2016 Reading Year in Review & 2017 Goals

Pancakes 2I’ve had a surprisingly productive reading year, coming in with a total of 71 books. Considering that I sent my goal at 52 books, for a decent one-book-a-week challenge, I’m quite pleased to see my total come in so high! I don’t know that I’ve ever read so many books in a year and I have a feeling that both the blog and the Read Harder Challenge had a hand in it.

This year I also decided to track certain statistics of my reading habits, which yielded interesting results. I haven’t yet posted reviews of all of the books I’ve read, but here’s how the year shaped up:

  • 61%  of my reads were fiction and 39% were non-fiction
  • I read:
    • 5 contemporary fiction books
    • 1 mystery
    • 3 romance novels
    • 1 work of historical fiction
    • 4 pieces of science- or speculative-fiction
    • 1 horror novel
    • 1 play
    • 10 comics/graphic novels
    • 10 young adult works
    • 9 children’s books
    • 4 essay collections
    • 12 that I shelved under the catch-all “Science, Culture, & Society”
    • 2 biographies
    • and 8 memoirs
  • 39% of my authors were male and 49% were female; one author identified as non-binary and six were collaborations
  • 28% of my books were by diverse authors or focused on diverse subjects
  • 69% came from the library and 31% I bought or already owned
  • 35% were parts of series and 65% were stand-alone
  • I reread 4
  • I completed 6 books in Spanish and 2 in French
  • I read 21,178 pages
  • I listened to 56 hours and 34 minutes of audio
  • I gave:
    • 2 one star,
    • 5 two star,
    • 21 three star,
    • 20 four star,
    • and 22 five star ratings
  • I did not finish 6 books

My least favorite read? It’s got to be Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. Terribly unoriginal and so poorly written. At least Fifty Shades Darker had content ripe for discussion.

My favorite read? I’ll give that honor to March: Book One by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, & Nate Powell. I clearly made a lot of good reading choices this year, but this is the one that has stuck with me the most.

I’m pleased by many of these stats, particularly that I read so many non-fiction books when I would easily classify myself as primarily a reader of fiction. The majority of my books were written by women, which is fantastic, and I clearly used my library well while curbing my book-buying habit. I never used to listen to audiobooks, but I’m happy to have discovered them as a great way to consume books while improving my language listening skills.

I would say, however, that I’m a bit disappointed that my percentage of diverse reads is so low. Now, 28% can be considered rather decent, given that you can still read all dead white males and be thought of as well-read, but I can do better and it’s something I want to correct in the upcoming year. To me, a diverse read is one that is outside of the  white-American/European, straight, cisgender, Christian, able-bodied narrative. Lest it seem that I am eschewing great reads simply because they represent the majority party, rest assured that I already have so many books on my TBR list that qualify as diverse. I know I love Octavia Butler – why haven’t I read more of her works? I love Native Son and have owned Black Boy for years, but it’s only ever sat on my shelf. Sandra Cisneros is fantastic, but I’ve only read one of her books. I have no idea why I’m not reading these.

I would say I’m not a huge fan of setting strict reading goals for myself, but I liked that having specific tasks for the Read Harder Challenge got me to read so many books that would probably still be gathering dust on my shelves without it. So, for this year I’m upping my goals slightly to include three items:

  1. Read more diversely. This should not be difficult.
  2. Complete the 2107 Read Harder Challenge. I’ve already got most of my selections picked out.
  3. Pursuant to my desire to read more diversely, and my recognition that I have certain holes in my literary knowledge, I want to read the complete novels of Toni Morrison. I’ve only ever read Sula and that seems, well, a bit ridiculous. This will be the year I change that.

So, how did your reading year shape up? Did you track your reading? Were you surprised by your results? What do you hope to improve in 2017?



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