At the beginning of each year, I set myself a Goodreads goal to read 100 books that year. I’m not super strict about the goal (I think regulating your pleasure reading too much can suck the pleasure out of it), but it’s a good way to gauge how much reading I’ve been doing in the year and how it compares to previous years. I’ve found that 100 books as a goal causes me to read just a touch more than I would otherwise, without making me feel pressured to read when I’d really rather do something else.
I just hit the halfway point at 50 books earlier this week, so I thought it would be interesting to take more formal stock of how my reading year has gone and what the trends are in my reading thus far. Here are a few pertinent stats.
I really enjoy rating the books I read. I fully understand why some people (like Kelly) choose not to – comments on reviews deemed “bad” by authors or their fans can be really aggravating (to put mildly), and the stars don’t really give a nuanced perspective on a book. But it helps me to identify the real standouts at the end of the year. The breakdown for me so far is:
★★★★★ 1 book
★★★★☆ 20 books
★★★☆☆ 24 books
★★☆☆☆ 5 books
★☆☆☆☆ 0 books
I think this breakdown gives some insight into the way I perceive ratings. I had a discussion with some friends the other day about when and why we give five stars to products and services, beyond just books on places like Goodreads. Two of us were very free with five-star ratings, giving them to anything that didn’t have a marked flaw, and the other two (myself included), were a lot more conservative. To me, a five-star book (or movie, or other product ) is one that is exceptional in some way, as you can see by the fact that I only gave one book out of fifty that rating. (For the curious, it’s Birthday by Meredith Russo). On the other hand, when rating people (like a rideshare driver), I default to five stars unless something went pretty wrong. I’m also hesitant to give anything below a three star rating, though I will do it occasionally for books that I finished but didn’t particularly care for. I reserve my one star rating for books that were so bad they upset me; this is much rarer than even a five star rating.
Adult 11 books
Young Adult 35 books
Middle Grade 4 books
Most of my reading still centers around books for young adults/teens, but I’ve definitely expanded my reading for adults compared to previous years. I’ve also been picking up more middle grade, though I know four doesn’t seem like a lot. I used to read at most four for the year, so I’m on track to double previous years. I find myself reaching for a middle grade novel when I want something a bit quicker that I can finish in a single sitting.
Audio 36 books
Print 14 books
My love for audiobooks continues unabated. Lately I’ve had a really frustrating experience where every time I sit on my couch and start to read a print book, I’ll fall asleep. It has nothing to do with the quality of the book – I only pick up books that interest me – nor the time of day. I fear I’ve trained some sort of Pavlovian response in myself to fall asleep whenever I read, and it tends to happen within just a few minutes. The only surefire time I can stay awake while reading a print book is in the morning, right after waking up after the night’s sleep. While this is fine on the weekends, it doesn’t really work during the week. I work early already, so setting an alarm to wake up even earlier just to read is not really practical. This simply means the majority of my reading is done on audio, and the majority of my print reading consists of pretty short books (all four of the middle grade books) or graphic novels (six so far).
Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror 24 books
Mystery/Thriller 15 books
Contemporary Realistic 6 books
Nonfiction 4 books
Historical Fiction 2 books
As expected, my reading focuses on genre fiction. Most of the contemporary realistic books I read were Mock Printz finalists at my workplace. My mystery and thriller reading has really picked up compared to previous years, though, especially with adult titles. I just can’t get enough of the twisty plots, especially on audio – I can’t cheat and flip to the end that way! You might have noticed that the total for this category is 51, because I classified Lovely War by Julie Berry as both historical fiction and science fiction/fantasy. (By the way, if you haven’t picked that one up yet, I highly recommend it.)
Female 37 authors
Male 11 authors
Nonbinary 3 authors
I tend to read more books by women each year, so this is no surprise. The total adds up to more than 50 in this category as well because one book, Once & Future, is co-authored by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy, who are both nonbinary. Included in the female total is one trans author, Meredith Russo. I’d definitely like to increase the trans and non-binary representation in my future reading.