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[books] 2015 reading data round-up post
books on my head
coffeebased
My Top 10 Reads for 2015, in no particular order:
(I put links to the relevant blog entries, but I'm afraid a lot of them don't have any)



Figure 1. The Xenogenesis Trilogy by Octavia Butler [+]




Figure 2. SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki [+], ODY-C by Matt Fraction and Christian Ward [+], The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu




Figure 3. Sleeper by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips




Figure 4. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples




Figure 5. Thessaly by Jo Walton [+]




Figure 6. The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert [+], The Compass Rose by Ursula K. Le Guin [+], and The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri



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2015 Reading Data




Table 1. 2015 Reading Data (%)


This 2015, I read 252 books. I decided to separate my data into the following charts, copying what Kam did with her data. I had simple tables put up last year, but I figure this might be easier to digest. I've included a table anyway, just for the sake of seeing it all side-by-side.


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A quarter (63) of what I read (n = 252) was composed of newly published works. I think that's quite a sizeable chunk! It would have been much larger too, had I been able to read everything that I'd meant to read out of all the 2015 releases. I'm going to be playing catch-up forever, especially since 2016 has its own set of new releases I'm looking forward to this year. I'll slip the list in at the end of this blog post.


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My fourth reading resolution last year was to read more non-fiction than I did in 2014, and I did end up reading six more non-fiction books, so I think that I've followed the letter of the law on that one. The spirit, however...



Yes, non-fiction represents only 5.9% of the all the books I've read in 2015. That's totally breaking the spirit of the resolution, especially if you consider that in 2014 7.3% of my reading was composed of non-fiction. That's... not good, especially if i want to be a more well-rounded reader.

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Speaking of becoming a more well-rounded reader, 63% of what I read this year were graphic novels, either part of a series or standalone. Usually, this is the opposite. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but there was an uptick in my consumption of comics/graphic novels this year. Sometime in late July and early August, I'd found it very difficult to read any books but I still felt the desire to read. To curb the frustration and to distract myself from the feelings that were fucking up my reading mojo, I decided to catch up with all the graphic novels and comic book series that I'd missed out on in the past few years and then I fell into a pit. Soon after, I was able to go back to reading whole books. However the mid-year graphic novel pit I'd thrown myself into was so fulfilling and so very full of clever, beautiful stories that I've upped the comic reading again. Since it's promising to continue to be a big part of my reading life, i've decided to include graphic novels/comics in my reading data from this point on.


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The two charts above are just some fun ones I've made for my own pleasure. I hadn't realised how much of my reading was taken up by books from series, and I think that I really ought to wander a bit further afield from speculative fiction in order to not miss out on other things.


Table 2. 2015 Series Data (n)


A fun little table about the series I'd read in 2015. I'm glad that I've put 24 of them to bed, but I started 45 so that more than makes up for what I'd managed to remove from the tottering pile of books that is my reading list. Looking forward to taking more out, authors willing.

Table 3. Comparison of Reading Data 2013-2015 (%)



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The table and chart above are self-explanatory, I think, and I have very few notes about them. 1) I've added rows for graphic novel and standalone books, 2) despite my earlier concern about spec fic taking over everything, it seems as though I read less of it, in proportion, than in 2014, and 3) this year shows the lowest percentage of new releases read! Oh dear. I really do blame all those graphic novels I read in the middle of the year.


Speaking of the middle of the year, I decided to make a chart showing that reading spike I've mentioned:



It's really noticeable. We all cope in our own ways, of course, and I decided to drink and read a lot. 49 books in a month is probably an all-time high for me. I probably read more when I was a child, during the dizzying days of precociousness and sheer joy of discovery, but it's not as though I have data to support all that, so yes. My reading speed is pretty even, now that I'm older: you can see that it's almost a straight line right through my year. I totted my average speed (books per day) several times throughout the year but the latter numbers are really terrifyingly wonky, so I won't share them. You could figure it out if you wanted to. I mean, all the numbers are here and you probably have access to last year's calendar...


