Reading Stats!

Happy New Year lovelies!

I listen to a weekly bookish podcast that strives to read diverse books, and it got me thinking about my reading habits, so I decided to track my reading for the year to see how I do, and where I can improve. I got lucky in that I was able to download a pre-made spreadsheet for free off of the podcast’s website that was a tremendous help in tracking. I made no efforts to change my reading habits for the purpose for this, I just read whatever sounded interesting to me, and picked books that were either recommended to me by friends, books I remember selling at the bookstore, or books that were all over my Instagram feed.

I had set a goal to read 50 books in 2018, but fell slightly short at only 48. Of the 48 books, the majority of the authors I read were women (37 books totalling 77%). I was actually surprised by this! I figured at best, maybe I read about 50/50, since I knew there were a few male authors I consistently read.

I figured my preferred reading format would be a trade paperback judging by my bookcase, since trades are the majority on my shelves. Yet I was wrong here too. In 2018, I started listening to audiobooks while doing various daily tasks, so audiobooks topped my reading formats this year with 22 books (46%). Next was hard cover, with 21 books, leaving trade paperbacks far behind (5 books). This was also very surprising to me since I don’t usually like hard covers. I find them too hard and heavy to hold. I clearly did not reach my goal of reading my bookshelf!

I was right about my preference to fiction versus nonfiction books, with 33 books (69%) and 15 books (31%). I eased my way into audiobooks by listening to nonfiction, most of which was biography. I found it easier to listen to since it was someone telling their life story, and if I missed something, it wasn’t going to be something that was part of the major plot.

Also not surprising was 83% (40 books) out of the 48 books were by US or Canadian authors. I was disappointed in myself that I only read 4 books by Canadian authors. This is something I definitely want to work on in the future, since I think, as a Canadian, that it is important to support Canadians authors.

I am also disappointed in my selection of books by diverse authors or books with diverse characters. In total I only read 2 books with people of colour as main characters, 2 books with people of colour side characters, and 9 books with LGBTQ main characters. This is another area that I definitely want to work on the future!

I had set myself up with a New Year’s resolution to read my bookshelf. With approximately 500 books in my collection, I thought it would be good to start reading it down. Sadly, I failed. I only read 10 books out of my collection, and 2 books were borrowed from friends. The majority of my books came from the library (35 books or 73%). This, while disappointing in that it failed my resolution, was not surprising since my audiobooks are borrowed from Overdrive with my library card. On a positive note, if I failed my resolution by supporting my library, I don’t really consider that a fail!

Another thing I thought would be interesting to know was where I got my recommendations from. I had hoped most would come from friends or be something that I remembered selling in my bookstore days, but I was wrong. Over half (56% or 27 books) of my reads came from social media, specifically Instagram. Not going to lie, this hurt my pride a little. I had hoped I was a little more conscientious than to fall into this trap, but hey, social media is powerful! “Influencers” on Instagram get paid by companies to promote their products. I knew this well thanks to someone I follow in Instagram in the paleo eating world, and this is something they have talked about repeatedly. I should have known better, and I read some less than stellar books this year because of this. Live and learn!

I think this was a positive and tremendously enlightening experiment! It was eye opening to see how little I read by or about diverse authors. I didn’t read as much by Canadian authors as I had hoped, or much from around the world. These are big areas for improvement in the future, since I think it is important to read different points of view from different backgrounds. I am thrilled though to see how much I use my library, and how much I have enjoyed reading audiobooks.

I highly encourage you to track your reading and see what habits you have, and see if there is anything you might want to work on. I am definitely going to track again this year, and hopefully this time next year, I can report back that I have read more diversely and read reached this year’s resolution or reading my bookcase!

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