2018 Reading Overview and Statistics

Every New Year’s, I write a blog post analyzing my reading data from the previous year and reflecting on my yearly reading goals, while also setting new goals for the upcoming year.

For the 2018 reflection, I’ve decided to level up this post by adding in charts made with Microsoft Word!

Genre and Format Statistics

Total: 134

Month with Most Books Read: January (17)

Month with Least Books Read: July and September (6)

Rereads: 2 (1.49%)

Advanced Reviewer’s Copies: 63 (47.01%)

Ebooks: 30 (22.39%)

Library (print or ebook): 7 (5.22%)

Print: 27 (20.15%)

Audio: 4 (2.99%)

Other formats: 3 (2.24%)

Fantasy: 67 (50.00%)

Science Fiction: 50 (37.31%)

Contemporary: 4 (2.99%)

Historical: 4 (2.99%)

Mixed genres: 6 (4.48%)

Other genres: 3 (2.24%)

Young Adult: 34 (25.37%)

In 2017, I read slightly fewer ARCs (42.51% to 47.01%), but it’s nowhere near the huge change from 2016 to 2017 when the blog started taking off more.

This year is the first time I’ve read more ebooks than print books (not counting ARCs). I’ve realized that I actually prefer ebooks — they’re just so much more convenient for me. I’m already hauling around books for class, so I don’t want to add another book on top of those. Plus, what if I finish the book? With my Kindle, I’ve got plenty more to keep me occupied.

I’ve always tended to read more fantasy than science fiction, but this year the gap has shrunk. Maybe I’m just finding more science fiction I like?

Year Published

2018 Books by pub date

This year, I started tracking the publication date of the books I was reading, since I wanted data to verify that I’ve been reading fewer backlist books. Turns out that’s true, with the majority of the books I read in 2018 published in 2018.

Even then, I was including books I read for classes. Literally, all of the pre-1950s books I read this year were for either Irish Literature or a class on Arthurian Literature.

While I would like to read more backlist books, I don’t think I’m going to make a committed effort to read more of them. I just like new releases too much to give them up!

Author Statistics

Books by “New to Me” Authors: 54 (40.30%)

Books by Female Authors: 91 (67.91%)

Books by Male Authors: 27 (20.15%)

Books by Nonbinary Authors: 3 (2.24%)

Books by Authors of Color: 43 (32.09%)

Books by “New to Me” Authors of Color: 24 (17.91%)

My percentage of “new to me” authors has fallen slightly since last year’s 42.51%, but not by much. However, it’s something I’ll want to keep an eye on for 2019. My fear is that with less time in general for books, I’ll be less likely to books by debut authors and “new to me” authors. And I want to keep expanding who I read!

2018 books by author gender

Looking at gender, I continue to read more books by women than men. This isn’t new — it’s been true for all the years I’ve had this blog. That said, this year I read a smaller percentage of male authors than I ever had before, which I wasn’t expecting. It’s not far off from last year (21.54%) though. The percentage of female authors has risen some (up from 61.68% last year), but it doesn’t match the al time high of 75%. I didn’t include the data for books with multiple authors (AKA anthologies), so that’s why the numbers don’t add up to 100%.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Above should be an image slideshow with the graphs relating to author race. I’ve never tried a slideshow with the in-built WordPress tools, so hope it’s working! Anyway, while I read fewer books by people of color this year, I also read fewer books overall. The percentage continued to grow, and I’m almost to a third! That’s been sort of my internal goal post since I made 25%. If I make a third, I’ll start aiming for 40% or 50%.

Protagonist Statistics

Books with Female Protagonists: 71 (52.99%)

Books with Male Protagonists: 18 (13.43%)

Books with Protagonists of Multiple Genders: 28 (20.90%)

Books with Human Nonbinary Protagonists0

Books with Queer Protagonists: 42 (31.34%)

The percentages of books with male and female protagonists stayed pretty similar to last year. The books with protagonists of multiple genders fell by about 10% though, but that might be a reflection of how I counted short story anthologies this year versus last year. What’s more relevant is the lack of human nonbinary protagonists, which is a change — usually, I read at least a few. So in 2019, I’ll need to do a better job on reading books with nonbinary representation.

2018 queer books by year

On a related note, I didn’t read as many books with queer protagonists this year, either by overall number or percent. It’s something I’ve actually noticed during the year, and I’m frustrated that I didn’t end up reading more queer books. I’ll talk more about that in my goals section.

Looking over the old data, I noticed that the spike in reading queer books coincides with me coming out, which isn’t that surprising! I also changed from using the term “LGBT” to using the term “queer” around the same time I started identifying as queer.

For my 2019 reading data, I’m going to start tracking how many books mention queer people existing. I think it’d be interesting, if not a proportionate sample of SFF as a whole.

