2015 books by the numbers

2015: Books by the Numbers

2015 books by the numbers

Gather ’round, nerds.

Wait, maybe I should wish you a Happy New Year first? Happy New Year. I’ll give you a second to clear your bleary, hungover eyes, because it’s that fabulous time of year when we get the payoff of crunching last year’s reading and the beauty of a fresh new spreadsheet. I’m not quite sure how I ended up being a person who loves spreadsheets and analyzing data (you do remember me complaining about prepping for the GRE math, yes?), but it’s very much my thing. So much that it’s now part of my work and, hopefully, the next several years of schooling.

Overall, I read 131 books in 2015, which is down from 154 in 2014 (and way down from 160 in 2013). Maybe that will keep falling over time? I’m not sure, but I’m fine with any outcome. I’m reading plenty. I’m interested in looking at my behavior and choices over the year, but really just see the specific numbers as a gateway. If numbers are your thing, or if you just like scrolling around on your computer, Tableau allows for interactive noodling.


Reading by Month

Hey, guess what? I read a ton of books when I wasn’t working. Amazing how that happens. I was off in late June and July, so my reading skyrocketed during those blissful summer months. Fall was all over the place, with house hunting and grad school applications, which is why I fell into a few garbage hellfire months like September and November. I wasn’t sure how to account for March, but after looking back at what I read, I noticed I was slumping like mad. Bad books will suck the reading right out of you.

Source and Format

I didn’t necessarily go on a book buying ban this year, but spending drastically changed in our home and I shifted book money to other things. It worked out great because I discovered my fabulous library system and ended up getting over 22% of my books from the library in 2015 (way up from about 5% in 2014). Still, most of my reading comes from the embarrassment of riches sent out by publishers.

Publishers by Rating

Tracking my reading by imprint to help guide the books I choose is something I started in the middle of 2014 and, with a complete year of information, I wanted to see how my ratings for specific publishers added up. In the chart, publishers I read most often have larger circles, while books I rated highest have the darkest circles. Liveright, Picador, Random House, Riverhead and Knopf seem like they’re my sweet spots, but Hogarth takes the cake.

Genre Breakdown

Not much surprise in the genre corner, eh? I’m predictable. I actually read the same number of short story collections as 2014, though I enjoyed them more this time around. The one major shift was in my nonfiction reading, which was up to 38% of my total reading from just 22% in 2014. Otherwise, many of my categories are very similar—I’ve kind of honed in on what I like.

A Note on Diversity Statistics

I make it a priority to seek out books written by traditionally marginalized voices and keep track of the author information I can find in my personal spreadsheet, as I find it helps guide me toward gaps in my reading. However, I’ve chosen not to include that information in this year’s year-end statistics. After reading a post by Danielle/OneSmallPaw earlier this year and thinking quite a bit about it, I still feel uncomfortable boiling the multiple facets of over a hundred authors down to somewhat binary categories. I can say that I had a great year of reading incredibly thought-provoking, beautiful, and challenging work by fantastic writers and hope 2016 can be even better. Goals to come next week!