2012: The Charts

As has become a bit of a personal tradition I like to reflect on my year’s reading in a couple of ways…the first is with a series of meaningless but prettily coloured charts that purport to be some kind of data analysis. This year though I think there is a new queen of reading related stats and graphs must surely be my blogging pal at JoV’s Book Pyramid.

I’ve known for ages that my total ‘books read’ count would be down on previous years but I was a little surprised to see just how much less I read in 2012 than previous years 2012. House selling, house buying, house renovating plus job and family pressures all played their role. But I spoke to someone today who said she hasn’t read a book since high school and she looked to be in her 50’s. So 110 doesn’t seem so bad after all 🙂


Now we’re looking at the format of the books I read by percentage. You can see I discovered audible for downloading audio books in 2009 and bought my eReader at the end of 2010. I had thought then that I would like to be reading entirely in digital format (eBooks and downloaded audio) by 2015 but that doesn’t look too likely at present (only 15% of my printed word reading was in eBook format). The percentage of audio book listening was higher than normal this year as I spent a lot of time in situations that did not allow for printed word reading. Plus I do adore being read to and in times of high stress this year I reached for the earphones.


It’s probably a bit of a stretch for someone who reads almost entirely from a single genre to claim any kind of diversity in my reading but I shall do so nevertheless and the first way I track this is by setting. I visited 21 individual countries this year and have plotted them against those visited last year. I’ve listed my books read by country for this year as well so head over to my virtual travelling post for the details


My percentage of books read that are translated from another language into English has been getting steadily higher, to the point that a quarter of everything I read in 2012 fell into that category. I am pleased with that and would like to maintain this or go even higher in future years. Thanks to all the translators who make this aspect of my reading possible.


I have not however performed as well in the arena of new to me authors, with only 35% of this year’s reading falling into that category. In fact the percentage has been steadily falling since the 12 months following my discovery of book blogs in late 2008. This led to a big about turn in my reading and I devoured dozens of new authors. Since then I’ve been playing catch up with some of those newly discovered series but I shall try to do better on this aspect of my reading in 2013.


On the issue of gender I hit just about dead even this year with 51% of my books read written by women writers. It’s a way down from the 2009 high of 67% but still a figure I’m comfortable with. Even though I am very involved with the Australian Women Writers Challenge I still want to make sure I read a good selection of books by male writers too.


And speaking of Australian authors I am chuffed to have just about hit the 25% mark in this arena as well, as you can see from this graph this category has been a bit topsy turvy in recent years but I’m heading in the right direction now. I love reading and reviewing and supporting local authors (much of which goes on at my other blog – Fair Dinkum Crime)


And once again it would be a bit pointless to have any kind of graph showing my reading of non crime books vs my favourite genre. Maybe next year I’ll read enough ‘other’ books to make a chart 🙂

And finally the embarrassing admission that I’m still buying a lot of books, even though last year I resolved to use the library more. Eeek. I’m going to have to rethink how I achieve this resolution for 2013 because my budget demands I do something…now!


As I have decided to stop talking about my star ratings for books (reasoning to follow in a few days)  that’s it from a data point of view for 2012. I’m still mulling over my favourite books for the year but I’ll have those posted in a couple of days.

What about you? Got any book-ish data that you’re particularly chuffed about this year? Or have your numbers got you worried on some front?

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23 Responses to 2012: The Charts

  1. Happy New Year, Bernadette. I’m greatly amused by the person who hasn’t read a book since high school, because you realise that means she HASN’T READ 50 SHADES OF GREY! Woohoo! Re my reading, I am still not reading as much Australian content as I’d like. I suspect cost is a factor in this.


    • LOL Vicki – it was actually because someone had loaned her the damned FSOG to read over Christmas that we got talking – she had bought it back to the office unread and asked me “you’re a reader…is this worth bothering with – I haven’t read a book since high school”. I said if she was only going to read one book every 35 years or so she should pick one much better than that nonsense. I’m not sure if she passed on my comment to the woman who lent to it her – and am not sure I care much 🙂

      Happy New Year to you too and I do share your pain re the cost of Aussie books. I am making a concerted effort to borrow them from the library – put holds on 7 yesterday and felt very financially virtuous (though the authors won’t thank me I suppose)


  2. JoV says:

    No competition here, we have always been the joint Queens of stats and enjoy the longest rein in stats keeping. LOL 😀 I was keeping a look out for your stats. It’s finally out. 😀 Your translated fiction, gender, and new author stats look similar like my trend for last year as well.

