Thursday, January 1, 2009

Year In Review: 2008 By The Numbers

Librarians love statistics, and I'm no exception. Which is probably why I've been keeping track of my reading for the last several years. I keep a fairly bare-bones style spreadsheet, and given how faulty my memory is on most days, it helps me keep track of it all. To start off my series of posts about my reading year that was 2008, I thought I'd start off by discussing the numbers.

I only read 64 books this past year. Sigh, yeah that's it. Only 64. I struggled all year long with my mojo, and I'm not sure why. As you'll see further down in this post, it's not because I was reading crap books. I read a lot of really good ones this year. By comparison, this is what I've done in years past.

Total Books Read:
2005 = 105
2006 = 95
2007 = 72
2008 = 64

My goal for this year is to kick my ass into gear and get my numbers up again. 64 is measly, even by my slow reading standards.

So what exactly did I read? Here's a breakdown by genre, keeping in mind that I tend to classify books with multiple tags (so this will show more than 64 items!)

Mystery/Suspense/Crime = 12
Westerns = 12
Series (Harlequin) = 14
Chick Lit = 1
Romantic Suspense = 5
Erotica/Erotic Romance = 6
Paranormal Romance = 2
Young Adult = 1
Anthologies = 2
Historicals = 36
Short Stories = 6
English Historicals = 10
1 American Historical (non-western), 3 Medievals, 2 17th century Caribbean setting

So what's surprising here? Well, no single title contemporary romance. None. Also, even factoring in the massive glut on the market, I only read two paranormals. Definitely a sign that I'm well past burnt out on that particular sub genre. My English Historical numbers were up for the first time in several years. I know 10 doesn't sound like much, but in year's past? Yeah, I maybe read 1 or 2. I'm wondering if my burn out on all things England is starting to lift?

In the new year I'd like to read more anthologies and short stories. The ones I read this year I literally plowed through, and I'm thinking the shorter format might kick start my mojo.

As far as quality of reading, I had a really good year. Here are the grades I assigned those measly 64 books:

A = 11
B = 30
C = 21
D = 2
F = 0

The lack of F's might seem shocking to some long time blog followers because I've generally had at least 1 or 2 in previous years. What was different about 2008? Well, I stopped reviewing for The Romance Reader, which means if I hit a dud of a book, I tossed it aside and didn't finish it. At this time I've decided to not keep track of DNFs, because frankly, I don't see the point. Although off the top of my head, I think I only had a couple this past year. Not very many.

Looking ahead to publication dates, here's how the numbers breakdown:

1997 - 2006 = 10
2007 = 11
2008 = 42
2009 = 1

Sigh, so much for my determination to read more books out of my TBR. I need to do better with that in 2009.

And that's the end of the numbers. Anyone still awake? If so, the next post will be more exciting. I plan on talking about my favorite reads of 2008. Stay tuned.


Nicole said...

I love reading your year in review posts. I really need to read from my tbr pile too.

And I really need to keep track of what I read for this coming year. What do you use?

Wendy said...

Nicole: I use Microsoft Access (database). It's really bare bones! I keep track of Date Finished, Author, Title, Genre, Publication Date, and Grade. That's it!

I've toyed with the idea of keeping track of publisher (I read a ton from Harlequin this year!) and also with moving it over to Google Docs (spreadsheet). That way I can see my list anywhere I have access to a computer and Internet connection.

I know a lot of readers who use Excel, and cataloging sites like Library Thing, Good Reads and Shelfari. I'm using LT at the moment to keep track of the TBR, but not books read.

nath said...

Happy New Year Wendy!

Love your breakdown :D it was really interesting! Hopefully, 2009 will be a better reading year for you :D

Jennifer B. said...

I feel for you on the low number of reads overall, same here. But you may be pleased--if only for a moment--to know that you gave me one of the best reads I had this year, which turned into one of the best new-to-me authors in a long time. Your review of Barenaked Jane I think...prompted recognition of Deanna Lee's name during one of my too few trips to my UBS. I'll be including this gem of an author in my 2008 review write-up, thanking you publicly. *g*

Wendy said...

JenB: Hmmmm, sorry to say that wasn't me! And that's a bummer too, since I love being the one responsible for turning readers on to new authors :)

But now you've got me curious. Making a note of Deanna Lee.....

Sir-Ox-A-Lot said...