Reading Roundup, 2011

I had a great year of reading in 2011 — lots of excellent stuff. Adding books to Goodreads is something I enjoy (though I’ve never once considered it a social media site, frankly), and I’ve been keeping a spreadsheet of what I read for several years now. I love the excitement of finishing a book, then digging into a new one. It’s a pleasure that’s never guilty, whether I’m reading a classic or something that would make a “serious” reader roll their eyes. I’m happy I have a wide range of tastes. Books may let me down, lauded stories or writers may leave me scratching my head over the hype, and essays may piss me off . . . but reading never lets me down. I’ll do it as long as I have eyes in my head, and if they ever give up the ghost I’ll switch to audio books.

I’m not going to do a “best of” list, though. That list would be way too interchangeable, because as selective as I am I pretty much like everything I read. All year, I believe I only started one book that I decided not to finish, and that was one that I only started reading recently. I still might finish it, I don’t know . . . but it’s going on the back burner for a while at least. Instead, I thought I’d look at just some of the numbers. My goal for the year was to read 100 books, and I pulled it off, which pleases me. So far my total has increased every year that I’ve been keeping track. Here’s the breakdown:

Books Read: 103  (up from 85 last year)

  • Fiction: 81 (79%)
  • Nonfiction: 22 (21%)
  • Unique Authors: 81
  • Women Authors: 19 (23.5%) This was an improvement; see HERE.
  • Authors I’d Never Read Before: 56 (69.14%) This surprised me.
  • Total Electronic Books: 34 (33%) Up from only 3 read last year. That’s a big jump.

Graphic Novels Read: 22   (up from 16 last year)

  • I don’t lump GNs in with “regular” books. If I did, I guess my total would be 125 books.
  • I also read several short anthologies in ebook form I didn’t track anywhere other than Goodreads. I don’t know why. I don’t track magazines either, and some of these shorter collections took less time to read than some magazines do. So I logged them in Goodreads, but not here.
  • Speaking of magazines, no, I don’t track them. But I read a lot of them. Bits and pieces of The New Yorker and Harpers, which Julia reads religiously, both of which I love. I also read Orion. National Geographic. Mother Jones. Adbusters. Outside. Men’s Health. Wend. The Ring. Good. Poets and Writers. Hell, I could go on and on, but you get the picture. There’s a lot of print that rolls through this house.

Goals for 2012

Here are a few things I’m looking to accomplish with my reading in the coming year:

  • Read fewer books. Yeah, that may sound weird, but in taking the pressure off to read a certain number I find I’m not always reading all the magazines and stuff I buy, and that’s just stupid (and I’m going to do some catching up in this department before I even start any books this year).
  • Try and get the Fiction/Nonfiction closer to 60/40 or so.
  • Diversify the fiction a bit. Crime fiction, which has been the largest part of my reading, is getting a little redundant. Need to branch out a bit, I think.
  • Get my women writers up around 30%. That probably sounds lame. But in evaluating the books I have, if I wanted to go 50/50 I’d have to buy more new books than I want to, because most of what I already have are from male writers. I’ll try for more, but we’ll see….
  • Buy fewer books. That may sound blasphemous, but with money tight and tons of great stuff unread, I want to focus on stuff I already have. That includes ebooks. I probably have enough unread to keep my total around 30% as it is, which is plenty.
  • Read what I buy. A no brainer, right? You’d be surprised….
  • Read more of the great stuff I already have! And there’s a lot of it.
  • Read more short stories (more on that in another post later this week)
  • Finally, and most importantly, remember to throw these plans out the window as needed. Because this stuff is supposed to be fun, and I intend to keep it that way.

So that’s that. Fairly modest plans, don’t you think? Probably not so interesting, but I figure there are a few people out there who get a kick out of this kind of thing. I know I do.

Here’s to happy reading in 2012!

6 thoughts on “Reading Roundup, 2011

  1. Randy Johnson

    All admirable goals. As for reading everything you buy, I equate readers to kids in a candy store. You want everything you see and will glut yourself if not stopped. I do that on a too regular basis.

    1. Chris La Tray Post author

      Thanks, David. I like to see what people think of the books they read . . . and just the books they choose to read as well. I’ve discovered some great stuff that way.

    1. Chris La Tray Post author

      For all the talk of print journalism being dead, there is still some fantastic writing happening in magazines. Some of the best I’ve read, in fact. I love them.


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