During the Christmas break, I took a sabbatical from my computer to recharge and focus on being truly present with our friends and family. Okay fine, I forgot my cord at home during our trip to OK. Whatever. I’m just going to pretend it was a purposeful wellness exercise after the fact, okay?
I woke up this morning excited to plug back in to my virtual world because I’ve been eagerly anticipating writing this post—a little round up of my reading habits this year for the interest of all my readerly friends. I started keeping track of my books in a spreadsheet several years ago. This year, my spreadsheet grew to include some new categories in the interest of scientific research. I am very science-y.
I’d read several articles from other book nerds about the lack of reading diversity among American readers, and I was truly curious to know how my reading list would stack up. How many female authors was I reading vs. male authors? How many American authors vs. all the others? How many classics vs. new lit? I tried to just read the books I wanted to read without keeping any of these categories in mind because I wanted the list to accurately reflect my reading interests rather than focusing on molding the list to fit a certain balance. I’ve learned a bit about myself in this process.
Here are a few statistics about my list:
- 66% of the books I read were from female authors. One book I read was a husband/wife team with the remainder coming from male authors.
- 82% of the books I read were written by authors from the United States. (I find this statistic the most disappointing.)
- 90% of the books I read were published in 2003 or later.
- 81% of the books I read were fiction. I read two books of poetry, and the rest were non-fiction.
- Only 3.5% of the books I read were re-reads.
- It's hard to classify my book formats because I read them all--hardback, paperback, e-books, audiobooks, and sometimes a combination within the course of reading one book.
- I set a goal to read 70 books and ended up reading 113, totaling 37,956 pages, which means the books averaged 336 pages.
The first book I finished in 2015 was Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I am surrounded by people who are passionately passionate about this series, and it took me almost three years to finish its 850 pages. I am told the rest of the series gets better, but I am afraid that I am a short attention span reader, and I didn’t love this book like my friends do (ducks for cover). I’m not saying I hated it. I just don’t have Jamie Fraser posters hanging above my bed or anything. I actually enjoyed the TV series more than the book (ducks for cover again).
The last book I finished in 2015 was Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, made famous after Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper danced their way into our hearts in the movie version. I generally read the book before the movie, but in this case, I saw the movie ages ago before reading the book. I felt the same way about both versions of the story—glimpses of genius in an odd and original story.
I also log all of my books on Goodreads, which has a rating system of 1 to 5 stars. I am a generous star giver, as opposed to some of my friends who are way harsh, Tai. I never give out 1 star, which according to the Goodreads people signifies I “did not like it.” Theoretically, these are books I would never finish reading, and I only keep track of books I finish. I gave 24 5-star ratings, which means “it was amazing” in Goodreads-speak. I do not use the word amazing to describe things because ICK, so I have revised this to mean “it was amazeboobs.” I gave 14 2-star ratings which translates to “it was ok.”
And now some standouts from my year in reading—here are my top fifteen books (that were not re-reads) of 2015 in no particular order:
- Mosquitoland by David Arnold
- Bright’s Passage by Josh Ritter
- The Theft of Memory by Jonathon Kozol
- A Piece of Cake by Cupcake Brown
- Yes, Please by Amy Poehler
- Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
- Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
- Ghost Boy by Martin Pistorius
- All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
- The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
- Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey
- For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
- Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
- Crossover by Kwame Alexander
- I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
If you’re on Goodreads, let’s be friends. This is where I get most of my reading recommendations outside of the Lazy Book Club I admin on Facebook (if you want to join us there, just ask). I hope this list gives you some good ideas for future reading. I'd love to hear some of your favorites from 2015 as well. Happy reading, friends!