2010 in Review: Stats, Graphs, and Favorites

I wasn’t going to do stats at all this year, but I began reading other’s posts and I loved reading the year in review. I am a stat geek and I loved seeing other’s charts. This post includes some stats and then some thoughts on my year of reading.

Stats and Graphs

  • Approximate number of pages read, 2010: 38,956
  • Total number of books/works read: 140
  • Number of items read not reviewed on Rebecca Reads: 10
  • Audiobooks: 5
  • Graphic Novels: 5
  • Really Old Classics (pre-1600): 2

It’s interesting to compare this year’s stats with last year’s stats, simply because they are not comparable. Last year, I was concerned by what types of books I was reading; that is, I wanted a balance between fiction, nonfiction, children’s, and so forth.  I also wanted to track how much reading I did each month. My charts focused on how my reading fluctuated during the year.

This year, I honestly don’t care how much I read. For one, I stopped doing weekly and monthly progress posts so I don’t remember exactly when I finished each book. Besides, how do I compare my Victorian summer novel reading months to the African novel reading months? Books may be shorter, but it still was a fun and challenging month. Also, I can tell you pretty clearly I’ve been reading less each month as the year goes by.  I believe I finished five books in December 2010. I don’t even care. It seems like plenty.

At any rate, this year, what I’m most concerned about was not how much I read but what I read.

This year, I haven’t cared as much about nonfiction, and I’ve mostly been focusing on reading classics. As I think about my year, I wanted to see variety in terms of where my literature is from; classics from a variety of years, countries, and so forth.

Unsurprisingly, my reading was skewed towards male authors, since I read a lot of classics from England and elsewhere this year. This is very similar to last year’s numbers. Next year, I do want to read a bit closer to 50% women authors, although I do plan on attacking Shakespeare so he might skew the numbers a bit just as John Milton did this year.

It’s also rather unsurprising that I read only 25% books by non-white authors. I’m okay with that number, given that Victorian literature (my favorite) doesn’t have any minority authors (that I know of). I don’t recall how I did last year (I don’t think I tracked it). This year, I’ve focused on some Japanese literature and then I did read a number of African novels. Next year, I hope to keep focus on non-Western literature in some way, although I haven’t figured out which direction to go (definitely more African, maybe more Japanese, and I need to try Chinese and Indian literature). I also want to read more African-American literature from the Harlem Renaissance. I very much enjoyed the February Classics Circuit.

Year Written

And then I loved this chart when I saw it on bibliographing this week. I wanted to see what years I went to this year, and in what order. You’ll note the two really old classics I read while the Really Old Classics challenge was still going on. There is also a dip for the Milton month and my Victorian reading and a peak during the end of the year, when I read some African literature and also some modern children’s books, just because I wanted something light. I hope to keep next year’s chart even older! I love the classics and hope to stay in them for a while, although I won’t mind dipping into some twentieth century classics now and then too.

Countries Visited

I wish there was a way to make this chart skewed by how many books I read from each country. The UK wins hands down. I just love Victorian Literature! At any rate, I need to keep reading widely in order to visit the whole globe in my life.

Classics

Favorite Victorian classics of 2010: Great Expectations, Middlemarch

Favorite non-Victorian, Western classics of 2010: Hunger, Death Comes for the Archbishop, The Enchanted April

Favorite non-Western classics of 2010: So Long a Letter, The Makioka Sisters

Most rewarding reading of a challenging book (i.e., you get what you put in to it) : Mrs. Dalloway

Most non-Victorian Victorian classic: Three Men in a Boat

Best discovery: Persephone classics! Little Boy Lost and The Home-maker have entered my “favorites” file, and I look forward to more Persephones!

Most disappointing: The Monk. I just couldn’t like it. I know it was supposed to be funny, but it appalled me and I can’t say I liked it. The end was okay, though.

