Monday, January 6, 2014

Year In Review: The Numbers And General Observations

With the start of a new year I always like to take a few moments in January to take a look back at the previous year's reading.  Whether people actually want to wade through these posts or not, I always find it interesting to look back and remember, especially, the good, solid books that I spent time with. 

In years past I kept a spreadsheet with somewhat detailed statistics (like publication year, publisher, genres etc.), and I started out that way in 2013 as well.  However, given that I'm still a half-assed member of GoodReads (my reviews over there tend to be rather lax), it seemed redundant to keep statistics at multiple places.  Plus, I'm getting lazier in my old age.  So towards the end of the year I started ignoring the spreadsheet, even though I did have more detail on it, and figured GoodReads was "good enough." 

You can see all the books I read in 2013 over there, but for the sake of boring everyone to tears, here is a brief rundown of my reflections looking strictly at the numbers.

My goal for 2013 was to read 100 books - which is actually my goal every blessed year.  I'm a slow reader, and while I don't have children, I do have a full time job, am in a relationship and watch entirely too much baseball during the summer months.  So trying to hit 100 is an accomplishment for me - and one I'm not above "cheating" to get to.  Yes, novellas count the same as single titles.  Fair?  Probably not.  But my reading universe, my rules.

That said, I only managed to read 86 books last year.  Looking at the total number of pages read (a stat GoodReads keeps that I never have), the average length of the books I read was 251 pages.

Gah, that's just depressing.  Yes, I read a lot of category romance - but geez, at only 251 pages per book you think I would have gotten through more than 86!  In fact the longest book I read was High Noon by Nora Roberts, which clocks in at just over 460 pages.  Sad Wendy, just really sad.

Looking at grades though, my spirits lift somewhat.  I may have only read 86 books, but the quality was pretty darn good.  The bulk of my reading tends to fall in the B/C range, and that held true for this year.  My B reads were nice and high!

5 Star / A Grades = 3
4 Star / B Grades = 51
3 Star / C Grades + lower B- = 19
2 Star / D Grades = 8
1 Star / F Grades = 2
DNF (for whatever reason) = 3

These numbers are super consistent for me.  Digging around in my archives, here are numbers for 2012 and 2011.  Gee, notice a pattern?

A = 6 (2012) ; 2 (2011)
B = 54 (2012) ; 54 (2011)
C = 24 (2012) ; 23 (2011)
D = 10 (2012) ; 11 (2011)
F = 1 (2012) ; 0 (2011)
DNF = 5 (2012) ; 5 (2011)

I actually really like a lot of the books I read, which I guess means I better man up or else I'm going to get kicked out of the Mean Girls Club!

Looking ahead to 2014, there are a couple of things I would like to accomplish. 

1) I really need to dig around in the print TBR mountain range and start cleaning it out.  I've got a massive horde of books, some of which I just know I'll never read or no longer have an interest in reading.  What I need to do is pull a few books every month, read the first few pages of each one and make the Should-It-Stay-Or-Should-It-Go decision. 

2) I probably should be reading more publishers, but damn - it's hard when you're a category romance addict and Harlequin has me auto-approved on NetGalley.  But I'm going to try....

3) Get more consistent with my reading time.  In other words: Wendy stop bringing home baggage from work.  Yes, it's easier to zone out in front of the TV after a crap day, but at least try to get a couple of chapters read every day.

4) Learn to DNF more - especially with TBR Challenge books.  In a perfect world I would love all my 2014 TBR Challenge reads to be A or B grades.  Oh a girl can dream!

Next up?  I want to revisit the really memorable (in a good way!) reads of 2013.  Stay tuned....


Brie said...

One of my twitter friends read 460 books last year... Clearly, she has mastered time travel.

I have no idea how many books I read last year. My one and only goal of 2014 was to keep track, but I'm just too lazy. I do count novellas as full books, so we can cheat together ;-)

Can't wait to see your list of memorable reads of 2013!

Hilcia said...