    Happy new year Bernadette, may it be another great bookish and enjoying-the-new-house year!


    • It is nice to know I am not the only slightly crazy person who likes making all these graphs …I am definitely going to start counting pages though after your excellent post 🙂


      • JoV says:

        Lol, I think I have been counting everything since 2 years ago… 😀 I don’t think I want it to get any sophisticated than this (like sampling size and confidence level), otherwise I’ll lose my readers.. 😀


  3. Sarah says:

    Great graphics Bernadette. You are very resourceful. I know someone who hasn’t read a book since ‘Stig of the Dump’ when he was a teenager. What can I say?


    • I like to think of myself as fairly non-judgemental Sarah but have to admit I struggle not to have my eyes popping out of my head when I am around people who don’t read books


  4. Bernadette – Perhaps you’ve only read 110 books (as though 110 really counted as ‘only!’), but I am impressed with your variety, both in terms of where the books you read are from (and take place) and in terms of who wrote them. Particularly given all of the other stresses in your life this past year you’ve done really well. And I know exactly what you mean about having to borrow more books from the library. It’s so easy to ‘click here to purchase’ or to pick something up at the local bookshop that we forget what a big bite that can take out of one’s budget. I need to do the same thing.


  5. Jose Ignacio says:

    Lovely charts Bernadette.


  6. Tsana says:

    You have inspired me to post pie charts of my own reading. I wasn’t going to (although they already exist for my own tracking purposes), but then I remembered I like posting pie charts! Who doesn’t!

    I’m interested to see your tracking of format. Not something I’ve been doing, but I think it will be interesting to compare, I think. Thanks for the inspiration!


  7. Mrs P. says:

    This is my first glimpse of your statistical prowess – bravo! Fascinating to see how your reading breaks down in those different ways, not just for this year, but in the context of your past reading as well. Impressive … and has given me food for thought as well, as this kind of reflection can be very revealing. For example, I now realise that the gender balance of my reviews last year was woeful (though at least gender featured as a major talking point in my discussion posts).


    • A big part of my day job these days is looking at data in different ways Mrs P so a few years ago it seemed natural to start doing it for my reading too. Now that I have a few years of information it is starting to be a really good tool for me to help me reflect on my reading and make any changes I feel I want to make.

      Plus I just love charts and graphs 🙂


  8. Norman Price says:

    What an excellent analysis! You are so organised. We would fall off a very large fiscal cliff if we tried to read a lot of Australian books. But my pleasant reading experience with YA Erskine makes me want to delve into more Aussie crime fiction. Happy New Year.


    • I would love to be able to do something about making Aussie books more available Norman. I’m not sure me sending them one at a time by sea mail is going to help the authors much but it’s a start 🙂


  9. Pingback: My Mysterious Year « barbara fister’s place

  10. Laura Root says:

    Impressive data collection and display. I read 77 books this year, 35% by female authors, 34% translated fiction.


  11. Hi Bernadette! Thanks for stopping by my Best of Crime post. I love your pretty graphs–like you most of what I read is crime fiction/mysteries…but I do mix it up a wee bit. I don’t have the impressive visuals, but if you’d like to take a peek at my overall stats for the year they’re at the bottom of This Post, happy reading in 2013!


  12. Interesting analysis! I’m not able to read as much – probably average a novel a week – but then I do read a fair amount of non-fiction as well.

    I liked what you said about audio books. I go through bad patches where visual and concentration issues mean I cannot read printed books. I found that audio books work very well then, and as you say, it’s quite soothing being read to. Just wondered if I could count this as “proper” reading.

    With eBooks and audiobooks not being available at our local libraries, I find myself also spending more than I should on them. It’s my only real “vice” though! 😉


    • I definitely think listening is proper reading Lisa…I know some people don’t but I look at it that storytelling has been around a lot longer than writing and you’re still absorbing the words…plus I have a blind friend who would hit me if I suggested that the dozens of audio books he consumes in a year did not constitute real reading 🙂 Of course each to their own but one thing I do know is that I tend to remember audio books more easily and in more detail…I think it’s because I can’t skip ahead as I can have a tendency to do when reading the printed word

      Of all the vices there are I think stocking up on books in whatever format you choose has to be one of the healthiest…other vices tend to cost more than money (health, brain cells or whatever). That’s what I tell myself anyway.


  13. Marg says:

    I do love a good stats post – mine will be up over the weekend I think!


  14. shelleyrae @ Book'd Out says:

    Love the charts Bernadette – I will have to think of doing that one year – I’m too lazy though!


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