As the year draws to a close we tend to think back on the year that has passed and try to evaluate whether, all things considered, it has been a successful one or not. This year I will attempt a more objective evaluation by looking at what my reading statistics tell me about how I have been feeling during the past year. These statistics are available to me on my Goodreads account where I have diligently input the books I have been reading for the past few years.
The first obvious conclusion to be drawn from the numbers below is a rather sad one. It seems clear that this year is part of a general downward trend in the amount I read. The below chart shows that I read fewer books this year than in preceding years, and compared to 2009 the number is nothing less than appalling.
Luckily the low number is partly due to the fact that two of the books I read were enormous tomes, that took ages to get through. If we look at the number of pages rather than books, the result is slightly more optimistic. But the fact still remains that there is a general decline in the long-term, which is worrying. Hopefully the 1648 page increase in comparison to 2012 indicates a reversal of the trend.
What do these numbers tell me about how I have been feeling in 2013 and how it compares to other years? When I read less it tends to indicate that I am feeling somewhat down. Reading requires some form of commitment, and when I feel low I might turn to the less demanding TV for entertainment. However, we also have to take into consideration other circumstances, such as the fact that in comparison to 2009 I have both a blog and a dog that takes up some of my time. In the first half of the year I also walked to work which did not give me the opportunity to read while commuting.
So let’s look at some other statistics to get a clearer view. The way I rate books also says a lot about how I am feeling. If I give a lot of high ratings I am probably feeling happy and optimistic. Of course this also depends on the books I read, so as evidence it is not at all conclusive.
In 2013 I did not give a single book 5 stars, but since I rarely do that it is not very telling. The fact that the majority of books received 3 stars says a lot, however. It indicates that I did not get very excited about a lot of books. 3 stars means I liked the book, but did not feel strongly about it. This might of course say more about the books than about me, but still I cannot help but think that the ratings are caused more by my indifferent attitude than the books themselves. Looking at the list now, in hindsight, there are several books that might have deserved 4 star rating.
Another indicator of my mood is the genre of books I read. Since my shelf classification is not that elaborate the statistics generated are not that good, but I can deduce a few things from the below pie-chart.
The most obvious indicator is the large amount of crime fiction I have read. I tend to read crime fiction when I feel tired and need a book that will easily keep my attention. The same goes for the fantasy and children’s literature which I tend to read when I need something a little lighter. The fact that I have not read all that many funny books tells me that I have not been feeling seriously in the need of cheering up, which is a good sign.
The overall conclusion seems to be that I have been somewhat tired and a little low, but not severely so. Of course the statistics might also be read to say that I have been busy with my dog, that this year’s catch at the Bookswappers’ Club was not very exciting and that I happened to buy a large amount of Swedish language crime fiction while on holidays in Finland… As usual statistics can be interpreted in many ways.
Well, Happy New Year to you all! My resolutions are to read more, write more and spend more time with my dog and boyfriend. Anybody have some spare time to sell me?