Reading Analysis

What I’m slowly finding is that if I’m willing to give up on a book because it just isn’t working, and if I’m willing to try stuff I might not be drawn to because I’m not afraid of it being something I’m stuck with for the next several months or years as I torturously drag my way through it, I end up finding things I didn’t expect to enjoy. I didn’t think, for example, that I’d be particularly fond of a travel book by Bill Bryson. It ended up being one of my all-time favorites. I wasn’t sure I was going to like Waiting For Godot by Samuel Beckett, but I enjoyed it quite a bit and found it was an easy read. And I’m secretly proud of myself for having read each, because I learned something from both. They can hardly be considered trash.

So the curious thing is that by not reading a lot of books at once I find I actually read (as in finish) a lot more books and by not worrying so much about the cachet of my selections, I actually end up reading some pretty impressive stuff. It took me a while to get to this point and I may look back a few months further on and sneer at my current rube status. But for the time being I feel happy with the fact that I’m reading a lot and that I’m not missing much of the other things I used to spend way more time doing instead. And I’ve discovered that if you put your mind to it, you can find more time for reading in a day than you might think. For example, I mentioned before that I only read one book at a time but the truth is really that I read two at a time now only one is an audiobook I keep in my car. I only get to listen to maybe three or at the most five hours worth of it per week, but it’s easier and better at keeping me awake during the commute than radio or podcasts and I get to slowly pick away at a second book while I read the one I keep in my backpack. Since I can’t otherwise read when I drive and I can’t listen to the audiobook easily elsewhere, there is no conflict.

There are a couple of other small factors that have played a role in my reading resurgence. One is definitely Goodreads. I’m a stats junkie so being able to track my reading progress the way I track my music listening with or my exercise with LoseIt is just something that clicks with me and motivates me. I used to do the same thing with Achievements on XBox Live or World of Warcraft so it feels kind of game-like. It also encourages me to write reviews of the books I read which aids me in considering what I read, something I think is important especially if I’m using the reading as a means of improving my own writing. The other is the Kindle Nik got me for Father’s Day this year. I’m not sure why it is, but I seem to read books much faster on the Kindle. I don’t use it for everything I read, but I look for deals on books I have on my to-read list and usually when I’m thinking about buying a new book (that is, one that I couldn’t get from the library or a used bookshop) I check for the Kindle edition first since it usually saves some money.

So in honor of all this reading I decided to go back and do a bit of analysis, just for fun, on the books I’ve read since about mid-2009 when I first started tracking on Goodreads. There are some gaps and missing books in there because as with all stats tracking and/or social media sites it takes me a while to get into the habit of using them, but it’s a pretty good representation of my reading activity for about two and a half years.

  • Total Books Read (May 2009 – October 2011): 50
  • 2009: 7
  • 2010: 21
  • 2011: 22

  • Genre Breakdown (some overlap in sub-genres may occur so don’t look for numbers to add up)
    • Nonfiction: 10
    • Fiction: 40
    • Mystery: 10
    • Fantasy: 9
    • Young Adult: 9
    • Science Fiction: 7
    • Zombies: 3
    • Graphic Novel: 3

  • Reading Time (I didn’t track start dates on every book so these numbers are very rough)
    • Average Time To Finish a Book: 10 days
    • Books I Read Fastest:
    • Death Match (416 pages; 2 days)
    • The Hunger Games (374 pages; 2 days)
    • Food Rules (140 pages; 1 day)
    • The Time Machine (128 pages; 1 day)

  • Books I Read Slowest:
    • The Zombie Survival Guide (254 pages; 69 days)
    • This Book Is Overdue (272 pages; 19 days)
    • Dune (512 pages; 33 days)
    • Devil In The White City (447 pages; 16 days)

  • Ratings
    • Five Star Books:

  • Four Star Books: 18
  • Three Star Books: 21
  • Two Star Books: 5
  • Average Rating: 3.5
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