I was planning to write a post like this anyway but then something unexpected cropped up which has changed the shape of my January (and some of February). Due to drop-outs I've been asked to fill in as an Aurealis judge for the Anthologies and Collections panel. What this means is that I'm going to spend the start of 2015 madly catching up on reading and not writing reviews.
I'm one book in and I'm already having review withdrawals. Tweeting a sentiment to that effect, the lovely Gillian suggested I do a series of posts reflecting on my reading habits, changes since starting to review, etc. So consider this the first of a few posts on the general topic. Also I'm going to include the goodreads challenge progress widget thingy in these posts, at least until I forget about it. It's the only way (other than my spreadsheet) I have of marking books read, if I can't review them.
I've been keeping track of my reading in a spreadsheet since I started blogging and I thought I'd share some of my statistics with you. I missed doing this last year, but if you're interested, you can see my pie charts from 2012 here.
Let's start with nationalities of authors. The largest chunk of authors I read were Australian (46%). No surprise given I go out of my way to read books by Australians. The second largest demographic was US authors (34%, down from 40% in 2013), again not surprising given US cultural saturation. The NZ slice is probably an underestimation at 3% (up from 0% in 2013 and 2% in 2012) since if something was mixed ANZ it tended to be counted as Australian. In the interest of cultural balance I'd like to see the UK slice consume more of the US slice in the future, but I'm not pinning my hopes on it.
The next big thing is author gender. Anyone who's been paying any attention to by blog will not be surprised to see that the majority of my reviews (two thirds) were of books authored by women. What might be surprising is to learn that this is actually quite a drop from 2013 (82%) and 2012 (83%). This wasn't a conscious shift and I'm not entirely sure what caused it. More male-authored books grabbed my attention? The way the review copy distribution happened to fall? A product of my trying to branch out into new author land? Probably contributions from all of those factors and others I haven't thought of. It will be interesting to see how this shifts in 2015.
The genre distribution of my reading is not something that has changed significantly since 2013. Comparing 2014 to 2012, however, there is significant growth in the Horror and Other wedges. The first seems pretty obviously due to my starting an Aus Horror Reading Challenge and the latter I would put down to being exposed to more books, mainly through the AWW Challenge, but also through just existing as a blogger.
The distribution of publication years of books read is
Next up is ratings, as in, the star ratings I allocate books. I give the majority of books 4 of 4.5 stars, which shouldn't be surprising. I am more likely to read books I expect to enjoy. This is pretty similar to the distribution in 2012. 2013 seems to have been aberrant with my 4.5 star ratings expanding to 44% of all books read and more 3 star ratings as well (11%). Not sure what happened there. The lack of unfinished books in 2014 is more a case of my not writing them down than their non-existence. I kept thinking I would get around to finishing them even as the year drew to a close. Oops?
Last thing is the number of books I read per month. Interesting that 3 out of the 4 the lowest months were months during which I travelled recreationally. And in the fourth month I had builders impinging strongly on my sanity. It would seem that work trips limit my reading less than holiday trips (not surprising since I tend to sit alone in my hotel room reading when I'm on a work trip, so...). The elevated number in July is from reading 3 volumes of Saga that month. This is another thing I don't have older data for, but it will be interesting to see how it changes.