Favorites (and Not)

Favorite modern fiction (published in last 50 years) read in 2010: The Help, Kindred, The Thirteenth Tale

Least favorite books of 2010: Undaunted Courage (bleh! and I had to lead the book group on it!); The Hunger Games (I hated everything about this book, from the writing to the characters to the plot)

Most fun project: The Harlem Renaissance Classics Circuit both on the Classics Circuit site and on my blog.

Best graphic novel: I Kill Giants

Most motivating nonfiction: Half the Sky

Rereads

I reread 26 books in 2010, which was a higher percentage (18.5%) of the books read than last year. As always, I really enjoyed the experience.

Best re-reads: Crime and Punishment, East of Eden, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Most surprising reread: The Stranger. I didn’t hate it so much when I reread it! Book group helped.

Most disappointing reread: The Girl Who Owned a City. It was a favorite and wonderful and perfect book in my memory of being eight years old. I still enjoyed the memories upon reread, but it’s pretty poorly written and plotted.

Random Book Facts

Oldest book read: Sir Gawain and the Green Night (thirteenth century A.D.) If you are interested in my balance of reading to date by century, you can review it at my By the Century archive.

Most recently published book: The Help (February 19, 2009)

Longest book title: How to Read a Poem and Fall in Love with Poetry

Shortest book title: DNA

Second shortest book title: Maru

Longest book: Can You Forgive Her? It was 920 pages, but since I read it on an ereader, I didn’t realize it was so long until I finished it completely!

About the author 

Rebecca Reid

Rebecca Reid is a homeschooling, stay-at-home mother seeking to make the journey of life-long learning fun by reading lots of good books. Rebecca Reads provides reviews of children's literature she has enjoyed with her children; nonfiction that enhances understanding of educational philosophies, history and more; and classical literature that Rebecca enjoys reading.

  1. Wow, I love all your charts and graphs — must learn how to do this myself. I was especially fascinated by your literary map — I checked my list and it was overwhelmingly American and British-centered, just a smattering of other countries. I love British lit also — I think I was born on the wrong continent!

  2. I love wrap-up posts, too, and very much enjoyed reading this. I don’t keep close enough tabs on my reading to be able to produce stats, although I love everyone else’s! But I’m really looking forward to The Makioka Sisters – delighted it made your favourites llist!

    1. litlove, Enjoy MAKIOKA SISTERS! And yes, I understand the not wanting to do stats thing. I’ve tried to keep up with it all year and it worked, for the most part.

  3. I think I want to track my longest and shortest book this year. I didn’t even think of that last year and that sounds like a lot of fun. 😀 I’m such a dork. I’m so glad you put up stats because I love reading them! 🙂

    1. Amanda, I have a column in my chart for “page numbers” because last year I was obsessed with how many pages I read each week/month/year. This year I just didn’t care! But the page numbers was nice for this particular stat.

  4. Love your charts & graphs, Rebecca! I agree that the date-based scatter-graph impressed me when I saw it over at Nicole’s. I’m actually surprised your reading skews so male, since so many of the big Victorian novelists were women (Eliot, Gaskell, Braddon, the Brontes, etc.) and it seems like many of the African novels you’ve been reading have been by women. Surprising! Maybe I just tend to notice the female-authored ones more.

    And um, I USUALLY only read about 5 books/month, if that makes you feel any better. 😛

  5. I just love the graphs and charts and stats! Thank you for sharing. Some really fun stuff here, especially the chart by year!

  6. Wow! I love, love, love all the stats and graphs. And I agree with you about the Harlem Renaissance Classics Circuit. I really enjoyed the Edith Wharton circuit, because it was my first and because she’s one of my favorite authors. But I learned so much from the Harlem Renaissance circuit; there was so much rich content from so many different authors. Great stuff.

  7. I’m a stats nerd too! And I love your chart of when your book was published. I would love to do something like that with the books I have read, but I often forget to write down the original date of publishing. Whoops!

  8. I love the Year Written graph — very cool! I’m loving seeing the creativity people have put into showing off their stats. I’ll definitely be adding some of your favorite classics to my classics project list, and Half the Sky is already waiting for me!

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