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. 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.

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