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:
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.
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.
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.
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 2011: In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar
2. Worst Book of 2011: 2666 by Roberto Bolano
3. Most Disappointing Book of 2011: Room 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 2011: I 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!
9. Favourite Cover of a Book You Read in 2011: Legend of Suicide by David Vann
11. Most Memorable Character of 2011: Calliope Stephanides of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
12. Most Beautifully Written Book of 2011: In 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:
- In the Country of Men by Hisham Matar
- Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
- Villain by Shuichi Yoshida
- The Thing Around Your Neck by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
- Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
- The Slap by Chistos Tsiolkas
- The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim by Jonathan Co
- Woman With Birthmark by Håkan Nesser
- Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
- When I Lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant
My Top 5 Non-Fiction Read of the year:
- I Saw Ramallah by Mourid Barghouti
- Bringing Down The House by Ben Mezrich
- Underground by Haruki Murakami
- An Idiot Abroad by Karl Pilkington
- 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. 😀