Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Year That Was 2011: The Numbers

Of all my annual Year In Review posts, this one is likely to bore the majority of Bat Cave followers.  But, what can I say?  I like looking at the numbers.  I like seeing how many books I read, what the grades were, and the various "labels" I slapped on them.  I use a pretty stripped down spreadsheet in Google Docs to keep track of my reading.  It's simple, it's easy, and it works for me.  I'm a if it ain't broke don't fix it kind of gal - and as tempting as GoodReads is at times, I just can't pull the trigger (I have my reasons).  Anyway, here's how 2011 stacked up for me:

My goal for 2011 was to crack 100 books read, and I fell short at 95.  I'm a little disappointed in myself, but considering I read 94 in 2010 and 95 in 2009, it's hard to berate myself over....consistency.

My grades this year were also fairly consistent when compared to 2010.

A = 2 (4 in 2010)
B = 54 (59 in 2010)
C = 23 (24 in 2010)
D = 11 (4 in 2010)
DNF = 5 (5 in 2010)

My reputation for being stingy with A grades holds.  The defining element for me has always been do I want to drop my entire life and immediately reread the book.  People, my TBR is so legendary, and the guilt that comes with such hording, that rereading is a rarity for me.  So if the story passes the Must Reread Someday test, it's an A.

A word about DNF grades - I pretty much stopped giving F grades when I left TRR.  My personal policy is life is too short to keep reading a book I absolutely loathe, and TGTBTU has the same policy.  So yeah, Wendy no longer gives F grades.  It's probably not fair to count books I didn't finish in my final numbers (OK, it isn't), but I tend to only count books that I invested a significant amount of time in.  And since we're talking genre fiction, the bulk of which is somewhere around 300-400 pages?  I'm looking at 50+ pages, with a decent chunk of skimming ahead.

I did pretty good with my variety of publishers this year, even considering I only review category romance for TGTBTU.  Instead of giving you the numbers, let's just go with a list:
Aphrodisia, Avon, Ballantine, Brava, Carina, Cleis, Crown, Ecco, Forge, Hard Case Crime, Harpercollins, Harlequin Historical, Harlequin Historical Undone, Harlequin Blaze, Spice Briefs, Love Inspired Historical, Mira, Kimani, Harlequin Desire, Harlequin Intrigue, Harlequin Presents, Harlequin Romance, Harlequin Special Edition, Harlequin Superromance, Hyperion, Kensington, Samhain, Little Brown, St. Martin's, LooseID, Warner, Minotaur, Zebra, Pocket, Signet.
Publication dates were a lovely mix this year, even if my reviewing means that the 2011 are significantly higher.
1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001 (2), 2003 (2), 2004 (3), 2005 (2), 2007 (2), 2008, 2009 (2), 2010 (9), 2011 (68)
Now that's all interesting (OK, maybe just to me), but what exactly did I read this year?  Well, let's take a look at my tagging.  Now these won't add up to 95 because I tend to slap multiple tags on the books I read.  For example, a Harlequin Romance is going to be tagged C, S for "Contemporary" and "Series."  

Anthology = 4
Contemporary = 31
Inspirational = 2
Romantic/Suspense = 8
Women's Fiction = 4
Series = 26
Erotic Romance = 6
Short Stories = 17
Erotica = 7
Historical = 33
England = 2
Medieval = 4
Regency = 12
Victorian = 2
Western = 7
Historical Fiction (not romance) = 2
Mystery/Suspense = 9
Non-Fiction = 1
Paranormal = 1
Science Fiction Romance = 1
Young Adult = 2

Every year I tell myself I'm going to get more consistent with my tagging, and every year I can't seem to get it together.  So I'm not sure how helpful these numbers are, but they are interesting, if for no other reason than to see the variety (or lack thereof) that I read.

One other thing I found interesting is that of the 95 books I read this year?  Yeah, I reviewed all of them (either on this blog or TGTBTU) except for 6.  Of those 6 I didn't do full-fledged reviews for?  3 were C reads, 3 were DNFs, and all 6 were books I didn't "promise" anyone I'd write a review for.

