2011 in Review

I read a total of 172 books in 2011, including six books that I abandoned. Overall, I am very happy with my reading in 2011. I joined in many more read-a-longs this year, which gave me the space to discussion the novels I’m reading as I’m reading them. I tackled many classics I’ve been afraid of — reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (!!) and The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. The oldest book I read was published in 1598; the earliest was published in 2011. I also read a total of 57,828 pages in 2011. I feel very accomplished, indeed. Before busting out all my charts, I thought I would review the goals I set forth for myself in 2011.

  • Read More Classics: I read twenty classics in 2011. As I started above, I read many classics I’ve been avoiding over the years. It’s hard to pick a favorite classic because I enjoyed so many of the ones I did read but I think my favorites were Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4), Emma by Jane Austen, and The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (Part 1 | Part 2).
  • Read the Bible: This was a complete failure. I didn’t start this project until July but lost interest before finishing Genesis. I either need to find a version that includes historical background information so I do not have Google so much or I need to give myself permission to read out of order.
  • ‘Visit’ More Countries/Read More Translated Works: I privately resurrected the Lost in Translation Challenge and encouraged myself to read six books translated to English from their original language. I reached ten before I stopped keeping track, reading books translated from German, Portuguese, Norwegian, Dutch, Hungarian, Polish, Hebrew, Japanese, French, and Catalan. Still very Euro-centric, though.
  • Other Challenges: I finished all of the challenges I signed up for!

Breaking it down from month to month, my reading was a bit of a roller coaster. My reading always takes a nose dive in February and September as I move into the new semester and am still trying to figure out my schedule for the semester. There is always an upswing at the end of the semester as I move into vacation time, particularly at the end of May when summer vacation begins.

I’m still not the kind of person who cares about the gender break down in my reading and I doubt I ever will be. But I find it interesting that 60 percent of what I read was written by females. Girl power, I guess.

Fiction still captured 58 percent of my reading in 2011 but this is closest I have ever been to a 50/50 breakdown. It will be interesting to see if I move closer to or further from a 50/50 breakdown in 2012.

Once again using the library and purchases make up the majority of how I source my books. I’ve contemplated breaking down “purchased” into “purchased used” and “purchased new” largely because many of my purchases come from used book sales. I haven’t done it yet largely because I think it would be a headache to keep track of. Those books I received as a free download either from iBooks because they’re a classic or from Amazon during their sales has captured 9 percent of my reading I think largely because I’m am reading more classics. ARCs continue to make up the smallest percentage of my sources which I am quite pleased about.

Despite owning my iPad for a year now I still read the vast majority of my books in print format. Picking up a title at a used book sale for $1.50 seems like a much better idea to frugal me! I have a hard time plunking down $15+ for an eBook I’m not even sure I’ll like. Print books can be passed along should I choose to abandon them. For the first time audiobooks as joined the breakdown as a category. I’ve found they are perfect for the gym.

Three seems to be the magic number for me when it comes to breaking down my books by category; if I didn’t concentrate on it, I usually ended up reading three books in that particular category. Of course, I do allow overlaps when breaking down my reading by category so many of my textbooks (the largest group) also ended up under China, Economics, and Food. I am very pleased to see that Chunksters and Classics encompassed much of my reading this year. With my plans for 2012 I imagine the categories of Reread, Economics, and Food will dominate next year. (At least, I hope they do.)

Thanks for indulging my nerdy self with all these graphs. But, most importantly, thank you all for your comments, messages, emails, “likes”, and tweets. I greatly appreciate every single one of who stops by and shares your love of books with me. Happy New Year!


  1. I love charts! It’s fun to see how reading compares from year to year. I assume the high nonfiction number is due to your school books? Or do you just love nonfiction that much? I’m impressed. And WOW what a lot of pages read this year. What a year for you!


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