Most Read Authors

Mira Grant/Seanan McGuire (5)

Rachel Aaron (4)

T. Kingfisher (4)

Martha Wells (3)

Most Viewed Posts (* marks those published in 2018)

  1. Review of The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline*
  2. Review of Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac
  3. Review of The Root by Na’amen Gobert Tilahun
  4. Review of Fire Logic by Laurie J. Marks
  5. Review of An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows
  6. Review of Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
  7. Review of Ariah by B.R. Sanders
  8. Review of An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon
  9. Review of Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone
  10. Interview with Rebecca Roanhorse on Trail of Lightning *

I don’t know quite what’s going on with The Marrow Thieves, but since I wrote my review in January 2018, it’s somehow managed to become my all-time most-viewed post. In less than a year. This list doesn’t really illustrate it, but The Marrow Thieves is leaps and bounds ahead of the other posts in terms of views. I’m glad it’s happening! But I have no idea why.

Otherwise, the entries on this list aren’t surprising. Many of them have been on this list last year or the year before that. Generally speaking, it’s the reviews of queer science fiction or fantasy books and/or SFF by people of color that get the most views. I make an effort to read a diverse set of authors and stories, so it’s good to see that my followers appreciate it!

Most Viewed Posts Written in 2018

  1. Review of The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline
  2. Interview with Rebecca Roanhorse on Trail of Lightning
  3. Review of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  4. Queer SFF in 2018
  5. Review of The Raven and the Reindeer by T. Kingfisher
  6. Favorite 2018 SFF Releases
  7. Review of Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
  8. Review of The Wrong Stars by Tim Pratt
  9. Review of Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller
  10. Review of The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

I posted the overview of 2018’s queer SFF towards the end of November, so it’s only had a month to get itself that high up the list. See what I mean about queer SFF getting the views? And my post on this year’s favorite books really racked up the views quickly!

2018 Goals Overview

My first goal for 2018 was to keep my TBR pile at least stagnant. Hah! To be honest, I completely stopped tracking the books I acquired vs. what books I read off the pile. And I don’t think I’ll bother with it in 2019. I’m accepting that there’ll always be a massive number of unread books in my life.

My second goal was to continue reading queer books, but I didn’t set a particular benchmark for this one. I guess I fulfilled the “continue” bit, but I was sort of hoping to read even more? Or at least not less. Anyway, count me unsatisfied with this one.

Finally, I wanted to read more books by people of color. While I didn’t set a specific goal for this either, my strategy was to try and have one review a week. This worked pretty well for most of the year, but it completely fell to pieces in the fall, when my reviewing become a tad more sporadic. I’ll count this as at least a partial success.

Goals for 2019

None!

Well, okay, not exactly. I want to continue to read a diverse set of books and authors, but I’m setting no goals whatsoever beyond that vague hope. How can I set goals when I don’t know what my life will be like? And 2019 is full of uncertainty.

Do you track your reading? Do you have any suggestions for criteria I should sort books by? Let me know in the comments!

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Tammy says:

    I think this is going to be the first year I track my reading in very specific ways, since I found a blogging spreadsheet I want to use. Usually I just don’t have time for this level of tracking, but I find it fascinating!

    1. Sarah Waites says:

      Once I get my spreadsheet set up, it doesn’t take much time to enter each book. Most of the time is in writing up these analysis posts!

  2. I could look at statistical breakdown pages like this all day. Yeah, I love numbers like this, but people always have different reading goal, so people creates different graphs and analyses based on those goal, and that is what I find it to be very enjoyable reading over.

    1. Sarah Waites says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it! I enjoy making these breakdowns. 🙂

  3. >For my 2019 reading data, I’m going to start tracking how many books mention queer people existing. I think it’d be interesting, if not a proportionate sample of SFF as a whole.

    Oh I LOVE this idea. I love it across the board, but especially for SFF. I’d like to keep track of whether my SFF reading acknowledges the existence of disabled people too. I think that one’s going to trend in a depressing way, but I would still like to know.

    1. Sarah Waites says:

      Yes, I’m trying to keep better track of SFF books with disabled people in them too — I added a list to my site for it, but it’s still pretty bare.

      And even if the data is depressing, it’s good to have. If nothing else, you can use it to prove there’s a problem in the field.

  4. Sarah says:

    Your author statistics are awesome! More diversity in my reading is something I’m also aiming for. I did do better this year though so for 2019 I’m looking to continue down that path. Great post. I always love to see what stats other bloggers/readers are tracking.

    1. Sarah Waites says:

      Same here! And I get weirdly into analyzing the numbers and such.

  5. Sarah says:

    I understand completely! I have a whole spreadsheet of exactly this. Haven’t tried tracking by pub date though. I think goodreads does that one for me, and most of mine are pretty modern.

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