Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Yearly Stats: Reading Choices

What compelled me to read this year's books?

Bibliophilopolis posted some stats for 2010 that I found interesting.  Have you ever looked back on the year's books and separated them into categories based on WHY you chose to read them?

I really like this idea because it is a chance to see if there is a way to adjust next year's reading to make it more rewarding.  After all, the reason I read, ultimately, is for my pleasure.

I've read 111 books this year (so far--hoping I'll be able to fit a couple more in still) and this is how they broke down:
Angela's Ashes: A Memoir
Interest/Mood (for no other reason than I wanted to): 14
Half of these were very average for me, 4 were a bit above average, and the other 4 were definitely above average. (Favorite: Angela's Ashes)

Book Clubs (read for either of my 2 book clubs): 15
1 was rather terrible, 9 were average or a bit above average, 5 were very much above average...some were my favorite books of the year.  I enjoy these discussions so much that I wouldn't change a thing. (Favorites: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Star of the Sea)

Precious BaneGift/Loan (most were not based on interest, and I think my resulting opinions show that) : 9
3 of these were horrid, 4 were okay, 2 were quite good (these were the more personalized recommendations).  Lesson learned: take only personalized recommendations or do my research before diving in. (Favorite: Precious Bane)

Slimdown (chosen simply because it had been on my shelf too long): 7
In which I discovered that there was a reason why the book had stayed on my shelf for so long, resulting in a newfound skills of using a wishlist instead of buying anything I fancy.  3 were BAD, 3 were fine, 1 was enjoyable. (Favorite: Prayers for Sale)

The UnderneathRead-Aloud to my kiddos (many of these also counted for my Newbery Challenge, although that wasn't the deciding factor in reading them): 24
Pretty good number considering this doesn't count picture books and the like.  There were only 2-3 that disappointed me, but there was only 1 that I really liked.  Most fell into that midrange. (Favorite: The Underneath)

Personal Challenges (Newberys {that weren't read aloud,} Pulitzers, Willa Cather, Classics): 13
The Good Earth (Enriched Classics)Assuming I finish Our Mutual Friend, this number will go up to 14, but still not nearly what I'd like to have accomplished.  I want to focus on this area more in 2011.  6 were Newbery's and were all fairly average.  Of the others, 4 were okay (though I'm glad I read them,) and 3 were very good. (Favorite: The Good Earth)

JF Other (pre-reading for my kiddos): 15
All were pretty good, and I'm pretty happy with the number. These make for a nice break between more serious reads without sacrificing quality. (Favorite: Dragon Slippers)

ARC (through LibraryThing, BookSneeze, or publishers ): 9
High Fidelity: A NovelHm, a couple were pretty good, but overall rather disappointing.  I'm sure the pressure of the time-schedule doesn't help.  I need to be more selective with these. (Favorite: Prisoners in the Palace)

Recommendation from a book blog (either direct recommendations, or decisions based on blog reviews and comments): 7
For the most part, these were all fabulous.  The one that wasn't was one that perhaps I should have looked into a bit more before jumping in. (Favorites: Speak, High Fidelity)

Conclusion:
   - let go of some obligations (ARCs and friend's loans)
   - focus more on my challenges and the books you all have helped me put on my wishlist
   - get rid of some of the books on my shelf BEFORE reading them and save myself some frustration.

Have you ever looked at your books in this light?

4 comments:

  1. Melody I love that you did this! I hope I have time over the next couple of weeks to do this. i get geeky with any type of research and statistics of this nature.

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  2. Great idea! I think for the most part I read what interests me, but next year I'm devoted to finishing 5 challenges, so that will likely influence my choices more in 2011. That's interesting that many reccommendations from friends panned out...I wonder why?

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  3. I have to admit - you did a much better & thorough job of this than I. I suspect, however, that we both have gained some insight into our choices that will make next year's reading even better.
    -Jay

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  4. Christina--I had a lot of fun doing this, I hope you get a chance to do it as well. The combo of books/lists/statistics was irresistible. :)

    Teacher/Learner--The books from friends were more just being passed around rather than actual recommendations, which taught me to be more judicial and less guilt-ridden about accepting them than I have been.

    Jay--well, I just couldn't help myself! It was very interesting and insightful to look at my books this way. Thank you for inspiring me to do it!

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