Wendy, you read a lot of books. It's all about quality, not quantity. That's what I always say… and it seems to me like you read a lot of good books in 2013. (A's and B's)

I count everything I read, from novellas to 600 page books or longer, but I don't keep track of page count.

Anyway, I like your goals. I DNF a lot of books during the year, particularly TBR books for the TBR Challenge, but I need to blog about them! That's going to be one of my goals for 2014. (PS: I don't count the 100's of pages I read per year from books I DNF either).

Lori said...

460? Dang. She either has a lot of time to read or she's a speed reader. The most I've finished in a year as an adult is about 275 and I didn't have a job that year.

I'm hoping to hit 175 this year. (Didn't make it last year because a major family health crisis really killed my reading Oct-Dec.) I'm not as concerned about the total number though as I am with whittling down the ol' TBR. I've been sort of ignoring it the last couple years and that thing is totally OOC. My goal is to end the year with 25% fewer titles on my TBR than I had on January 1st. I don't care if I read or weed, I've got to trim that thing back in a major way and of course not acquire a bunch of books that I won't read right away. Wish me luck with that.

Barb in Maryland said...

Well, I managed to read 131 books--86 newbies, 45 complete re-reads. Although I didn't track them, I suspect I had at least 100 DNFs and about 20 novellas/short stories. That's a bit down for me--I usually manage to read 150+ books a year.
I am in awe of the 460 book claim-- I'm not sure I could even find 460 books in any year that I would want to read!

AnimeJune said...

You still did better than me, Wendy - I only read 81 books this year. My record is 90 (so close!).

S. said...

Wendy, anything is better than not reading at all or if you do you stick to silly autobiographies of trophy wives that tell their husbands fart. Yep, someone published a book like that here and it was a success...anyway, like Hilcia said, quality!

I've read 193, almost the 200 I wanted. I'm usually a fast reader, I work and I have many other things to take care I feel quite well but I'd trade all to just can dream...

Good luck for 2014! As for the DNF's I don't have those I suffer and bore myself but I always least I feel good with myself when I say I hated such a book... personal pet peeves right?
Have fun!

nath said...

I know what you mean Wendy about the spreadsheet and Goodreads. Goodreads is quick, but in the end, when you want to sort the books by publishers and release dates and so on, you can't though :( So that sucks and that's why I'm going to make an effort to keep my spreadsheet up-to-date this year! :)

86 books is good given your goal was 100. And novella do count as single titles no matter what people say LOL.

I think everyone's bulk of grades fall in Bs and Cs.

Not to be depressing or discouraging ladies, but there's someone on my Goodreads whose reading goal is 550 books! I thought no way, but turns out she read at least 600 books in 2013. I just wonder where she finds all the books to read?!?

Wendy said...

OMG - I was floored by 460, but 550?!?!?! The sad thing is, I could find that many books to read, and I wouldn't have to leave my TBR pile to do it! Seriously, I really need to get moving and start weeding it out.

PK the Bookeemonster said...

I managed to read 105 books in 2013 (up from 72 in 2012) mostly mysteries but a mix of romance, sff, and nonfiction, too. I keep track in a regular journal; the right side page for what I've read and the left side for the books being released that month that I'm interested in. I try not to watch *too much* TV and I've got the dogs used to (I won't say trained) relaxing in the evenings as long as I have one hand free for petting (Kindle helps but not exclusive). My aim in 2014 is to hit 100 again and read at least one nonfiction book a month. I'm off to a good start -- I'm about to finish my fifth read tonight (2 have been nonfiction).

PK the Bookeemonster said...

Re: weeding out TBR. I did that in 2009 when I was unemployed for a year. I had the grand idea to alphabetize all my books and then to be really ruthless in looking at each book: "Would I REALLY read this or make time to read it?" It was a good feeling to look around at all the bookcases (in my case) and know that they were all books that I loved. The nice thing is that when you're done there's room to add to it again. I'm seriously due for another clean out.

nath said...

I can see you finding 550 books to read, Wendy... but for that lady, she read over 600 books last year right. So I'm assuming she's pretty much up-to-date on her TBR pile and new releases... so what is she going to do?