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Reflection

Year End Reading (and Purchase) Analysis 2011!

It’s the time of the year again where I put up my fancy charts and report on what I read for the year!

I am quite a geek so I love doing up fancy charts. Humour me if you could just read some of my book stats, otherwise go to my next section and read my disappointing and favourite books of the year.

Past years analysis:

Reading and Purchase Analysis 2010

Reading habit analysis for 2009

Number of books read this year

This shows that the number of books read per year has slowly dwindled. I did a last minute sprint in December so that I finished a commendable 80 books read this year. This stats do not include books which I skimmed read, did not finished nor graphic novels.

Books read by month follows an erratic trend of peaks and troughs and for the past 3 years, I generally read more during summer read a lot less towards the year and notably in October and February this year. This December has been exceptional for me due to the fact I wanted to do one last sprint and increase the amount of book read.

Number of pages read

As you can see, a decline of the number of books read do not necessarily mean less pages read. I may read 2 books less than last year but in terms of pages I read 1628 extra. The peak and trough of the two charts do not correspond. It is interesting isn’t it? But the debate goes on about the size of print and line spacing of the book actually distort how much effort has gone into reading the books. I’m not going there.

Male vs Female Authors

For the past 3 years, it’s has been a consistent 60-40 read on Male and Female author with the bigger chunk going to male authors. I have not deliberate on reading authors based on their genders but every year it seems to produce similar results.

As you may recall, last year my database crashed and there goes my individual rating of books read in 2010 with it. This year, with the rating compared against other attributes I’m able to gain more insights into my own reading style and surprise myself along the way!

As this table shows, as the male rating line climbs on top of the female line (pun not intended!) this is due to the higher amount of Male authors books read but female and male authors share an equal percentage of 34% and 33% on books rated 4.5 stars and above. It is evidently true that I tend to rate the work of male authors higher than their female counterparts, but when it comes to high scores, I’m gender blind.  I think as I grow older and due to my profession, I tend to use my left brain a little more than my emotional right brain, therefore the work of male authors appeal to me, as most of the non-fiction writers.

Fiction vs Non-fiction

Non-fiction read for the past 3 years has not break through the 30% line. I have no intention of increasing non-fiction read, as much as I love them. Perhaps targeting non-fiction read at 40% would be ideal for me.

Library loot vs reading from my shelf

For the past 2 years I have been bad in reading from my own shelf but this year I saw an increase of 12% in reading from my own shelf to 31%, which is a huge surprise for me. Next year I target to do 15% but with an added challenge of 15% over and above my TBR pile. Any new purchase of books will render my 15% unattainable.


The 31% from my own shelf provided the highest rating of 44% with 4.5 stars and above. What the stats reveal is my book buying habit. I’m experimental with library loans but when it comes to buying my own books I only select what I think is a ‘good’ book, which produces an overall more satisfying read.

New Authors

I’m quite experimental in my reading and every year at least 65% of books read are written by new authors. But when it comes to giving them a high-score I’m even handed for both new and read before authors, giving it a 35%-32% scores for 4.5 stars and above.

Published editions

A big portion of 75% books read this year is published from 2000’s onwards. There was no deliberate effort to read the classics this year and I’m not sure if next year is the year either.

% Translated fictions

This year saw a decrease in reading of translated work. My main source of translated books are translated from Arabic or Japanese.  There is an increase of reading Scandinavian fiction this year, thanks to uncovering some good detective stories from the Nordic and Zee’s Nordic challenge also created the impetus to read from there. 30% feels like the right ratio for my reading profile, as my main objective is still not to lose out on great many books that are published in the English language. Who knows perhaps it may come a day when I decided to read only translated fiction.

Nationalities and Locations

Very similar to last year, I have read authors from 22 different nationalities with 34 different country settings. The new peak for this year is from Scandinavian authors.

Purchase

This chart is a reality check and a reminder that I should cut down on buying books next year.

I thought I bought less than last year, but my number count is 143 books purchased this year an increase of 27 (143 minus 116) of 2010! (I’m shock!) This excludes 15 books that I received as a gift, reviewed copies and mooched, makes total 158 books acquired, with total spending of £164.20.

Books in 2011

1. Best Book of 2011In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar

2. Worst Book of 2011: 2666 by Roberto Bolano

3. Most Disappointing Book of 2011Room by Emma Donoghue

4. Most Surprising (in a good way) Book of 2011: The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim by Jonathan Coe. I didn’t expect it to be entertaining and heart warming as it did.