Here are my last Next 20 reads from both 2014 and 2015. As you can see, there is no overlap. I did have a problem getting a copy of Waking the Merrow by Heather Rigney, but I'm hoping to get it this year. Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi and Off to be the Wizard (Magic 2.0 #1) are technically part of my Next 20s but they got shunted into the Reading Next bit, so with those, I finished 21 books from that list, and I'm in the clear.




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Reading Resolutions




Let's look at 2015's reading resolutions:

  1. Read at least one Russian novel this year.  Done, thanks to The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

  2. Knock at least twenty books off my to-read list. Done, 21 books down.

  3. Be super-duper mega hyper-relaxed about how much I'm reading - Not done. I was having a lot of emotional problems and decided to micromanage my reading so roughly and meanly that I got quite stressed by it. Other people would have taken their control issues out on their body weight, but obviously, I have not done that.

  4. Read more non-fiction Done, in terms of number but not in proportion.



So, based on everything, here are my Reading Resolutions for 2016:

  1. Have non-fiction comprise a larger portion of my total reads for the year.

  2. Read more literary fiction.

  3. Read more standalone novels.

  4. Finish Les Misérables by Victor Hugo because SERIOUSLY, I have been reading it on and off for some years now, and I swore to a friend that I'd finish it this year, but with them went my motivation to do it. This year!

  5. Knock at least twenty books off my to-read list.


I think those are fairly manageable goals. I didn't include becoming more relaxed about my reading because honestly I felt as though making it a goal just put the pressure on more. I haven't finished a book yet in the past two days as holiday things have been happening, but I expect the tide to turn soon. Classes begin on the sixth, and I'm looking forward to being back with my students.

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Incomplete List of 2016 Releases

1/5

This Census-Taker by China Miéville

1/26

The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn 6) by Brandon Sanderson

City of Blades (The Divine Cities 2) by Robert Jackson Bennett

2/2

Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen (Vorkosigan Saga 19) by Lois McMaster Bujold

Games Wizards Play (Young Wizards 10) by Diane Duane

Revisionary (Magic Ex Libris 4) by Jim C. Hines

2/16

Calamity (The Reckoners 3) by Brandon Sanderson

2/23

A Gathering of Shadows (Darker Shade of Magic 2) by V. E. Schwab

2/29

New Republic: Bloodline by Claudia Gray

3/8

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices 1) by Cassandra Clare

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

3/15

The Last Mortal Bond (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne 3) by Brian Staveley

4/5

Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan

Death's End (The Three-Body Problem 3 by Cixin Liu

5/1

Double Down (Lois Lane 2) by Gwenda Bond

5/3

The Hidden Oracle (Trials of Apollo 1) by Rick Riordan

5/10

The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes

League of Dragons (Temeraire 9) by Naomi Novik

Too Like the Lightning (Terra Ignota 1) by Ada Palmer

5/31

The Geek Feminist Revolution by Kameron Hurley

6/7

Romen and/or Juliet: A Chooseable-Path Adventure by Ryan North

The Dark Talent (Alcatraz 5) by Brandon Sanderson

6/14

The Long Cosmos by Terry Pratchett and Stephen Baxter

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

Summer Days and Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories edited by Stephanie Perkins

6/28

Necessity by Jo Walton

6/5

Underground Airlines by Ben H. Winters

7/21

The Thorn of Emberlain (Gentleman Bastards 4) by Scott Lynch

Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive 3) by Brandon Sanderson

8/9

The Last Days of New Paris by China Miéville

8/16

The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth 2) by N. K. Jemisin

8/23

High Stakes by George R. R. Martin

8/30

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes 2) by Sabaa Tahir

9/6

Everfair by Nisi Shawl

9/27

Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows 2) by Leigh Bardugo

10/4

The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard) by Rick Riordan

12/15

The Thousand and One (The Crescent Moon Kingdoms 2) by Saladin Ahmed