For the third year in a row I’ve tracked my reading using Goodreads. I love having a record of everything I’ve read and crunching the numbers to see how my habits are changing… or not. I only read one non-fiction book this year: Cheryl Strayed’s Tiny Beautiful Things, but one turned out to be enough: it was one of my favourite books of the year. I read three books of short stories, which served to confirm that short stories really aren’t my thing. Mostly, as usual, I read literary fiction, originally written in English, which included some fantastic humanist speculative-fiction and a smattering of historical fiction.
The older I get, the more readily I abandon books which aren’t grabbing me. I abandon for all sorts of reasons: I don’t like the voice or the characters, the plot is too slow, the language is too dense, the humour isn’t making me laugh. They’re not necessarily bad books, they’re just not right for me, right now. Adios, muchachos!
Battle of the Sexes
More and more research indicates that many men only read books written by men. I read pretty evenly across the sexes, and wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m definitely reading more Australian books than I used to, but the vast majority of my reading still comes form the USA. I’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to articulate what I like about American writing and how it’s different – I’ll keep pondering this. Though this graph indicates that I read more books from the UK this year than last, more than half the books I abandoned were by British authors. There’s something a little stuffy about a lot of English writing to me and I feel like I’m allowed to say that because I’m English myself.
So Hot Right Now
Despite always meaning to read more classics, more than half my reading is from the last couple of years. In fact, anything before 2000 barely got a look-in.
Your turn: Do you track your reading? Do you read more books by men, or women? Mostly Australian or from elsewhere? Contemporary or classics? What genres do you prefer? I’d love to hear about your reading habits and how they compare to mine.