Total number of books read in 2017: 287
Number of (as-yet unread) books added to “owned books” TBR in 2017: 250
So, looks like overall 2017 was a pretty good reading year for me — and certainly, even without having participated in BooklikesOpoly, the two games during the last four months of the year helped a lot. The above total numbers don’t tell the full story, however (in fact, in some respects they’re more than a little deceptive).
In 2017, especially in the first couple of months, I had to do a lot of driving — as well as having to cope with a lot of stress. To compensate and for on-the-road entertainment, I took to revisiting my favorite classics and my favorite mysteries on audio; and the amount of my comfort reading (or rather: listening) clearly shows in my yearly reading stats — not only in the number of new books read vs. rereads, but even more so in the number of audiobooks vs. print books read: 2017 was unquestionably the year when I discovered the audiobook:
(Note: 2 books out of the total of 287 were Christmas classics I revisit every year, and where I chose the DVD version in 2017.)
Similarly, while my reading year was a pretty good one if you only take into account the new books I read (average: 3.95 stars), it improves even more if you factor in all the favourite-book rereads:
And of course, my comfort reading also impacts — big time — the genre breakdown of my 2017 reading:
(Note: “Nonfiction”, for purposes of this exercise, comprises biographies, memoirs, historical nonfiction, science and popular science, reference books, and assorted general nonfiction. — The category “Historical Fiction” includes a number of historical mysteries, which are included only once in the above chart for purposes of consistency in total number of books read, but which are included in the genre-specific analysis further below under both “Mysteries” and “Historical Fiction”, and which I’ve also analyzed separately.)
However, the area where my inordinate amount of comfort reading most significantly shows up is in the author gender breakdown. It looks pretty evenly spread, with a slight pro-female bias, if you just look at the total figures:
(“m & f” are anthologies featuring contributions from both male and female authors or male-female author teams.)
But the vast majority of my comfort reads (or rather: audio revisits) were books written by female authors, and if you eliminate those, there’s a clear male author bias, except solely in the subgenre of historical mysteries. In other words, almost all across the board, roughly 2 out of 3 new books I read were by male authors. (And it’s even more embarrassingly one-sided with regard to the six fantasy and five literary fiction titles I managed to squeeze in: they were all written by men.) As all of this very much will have to change in 2018, I suppose the Women Authors Challenge / Bingo is coming just in time for me!
(All but 2 of the print books were new reads, so the stats are almost exactly identical for all print books and new print books read.)
By Major Genres Read:
All nonfiction books I read in 2017 were new reads.)
(Note: For purposes of these last charts, the books qualifying as “historical mysteries” were included in both the charts for “historical fiction” and for “mysteries”, respectively.)
So, even in the mysteries and historical fiction tallies, despite the clear pro-women author bias in historical mysteries that remains even after eliminating the rereads, both “mysteries” and “historical fiction” flip from a pro-female to a pro-male author bias once the rereads are taken out of the consideration.
In addition to the Women Authors Challenge / Bingo, which is hopefully going to help me put books written by women on a bit more of an equal footing with books written by men in the year just begun, I’m planning to
* continue whittling away at that impossible amount of books I added to my owned books TBR in 2017 alone (not to mention those already lingering on it from previous years),
* continue reading science and popular science with the Flat Book Society (the current read, Helen Czerski’s Storm in a Teacup, is of course an excellent way of killing two birds with one stone — a popular science book written by a woman),
* continue filling my Detection Club Bingo card and continue my exploration of Golden Age detective fiction, (which will hopefully also go some way towards both reducing my phyiscal TBR and augmenting the number of books written by women that I’m reading this year)
* and to the extent time allows, participate in the 2018 Booklikes games!
If in addition to / as part of the above I also manage to balance out my genre intake a little more and include more literary fiction and fantasy, I’ll color myself more than happy by the end of the year!
5 thoughts on “2017 in Review — and Consequences for 2018”