Books

On Reading | 2017 (so far).

Last December, I wrote a post about my reading plans for 2017. In a nutshell, I wanted to continue reading more diversely in terms of genre (30% non-fiction) and author gender and nationality and I wanted to make better use of the library (50% borrowed). I didn’t plan on setting a goal for how many books I’d read, but Goodreads is a tough master and I eventually caved; I set a goal of 75 books.

I finished #75 last week and thought it would be a good time check-in.

details on Goodreads here

This morning I updated my tracking spreadsheet to add two charts – which show that I’m behind on both the goals I set!

Only 16 of the 75 books have been non-fiction (which includes biographies and memoirs) – but of those 16, a whopping six are on my 5-star list. …and that’s why I’m going to continue to push myself to read non-fiction.

31 books have come from the library, Overdrive or friends. Only three of my 5-star books were borrowed. What I realized is that I like to buy books I really love – not so much to re-read them, but to be able to share them with others. I also buy the books I read with my small group because we typically read slowly and I like to make notes and highlight. Further – I didn’t track this, but I suspect it’s true – many of the “owned” books were previous year purchases. In other words, I’m reading through stash 😉 (and that doesn’t count, right?!) Overall, I feel pretty good about what I’m borrowing vs. buying. Next year, I’ll track “new” vs. “shelved”, too.

As points of interest, I also tracked a few more things about the authors:

Gender – 39 female (52%)
Person of Color – 13 (17%)
Nationality – 50 United States (a whopping 67%! and I could count on one hand how many were non-US and non-British)

Whoa, that’s certainly not as diverse as I’d like.

But when it comes down to it – I choose most of the books I read because I think I’ll love them (or one of my neighbors chose it for bookclub). A few I choose because I think they’ll make me a better person or educate me about something I need to know about. But mostly, it’s just for fun. And I am OK with that.

That said, I am still working on this year’s Read Harder Challenge. I have a ways to go (11 more books!), but I own eight of them already and one I’m getting from Overdrive – A Wrinkle in Time (can you believe I’ve never read it?!) – is ready to borrow. I haven’t run the numbers, but I suspect the author diversity stats will look a lot better once I finish those 11 books. We’ll see!

When I wrote that December post, I asked if you were setting any reading goals for 2017. If you did, have those goals affected how you read this year?

So whew, another longer-than-I-intended post! Thank you for sticking with me!

12 Comments

  • Carole Julius

    My goal this year was the same as last year – to read 75 books. I don't think too much about genres and other things but I do try to always read at least some of the Man Booker nominees.

  • Bonny

    You have lofty goals! I finally caved this year and set a goal of 75 books after I got tired of goodreads' nagging, but I've never set a goal before this year. Like Carole, I don't think much about genres with my only real criterion being "does it look like a good book I will enjoy". When I'm wondering what to post about some day during November I may have to do a reading assessment like yours. I'm curious about where my reading falls with respect to stars, fiction vs non-fiction, borrowed, etc. I hope you love A Wrinkle in Time (and then maybe A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and the rest of the quintet)!

  • Patty

    I've read 23 toward my goal of 35. I'm not sure I'll make it but am certain I'll be at 25 by the end of the weekend! And my choices…are very often based on your choices!

  • margene

    I'm hoping to reach my goal by years end (70 books), but I have 9 more to go so I need to get reading! You've made me wonder about the diversity of what I read and I'm going to have to do some research, but your goals are not only lofty they are totally worth pursuing.

  • Debbie

    I never read A Wrinkle in Time until this summer (for book bingo) and I really enjoyed it and I hope you do too! I like to read a variety of both fiction & non-fiction and tend to choose books that interesting to me.

  • Vera

    I loved A Wrinkle in Time when I read it decades ago. My guess is that it would still be wonderful. I don't set reading goals. I just go with the flow, read a lot (some years more than others), and look for books that I enjoy. I used to ALWAYS finish each and every book I started. Now I don't. Too many books and too little time. I'm ditching 4.3.2.1. for now because the wordiness of it is annoying me (and I'm falling asleep every time I start to read it). Too many books have come thru on overdrive and I'm going with them. I may return to 4.3.2.1. – or I may not – depends on what else crosses my path. The main thing for me is to enjoy what I read whether it be fiction, nonfiction, etc.

  • Kym

    A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorite books as a child, and one I eagerly shared with my kids. (We used to do family read-alouds right through high school!) It did become a family favorite for all of us. I think you'll enjoy it.

    I tend not to be too harsh with my reading goals. I usually read somewhere near 75 books/year, so that is my steady-freddie Goodreads goals. If I make it, great. If I don't, meh. Who really cares? I usually look to a few of the awards lists for book ideas (Man Booker, National Book Award, Women's Prize), but at this point in my reading-life, I know what appeals to me and I tend to stick with it. I don't like formulas. . . But this year, I did commit to reading more books from the library — and that has really played out in a positive way. (I still use Audible, though – especially for books that I want to "savor" for longer than Overdrive's check out period — so it tends to be for the long ones. And I tend to buy non-fiction books that I want to ponder and highlight and mark up. Plus poetry. Because poetry.)

    Happy reading!

  • Penny

    I didn't set a goal this year and I guess that is a good thing because my reading is off. That hasn't stopped me from keeping a list of books I want to read though – and quite a few of them are books you have read. : ) I'm inspired by your reading and have tried genres I would not normally have tried (and enjoyed them!) And I'm very impressed by your charts! Good luck on your Read Harder Challenge!

  • AsKatKnits

    Wow, this is fascinating Mary! And, you know what? I have never read A Wrinkle in Time either! Hmmm. Perhaps 2018 will be my turn to tackle the Read Harder Challenge! Although, with your help and assistance in selecting some awesome books, I am so happy to say that I have exceeded my reading challenge for the year – but I am not stopping. I am really going to push myself in these last two months!

  • Honoré

    Yes, I did set a goal to read more fiction…and I have…probably because if I read just one, that'd be at least 50% more… joking aside, I did set out to read at least 1 fiction title a month and I do need to take count…I'm intrigued by your stats and pie chart…congrats and do enjoy Wtrinkle in Time!
    Cheers~