2009 by the numbers

I think it’s time to take a mathematical look back at this year’s reading. I’m anticipating finishing a book I’m in the middle of right now; I’m going to count it in this year’s numbers because I’ll most likely finish it by December 31st, or I will have read most of it in 2009 so it should count for this year anyway.

Books read: 69 (plus 6 audio books, which I’m not including in the numbers below)

Fiction (of any genre or length): 52

Nonfiction: 16

Poetry: 1

Short story collections: 1

Essay collections: 4

Nonfiction books about books, reading, and writers: 8

Female authors: 34

Male authors: 34

Multiple authors, men and women: 1

Books in translation: 5 (France [2], Austria [2], Mexico)

Books by authors from England: 29 and Scotland: 1

Books by authors from Ireland: 2

Books by Americans: 29

Books by Canadians: 1 (L.M. Montgomery)

Books by Russians: 1 (Nabokov, written in English)

Books from the 19th century: 7

Books from the 20th century:  41 (first half: 18; second half: 23)

Books from the 21st century: 21

Books re-read: 3

Books by authors I’d never read before: 42

So there it is. I usually read more books from pre-19C times, but I didn’t this year, although I did read a bunch of essays by Montaigne. I have read only 700 pages of the 1,200-page complete essays, so I can’t count that one. And as usual, unfortunately, I haven’t read many books in translation, although I am up one from last year (but down from the year before where I read 15). I swear I don’t try to get the gender ratio so evenly balanced; it just worked out that way. I didn’t try to get the balance between English and American authors so even either.

I think I have a decent amount of variety in my reading, but I’d like to have even more — more poetry, more books in translation, more short stories, more books from earlier times.

13 Comments

Filed under Books, Reading

13 responses to “2009 by the numbers

  1. Ann

    Thank you for reminding me that I meant to go back to Montaigne. I picked up a copy after reading Virginia Woolf’s comments on him and then somehow never got round to reading it. Maybe it would be the right book to pop into my bag and take around for those waiting moments that we all have at some time or another.

  2. Wow. If my 4th grade math is correct, that’s almost 6 books a month! I really need to gear up! Are you going to let us know what your favorites were? I love hearing what other readers place on their “best reads” and “worst reads” lists.

  3. Impressive numbers! How did you manage the 34/34 male/female author split? Will you be listing favorites for the year too?

  4. ted

    A rich reading year! May 2010 bring you wonderful times in reading and all the rest!

  5. Wow, you really do have a perfect ratio! And so many nonfiction reads! I wish I could be a little more balanced, but it never works out that way. I usually listen to a few audio books (which I never count either), but I don’t think I listened to a single one this past year! I do want to try and read more essays next year, though! Looking forward to your favorites list!

  6. SFP

    I’m with Grad; I’m looking forward to your “best reads” list.

    And I like how you’ve provided the nationality of the author, something I’d like to aspire to noting (since otherwise I won’t remember) in my reading list next year.

  7. Love that you got an even number with male and female authors. And, I’m very impressed with your non-fiction reads. I always think I’ll read more but somehow just never quite make the effort I guess. Anyway here’s to another great reading year!

  8. Interesting book facts, Dorothy. And that’s an impressive number, considering many of your books are long, long ones! All the best wishes for another book-filled year… I await more interesting book posts from you. Happy 2010!

  9. It’s always fun reading other people’s stats! Sounds like a wonderful reading year, Dorothy, that will point you in exactly the right direction for 2010!

  10. Very impressive! You do have a wide variety of formats and centuries there! Looking forward to seeing what 2010 brings from the TBR list!

  11. Ann — Oh, Montaigne is wonderful. He does have a lot of short essays that would be perfect for small moments of time, and even the longer ones don’t always have to be read in their entirely all at once. I’ll admit that the complete Montaigne is a bit daunting, but his selected essays would be great for carrying around.

    Grad — I did do a “best of” list, although not a “worst of” one — I guess I’m in the mood to dwell on the positive at this point :) And yeah, 6 books a month works pretty well for me.

    Stefanie — I have no idea how I managed it! I checked at one point much earlier in the year, but otherwise, I didn’t count and make decisions based on gender. I just have a knack, I guess :)

    Ted — all the same to you! I’m looking forward to reading about what you discover in 2010.

    Danielle — I’m really looking forward to hearing how the essay reading goes with you. I do read a decent amount of nonfiction, but the nonfiction I read tends to be more narrative in style, so it’s not so far from fiction. I don’t read a ton of books that have a lot of facts I won’t remember in them :)

    SFP — I’ve found myself keeping more and more notes on the books I read with each year. The information is useful (although a bit of a pain to compile — perhaps an excel file would make sense?).

    Iliana — and another great reading year to you too! I’ll bet I never achieve that gender-balancing perfection again, but it was nice to do it this year!

    Lilian — why, thank you! :)

    Arti — thank you, and I hope you have a wonderful reading year in 2010! A number of this year’s books were long, but a read quite a few short ones as well, so I think they balanced each other out.

    Litlove — I agree, I like reading other people’s stats too. I’m amazed at how many books some people manage to read! And the stats are fun because they do point out useful directions for the upcoming year.

    Debby — thank you! I’m looking forward to where your reading takes you in 2010 too.

  12. Does it say something about my age that just seeing the words ‘books from the 21st century’ gives me the feeling that you traveled through time to get them?

    This annual post is always intriguing. Such balance. Male-female. American-British. I also have slowly been reading more, and am even starting to write about the experience.

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