5. Book You Recommended the Most to People in 2011I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti

6. Favourite New Authors Discovered in 2011: Hisham Matar, Linda Grant, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Jonathan Coe, Shuichi Yoshida, Richard Yates, Jeffrey Eugenides

7. Most Hilarious Read of 2011: An Idiot Abroad by Karl Pilkington. I would not recommend his earlier books but this travel adventures set up by Ricky Gervais and Steve Merchant had be laughing till my tummy aches!

8. Most Thrilling Unputdownable Read of 2011: Bringing Down The House by Ben Mezrich and Death in Perugia by John Follain.

9.            Favourite Cover of a Book You Read in 2011Legend of Suicide by David Vann

11.          Most Memorable Character of 2011: Calliope Stephanides of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

12.          Most Beautifully Written Book of 2011In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar

13.          Book That Had the Greatest Impact on You in 2011: Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates.  A book any upward mobile, ambitious young couple would relate to.

14.          Book You Can’t Believe You Waited Until 2011 to Read:  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Most of you would have read it when you have an outburst of pimples during your adolescence! I waited too long. 😦

My Top 10 Fiction Read of the year:

  1. In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar
  2. Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
  3. Villain by Shuichi Yoshida
  4. The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  5. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  6. The Slap by Chistos Tsiolkas
  7. The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim by Jonathan Co
  8. Woman With Birthmark by Håkan Nesser
  9. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  10. When I Lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant

My Top 5 Non-Fiction Read of the year:

  1. I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti
  2. Bringing Down The House by Ben Mezrich
  3. Underground by Haruki Murakami
  4. An Idiot Abroad by Karl Pilkington
  5. Death in Perugia by John Follain

What do I think about 2011?

I think it’s been a good year despite my initial intention of not reading too much due to the new career change at the beginning of the year which is 10 times more demanding. But it also goes to show if you really love reading, you will always find time to read a book.

2011 is the year I discovered the beauty of Nordic literature and finished a few more Murakami books. It is also a year I discover Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Nigerian literature thanks to Amy@Amy Reads. The only regret I had was not being able to finish the TBR pile that I set out in the beginning of the year but I’ll carry forward them over to 2012 and hopefully finish the new list of 12 TBR next year.

For books read in 2011, see 2011-read review index

Plans for 2011?

The conclusion is: I will continue my current trend of gender read, % of translated fiction, % non-fiction books and % of new authors. I hope to increase the frequency of reading from my own shelf and I expect to read more chunksters than before, which will increase the number of books read of more than 450 pages.

If you remember Venn diagram while in school, you will know that the Venn set and subsets diagram and the size of population is the best way to depict the proportion of subject matters being analysed. So my reading plan for 2012 will look like this!

This gives me a snapshot of what I wanted to read next year. Assuming the total population of books I read will be fiction, the non-fiction circle excludes the lot. The overlaps between Crime and non-fiction will be true crime. I would like to read some crime fiction for Nordic and Japanese lit but would love to explore non-crime related fiction of these genre. Memoir is a smaller subset than my total non-fiction read which is aligned to the Non-Fiction Non-memoir that I signed up to, so on and so forth. South Asian will be heavily featured next year.

What do I think about you readers?

I think you are awesome!!!

Do write in and share with us your plans for next year.

I am eternally grateful for everyone of you who reads or follows my blog. I hope this new year will be the year all your wishes came true. Happy New Year to you and have a good one. 😀

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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

41 thoughts on “Year End Reading (and Purchase) Analysis 2011!

  1. I love your year-end posts! You are just beyond amazing! I hope they give you many raises at work in the new year!!!

    Posted by rhapsodyinbooks | January 1, 2012, 12:53 am
  2. I love your fancy charts and report. Meticulous and analytical. Cool !!! 🙂

    Posted by Ting | January 1, 2012, 3:37 am
  3. I am so impressed with your amazing statistics. You are putting the rest of us to shame:)

    Wishing you and everyone close to you, good health and happiness in the New Year. I am so happy i discovered your blog when I did.

    Posted by Diane@BibliophileBytheSea | January 1, 2012, 4:05 am
    • Diane,
      Aww.. don’t be. It’s just my way of analysing my own reading habits. I wish you and your loved one joy and happiness in the New Year as well. Thanks for hosting TBR, I suck at it this year, I’ll do better next! I’m happy that I discovered your blog too. 🙂

      Posted by JoV | January 1, 2012, 8:13 pm
  4. Now if you spent that time on reading rather than stats, you’d be up to 100 easily next year 😉

    Posted by Tony | January 1, 2012, 5:02 am
    • Tony,
      Yeah right. and spend time writing short reviews that I’ll forget what I read few years on. Maybe that way I’ll hit 100 a year. 😦
      Nice try, but I rather do stats. 🙂

      Posted by JoV | January 1, 2012, 8:14 pm
  5. I am in awe of your superior statistical analysis and chart creation. I have my “2011 charts” post half-drafted but it’s not nearly as comprehensive as this. I can’t decide which chart I like most but I do love that venn diagram for your 2012 predictions.

