoV's bookshelf: read
Hold Tight
The Fault in Our Stars
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon
The Thief
Mockingjay
Catching Fire
A Tale for the Time Being
Into the Darkest Corner
The Liars' Gospel
Goat Mountain
Strange Weather In Tokyo
Strange Shores
And the Mountains Echoed
Ten White Geese
One Step Too Far
The Innocents
The General: The ordinary man who became one of the bravest prisoners in Guantanamo
White Dog Fell from the Sky
A Virtual Love
The Fall of the Stone City


JoV's favorite books »
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old-books

Reading, after a certain age, diverts the mind too much from its creative pursuits. Any man who reads too much and uses his own brain too little falls into lazy habits of thinking. - Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)

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