It’s time to celebrate the year that was 2018. On a personal level it was a really tough year with more downs than ups, but when it came to reading it was my most successful ever. I’ve already written about the best books that were published this year and how I managed to stick to my resolution and finish 7 series that had been languishing on my TBR. So, this post is going to focus on all the other amazing books I read and the interesting stats I have collected about my reading habits.
If you’re curious you can view the spreadsheet I use to track my reading here.
111 – Books read
This year I read 111 books according to the spreadsheet I use to track my reading, or 123 according to Goodreads. As I read quite a few volumes of graphic novel series Saga and manga Tokyo Ghoul I counted those as 1 book each in my tracker but reviewed each volume individually on Goodreads which is throwing all my numbers out! This is by far the most books I have EVER read in a single year. For comparison in 2017 I read 65, and 68 in 2016.
35 – Five star books
I am notoriously reluctant to give out a 5 star rating unless a book really made a significant impact on me, so this number really surprised me. The genres of the books I gave 5 stars highlights how varied my reading is, sci-fi, fantasy, memoir, contemporary, classic, romance, literary, and even poetry. My average star rating across the year was 3.9, the same as in 2017.
66 – Books by women
It’s no secret that my reading is dominated by titles written by women (including at least 2 by trans women this year), it’s a deliberate choice mostly to re-balance my bookshelves and reading habits after many years of reading mostly classics and sci-fi by men. This year in addition to the 59% books by women, I also read 8 books, mainly collections, which were written by authors of various genders, and 37 books by men. This is a slight increase from 2017 when 56% of the books I read were by women.
26 – Translated books
I wrote about my passion for reading books in translation way back in early 2016, and that passion has continued this year with everything from an 1816 German horror short story (The Sandman) to new literary fiction from Japan (Convenience Store Woman), YA fantasy from France (A Winter’s Promise) and even a 1971 modern classic from Albania (Chronicle in Stone). My reading was dominated by Japanese books, mostly due to my holiday there in the first few weeks of the year, with a total of 15 books. I also read 4 books from France and 2 from Korea. I managed to increase the proportion of translated books up to 25% this year, up from 22% in 2017.
34 – Books published in 2018
This was the year for new releases! When combined with 2017 releases, new books were almost 50% of my reading this year, a huge increase from 30% last year. I suspect a large part of this was that after almost 4 years of blogging about books I have developed some really great relationships with the publishers in Australia who now send me books that are really aligned to my interests, along with having more time this year to borrow new releases from work (Melbourne Writers Festival).
13 – Classics
I read 26 books which were published before before 2008 (ie. more than 10 years ago), but only 13 of those I would consider Classics. It’s such an subjective classification, but it’s a good way for me to see if I am reading some older books in amongst the new releases.
19 – Audiobooks
My love of audiobooks is well known, and in 2018 I used them to help me finish series that had been languishing on my shelves. You can read about that in full here. Only three of the books I listened to were stand-alone novels. My favourite of those was Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie, who I was lucky enough to meet at Adelaide Writers Week.
Anglophone countries still dominate my reading, which I guess is to be expected given the only language I can read confidently in is English. I have made an effort to diversify my reading within the dominant countries. For example, while I read 30 books by authors from the US 8 of those were by people of colour and/or LGBTQIA+ people. It’s definitely an area I want to continue to improve on in 2019.