    I’ve only read 2 of your favourite fiction reads and I too liked Villain very much (I read it last year) but didn’t like The Slap at all but I know I’m in the minority.

    I’m cutting down on challenges and planning for my reading this year but I would like to read more non-fiction that isn’t for work in addition to completing the Australian Women Writers challenge and knocking a few books off my TBR.

    Wishing you a great year for 2012 and hope that however many books you read they are all good.

    Now I’m going away to work on my charts 🙂

    Posted by bernadetteinoz | January 1, 2012, 8:08 am
    • Oh Bernadette,
      It’s not a competition! As long as you master pivot table, it does all the work for you. Excel 2007 is pretty quick and fast when it comes to charting. I look forward to your non-fiction reviews and your charts!

      Wishing you a great year too, and may 2012 be the year that you amaze yourself in your reading achievements! 😀

      Posted by JoV | January 1, 2012, 8:17 pm
  6. Great post, Jo. I love stats! I didn’t keep track of most variables like you do, so I can’t make such fancy charts of my reading adventure this year. I wonder what job you do, now (after seeing these charts). 🙂

    Buying 143 books and reading 80 tells you something! I don’t think I need to spell it out. Good luck with tackling the TBR pile.

    Posted by Judith / Leeswammes | January 1, 2012, 10:48 am
    • Judith,
      I need someone like you to give it a kick on my backside and to say it like it is!
      Yes buying 143 books and reading 80 is not good, not good at all! 😦

      Let’s just say I work in an analytical job, which involves looking at data sometimes but not all the time.

      Thanks for your best wishes. I hope you have a good year too Judith! Thanks for being here all the time.

      Posted by JoV | January 1, 2012, 8:20 pm
  7. Agreed, these are great stats. I reviewed 128 books in 2011 but read quite a few I did not review as well (eg the Palliser novels of Trollope – what could I add more than 100 years later?!). I don’t break down things as much as you or Bernadette but I love looking at the stats. And your blog has recently changed its look, hasn’t it? Very nice indeed.

    Posted by Maxine | January 1, 2012, 1:13 pm
    • Maxine,
      Thanks for your kind words. You are the only one that noticed the change of the look of my blog! Yes, I did it yesterday and was working past new year when the New Year fireworks were firing away! On the contrary, I can’t let any books read without reviewing them but it can get too much sometimes.

      Posted by JoV | January 1, 2012, 8:22 pm
  8. Fantastic analysis Jo! I like your new layout too. Happy New Year – wishing you a fantastic year of reading in 2012.

    In the Country of Men is high on my reading list for this year – I thought Anatomy of a Disappearance was such a beautiful book.

    Posted by Tracey | January 1, 2012, 8:52 pm
  9. Wow ! Amazing ! Can I just outource you all my raw data and have you produce all of these impressive graphs and such ? Unbelievable !!! Well done !

    Posted by maphead | January 1, 2012, 10:16 pm
  10. Wow – I am in awe. Such detailed stats! I think I can only dream of ever doing anything like that. Happy new year!

    Posted by Belle Wong | January 2, 2012, 3:52 am
  11. Happy New Year, Jo!

    This is a really nerdy post 🙂 Lots of awesome numbers and statistics and graphs! Loved them! Sorry to know that you didn’t like Emma Donoghue’s ‘Room’ (it is one of my favourite books). But glad to know that you didn’t like Bolano’s ‘2666’. I have the book on my shelf, but I don’t think I will read it. Life is too short to spend on chunksters which one might not like. Nice to see Linda Grant’s ‘When I Lived in Modern Times’ in your top-10 list. It is one of my favourite books.

    I love the new look-and-feel of your blog. It looks cool 🙂

    Congratulations on a wonderful reading year in 2011! Hope you have a wonderful reading year in 2012 too!

    Posted by Vishy | January 2, 2012, 3:08 pm
    • Vishy,
      Happy New Year to you too! It’s tough for me to have a book on my shelf and not read it, try it out who knows you may like it?
      Thanks for the compliment of the new look. I thought I opt for a magazine look of the blog and hopefully make the pages more accessible.

