2016: Books by the Numbers

Happy New Year, friends! I’ve been traveling and sick for the last week or so, but now that I’m snuggled up back at home, I finally had a few minutes to really look back at my year in reading. This is usually one of my favorite posts to write, but I kind of want 2016 to die a fiery death and don’t want to spend all that much time looking backward. Still, I spent all year keeping track of everything I read, so it would be a shame to let it go without taking a peek.

Plus, I’m learning more about how to dig through this data properly, so I should. I told myself it was “practice” (during winter break, mind you) and imported my reading spreadsheet into SPSS to play around with the statistics I’m learning in my classes. I don’t feel confident enough (yet!) to share all that, so I’m bouncing back to Tableau, which I used last year. Tableau is interactive, so anything you hover over should give you some nitty gritty information, if you’re so inclined.

Books/Pages by Month

If I keep chanting: “I’m not going to be sad about how ‘little’ I read this year!” can I make it true? 80 books is a ton! It’s way more than the typical American reads in a year (that number would be 4), but a far cry from the 131 I read last year. Or the 154 the year before. I’m still in love with books, I think our relationship is just changing. And hey, can you tell when I was locked in the library writing for two months?

2015 & 2016 by Genre

Or Look at My Very Predictable Reading. I’M SORRY, I AM SET IN MY WAYS.

Source & Format

But maybe not so set in my ways, because look I have a new category in the format department this year! Oooo, five whole audiobooks. Also, please don’t scold me about never reading books I own.

Ratings by Imprint

This was one of the most interesting bits of information I gathered in 2015 and I’m glad to have a peek at it again. In the chart, imprints I read most often have larger circles, while books I rated highest have the darkest circles. I tried to read more from some of the imprints I had success with in 2015 (Picador, Random House, Knopf, FSG), which seemed to work out well for me this time around.

A Note on Author Statistics

I’ll share basically the same note from last year, since you may notice something missing if you’re just popping in. 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 the year-end statistics I share on my blog. After a ton of reading and thought, I still feel uncomfortable publicly boiling the multiple facets of so many authors down to categories they aren’t necessarily dictating.

  • I love your charts, especially that bubbly publisher one!!

  • LOVE your graphics! I’ll have to check out Tableau. And I remember using SPSS in school long ago…I’ll be interested to see how you use it on the blog.

    Glad to see selecting books by imprint is working for you! I did that this year and it wasn’t working too well early on, but things shook out by year end.

    • Yeah, I think it works once you get a good number of books to kind of get averages going…otherwise a few rotten eggs can spoil the lot.

  • Kailana

    People are so organised. I haven’t sat down with my end of year wrap up at all. lol I will be late joining the party. And it won’t likely have colourful graphs. I enjoyed seeing your reading year!

  • Wow! Your graphs and charts are amazing. They make it so easy to look at your data. (I need to check out Tableau.)

    You should try not to feel bad about not reading as much. You’re doing something else that’s amazing and gratifying and will serve you well for years to come. Good luck in the next semester!

  • Oh, sorry you’ve been sick & I’m glad you’re feeling better. SPSS is no joke, and it’s cool that you would practice it with your reading stats. Best of luck with your classes this semester.

    • Thank you! I never thought I’d ever want to touch SPSS for anything that wasn’t required, but thankfully this semester broke me of that fear ;)

  • Sorry you’ve been sick, but I love your graphs! I track my reading stats, too, but I have to be more consistent about it so I can see how they change from year to year. I’ve been tracking different things each year, so I can’t compare years.

    • I think this is the first time I’ve ever used the same spreadsheet for two consecutive years, so I know what you mean!

  • Yes, 80 books is a lot, especially given all the other life stuff you’ve had going on this year with school and whatnot. I need to keep that “average” number of 4 in my mind when I’m feeling blue about my own reading numbers. Once again, I’m unlikely to get up any kind of stats post for 2016, same as 2015. It’s like I just fall apart at the end of the year or something. Meh. Glad you’re back home safe and sound and feeling better :)

    P.S. See that ToB long (LONG) list? You doing anything with that this year?

    • I actually JUST looked at the ToB list for the first time and HOLY CRAP. Does it get longer every year? I’m kind of shocked that I’ve read 20, but I don’t think I’ll be doing anything until they do the next round at least.

  • Karen

    That tableau software looks impressive!

  • Oh, Shannon, you are my favorite book stat geek! These graphics are AMAZING!! You always know the best tools to use. It wasn’t until I met you and you shared your excel stat sheet that I even began tracking my reading and I can barely pull together a pie chart!

    Considering what a crapfest 2016 was and how busy you were I think 80 is an admirable number of books. Read as you need.

    • Ha! I’m so glad you were able to use the spreadsheet this year! I hope it was at least a little bit of fun for you :)

  • I second Catherine – your book nerd stats are the best. I’m so jealous of your ability to make your data shine in fancy graphs and charts.

    80 books is incredible. You’re BUSY!

    I like your note on the author statistics. I hadn’t thought of it that way but I like it. I feel like maybe the time has come and gone when I should have posted my stats so I probably won’t do it but I really enjoyed keeping them for myself this year.

    • It’s definitely nice to be able to keep track, even if we don’t share! It always helps me in picking out books and shifting toward something else here and there.

  • I’m having chart envy right now. I love how detailed your book/mo and genre stats are! I’m amazed that you read as much as you did with everything you have going on.

    • Aw, thanks! I was pretty amazed myself, the first time I threw everything in the program and it came out looking pretty :)

  • I absolutely love this chart!! I am checking it out now for my own book reads.

  • Ooh, fantastic graphs! I’m hoping to do a better job keeping track of the info I need to do some stats myself next year and I’ll definitely revisit your post for inspiration :)

  • I just love your stats and graphs. It’s one of the best things at the end of the year to look over but I just can’t figure it out myself so I’ll pretend this is my post. ;)
    Hope you feel better soon!

  • Emily Crowe

    Love your stats! Infographics always impress me, so well done you on taking the time to create them.

    My reading over the last three years has also declined, but I found this year, with my numbers back up slightly (64 for the year, compared to an all time high of near 150), that I was reading with more deliberation. And I’m also less inclined to finish something I’m not interested in, just because I’ve already invested 100 or more pages of it.

    • My all time high is right around 150, too, and I think this feels a little more comfortable for me when I really consider it. You’re definitely right about the reading feel more deliberate…I’ve been far more choosy and spent more time with books than I have in the past.

  • I love your Imprint chart! Number wise, I haven’t been keeping track of publishers, however, I have a pretty good idea of which ones I read more or less of, and which ones I’m more likely to turn to. It took a while, but the patterns are starting to show up (the ones in my head, that is)!
    Happy New Year!! I hope you had a nice relaxing holiday. :)

  • Love this so much! It’s so interesting to see other people’s summaries of their reading year (and what information each one highlights). I really like your source and format comparison. I might steal that idea for my summary next year :-)

  • Love the stats & charts. Well done! I’m getting a majority of my books these days from the library, between audiobooks via Overdrive and the books on hold there — it’s wonderful. I feel sorry for bookstores b/c the libraries these days are doing a heck of a job ordering the right titles & making new books available.

  • I think I remember your ‘ratings by imprint’ from last year. I thought that was a neat way to consider your reading, and I started paying more attention to imprints than I did previously. I’m happy to hear focusing in on some imprints was a success for you.