bookish posts

2014: Summing Up

This was something of an odd year for me, reading-wise. I noticed at a certain point that almost all of my absolute favorite books were published as adult: The Goblin Emperor, Ancillary Sword, Girls at the Kingfisher Club. There were a couple of exceptions to this, and Andrea Host’s books are always a bit liminal (some more YA, some more adult), but overall I simply didn’t find as many YA books to rave over as usual. Of the ones I did love, several were part of a series. I’m not sure if this was a weak year for YA publishing, and especially the kinds of books that I like, or if I’m becoming more of an adult reader, or if adult publishing is having a strong year, or some combination of the above. Regardless, given that a lot of my reading identity revolves around YA and middle grade, this was a bit disconcerting.

I read 250 books this year, respectable enough although nowhere near my highest (383, I don’t know how that happened either) and even down from last year. I decided at the end of the year to take a look at some statistics as far as representation and my reading goes. I hadn’t set any specific goals this year, so this is my “natural” pattern as of right now. Race and gender were the easiest to look back and count, so that’s what I’ve gone with for now; caveat that I may have missed a few.

Male/female ratio: I read books by 40 men, which is 16.9%. I also read four books co-written by a man and a woman, and four that were written by two women.

Authors of color: I was curious to see what this stat would look like. It’s really bad. 20 total for the year, or 8%. I will definitely be doing some work to build this one up.

Main characters of color: This one is a little better, 48 total, or 19.3%. Still, if I’m happy that I’ve read so many female authors this year, I can’t be too proud of the fact that I’ve read about the same number of white characters, let alone authors.

My goals for 2015 are to increase the number of authors of color that I’m reading, and to start tracking the books I read more consciously. I’m setting myself a few numeric goals, but I haven’t decided whether to share them or not.

Some years, there have been definite themes to my reading; this year it’s a bit vaguer. But I definitely see recurring themes of bravery, friendship, and quiet subversion of the status quo in the stories I’ve been drawn to recently. Overall, while this hasn’t been the most awesome reading year, I have found a few books that I really, really loved and that will stay with me for a long time.

By Maureen LaFerney

My name is Maureen. I currently work as a library assistant in a public library in the Indianapolis area, and also just so happen to be a voracious reader. I frequently end up under a cat.

3 replies on “2014: Summing Up”

Thanks for posting your stats — it’s always interesting to compare, and it also prompted me to check my own stats for the past year. Super depressing! I’m going to try and make 2015 my year of reading diversely.

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