      Hope you have a wonderful reading year in 2012 too!

      Posted by JoV | January 3, 2012, 8:19 am
  12. lovely stats and great amount of lit in translation Jov ,wish I kept records so well but not my thing ,all the best stu

    Posted by winstonsdad | January 2, 2012, 11:25 pm
  13. Amazing – I have never seen anything like this before. I’ve bookmarked it as an example of what I can do next year. Quite incredible. And a commendable reading history too.

    Posted by Tom Cunliffe | January 3, 2012, 9:16 am
  14. Jo, I bow to your charting skills. I have yet to see another blogger who got their reading sorted out this well!
    I haven’t really set any major goals for this year. Perhaps to purchase less books than in 2011 (making the most of my library membership), but erm, I probably will never top your high score 😉 Also, I’m hoping to read 120 books, 20 more than last year.

    Posted by Chinoiseries | January 3, 2012, 8:30 pm
    • Chinoiseries,
      Thanks for your kind words.
      I think 120 books a year is so so ambitious for me. I can’t even exceed 100. But if I aim to exceed, I think the only strategy is to quit my job, read full time, no TV for a year, and choose small books!

      p/s: Not even doing stats! 😉

      Posted by JoV | January 5, 2012, 10:56 pm
  15. It does amuse me how 80 books is not a great year for you, for me that sounds amazing, but everyone reads at a different pace.

    I have similar goals to you for next year. Need to continue working on my tbr shelf and would love to read more non-fiction.

    p.s. love your new blog theme by the way 🙂

    Posted by jessicabookworm | January 4, 2012, 5:55 pm
  16. Wow! This is the most comprehensive set of reading stats I’ve ever seen! I especially love the way you graph how enjoyable each reading source is – I’d love to know things like that about my own reading choices. Are bloggers really recommending my favourites – or do I blindly pick great books from the library?

    Glad to see the Matar top of your list. It was one of my favourites too.

    Have a wonderful 2012!

    Posted by farmlanebooks | January 5, 2012, 2:55 pm
    • Jackie,
      Thanks. I think since dabbling with stats on my last job I began to have higher respect for it and it does reveal surprising insights and challenges some of the myth and beliefs we have about our reading habits as well. I’m glad that you read Anatomy of Disappearance last year too, hope you read In the Country of Men soon!

      Have a wonderful 2012 too Jackie.

      Posted by JoV | January 5, 2012, 11:03 pm
  17. 80 books?? wow!!! I feel like a snail!! That’s amazing Jo.

    I like your 14 list,I should have made that too alongside my top-5 book list. Maybe I’ll do that next year. I also read To Kill A Mockingbird last year and the impact on me wasn’t as great as everyone. It’s a fun read but not that memorable…for me.

    The graphs look so sophisticated. I think I still need to read more female writers.

    Overall…Great post Jo 🙂

    Posted by Novroz | January 8, 2012, 4:07 pm
    • Thanks Novroz.

      I think making a list like that gives me focus. I tend to choose the hard going books and give myself a push to read them. I always find myself rewarded by reading some of these great works last year I hope this year is another chance I would finish reading what’s on the list.

      Posted by JoV | January 8, 2012, 8:10 pm
  18. Oh, this is amazing!!! I love Excel spreadsheets!

    Would it be horribly cheeky to ask if you have a template spreadsheet for this, so I could fill it with my own data?

    My numbers are definitely lower than yours, though 🙂

    I do think a lot about this male/female ratio. I want to be gender-blind but sometimes it doesn’t quite work out.

    Posted by Kinga | January 10, 2012, 1:59 pm
  19. Good Lord. Could we arrange a call to run through the slides? I mean … wow. That is a lot of charting skill! I shall outsource my data points for you to churn out some pretty charts 🙂

    Amazing. That is quite a feat … I mean the reading.

    Posted by Wilfrid | January 10, 2012, 2:13 pm
  20. This is such a fantastic roundup!!! I am beyond impressed at how much analysis you did of your reading. I still haven’t managed to post anything for myself but do plan on it. Congrats on such a really fantastic year. I’m so glad you joined in on some Nigerian reading too 🙂

    Happy 2012!

    Posted by amymckie | January 20, 2012, 4:23 pm
    • Amy,
      Thanks for catching up on my past blog posts! I think such analysis still manage to surprise me and break my own reading and book buying assumptions! I enjoyed the Nigerian read. Happy 2012 to you too! 🙂

      Posted by JoV | January 21, 2012, 10:48 am

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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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