Discipline, I haz it.

Just goes to show that one reason I started blogging (to talk about the books I was reading) still holds true today as it did back in the stone ages of 2003.


Lynne Connolly said...

I still give the occasional F review, because some of these books are so awful, they're hilarious. Or they might introduce an issue that you don't actually agree with, but you're willing to give the author a chance.
But I don't give too many. I won't write a DNF review unless I'm at least a third of the way through the book, so I have a lot more unreviewed DNF's sitting around my hard drive.

Molly O'Keefe said...

Hey Wendy - came by to see your year in review and am so suprised to see you reading my pedophile cover book!!! Come's creepy...into the forest with you kiddo...

Wendy said...

Lynne: It's interesting, but after I posted this I realized a lot of my DNFs these days are books I'm totally indifferent about. I just...can't be bothered to keep reading. A lot of my D reads this year are exactly like you described your Fs. I kept reading....for some reason. Usually there's that little something there that just won't make me quit. And for that reason? I have a hard time "justifying" an F grade. I mean, I kept reading! So that at least earns the book a D- ;)


I call this era of HSR covers "Let's Slap Some Vaseline On
The Lens And Make 'Em Think These Are Oprah Books!" It's a look that didn't really work for me personally, but I "get" what the marketing department was shooting for.

And I actually pulled this book out for January's TBR Challenge. The theme this month is "category romance" and it's been a while since I've sunk into an HSR :)

Kristie (J) said...

I'm very impressed that you reviewed so many. I had intentions on doing that - way back last January - but failed miserably. Of course it was a record reading year so it would have been hard anyway.

nath said...

Awesome numbers, Wendy :) It's too bad you didn't crack 100, but consistency is definitively a good thing :) More is better, but drop is a no-no :)

I try to keep track of what I read on Goodreads and a Google spreadsheet as well, but I always get lazy at some time and my spreadsheet ends up being incomplete. So sad :(

It's great that you've read so many publishers :) and LOL, the TBR challenge sure helped you for the publication dates :) By the way, you wrote 2001 instead of 2011. LOL, my numbers for publication dates will most probably look like yours ;) My poor TBR pile is so neglected. With me, it give me the newbies!

And I'm in awe of you and Leslie who review everything you read. It's really, really impressive and yes, you have a lot of discipline. I just can't. My brain and muses go on vacation together and the result? I have nothing LOL.

Marguerite Kaye said...

I used to be someone who had to finish a book no matter how awful. Not any more. An age thing or whatever, but life it too short. I'd tend to agree with you on the DNF - it's total indifference that makes me put it down and not loathing. If I loathe, I will finish just to make sure that I really do loathe it (not sure what that says about me).

I keep track of what I read on Goodreads and try to review, except I never put any romance on there because that's busman's (buswoman's?) holiday and also I try not to do to others what they might do to me in return!

So you fell a tiny bit short of your target, but it was an impressive target. I say well done you.

sula said...

I'm impressed by your discipline and by your organization! Interesting how the grades tend to fall in a bell curve, no?

Wendy said...

Kristie: I've always been like that when it comes to reviewing. Something I got into the habit of back in my TRR days. Plus I've realized that the older I get, the more my memory gets shot. I pretty much review everything so there's a record of it....somewhere.

Nath: Corrected the typo, thanks :) I've been very consistent the last several years, and even though I didn't crack 100 - I'm still pretty happy with my numbers.

Marguerite: Doing what I call "heavy-lifting reviewing" cured me of my Must Finish Every Book I Start affliction. I finished every word of every book I was assigned to review - which is fine when the book is great, but nowhere near fine when I'm finding the book a slog. So when I had a few moments to pick up a book I wasn't assigned to review? Yeah, I wasn't going to waste my time on something I thought was "bad."

Sula: My grading tends to be very consistent year to year. When my numbers shift slightly, it's usually with the Cs and D. Too many C reads and I find myself getting really depressed....