The house elves at Goodreads have produced a little infographic to capture my year in book reading. I love data, and I love when clever people create clever algorithms to capture trends in visual form. I’ll post my full, super nerdy reading post in a few days, but just looking at the data highlights some trends for me.
I met some of my reading goals this year. I actually exceeded some of them. I averaged 10 books a month, exceeding my book count from any other year. The trend is a bit deceptive, though. In 2016 I meant to slow down a tiny bit and read longer, more academic books. My average length (319 pages/book) is almost the same as last year (312 pages/book), meaning that this was not the year I intended. And there is a reason for this. Because of the kind of year it was, I missed a lot of my academic goals. In retrospect, I can see that I turned to reading as a kind of tonic. In 2017 I will need to slow down and and spend more time in each book.
I completed reading C.S. Lewis’ works chronologically. This was a long project, to read everything I could get my hands on that Lewis wrote down, in the order he wrote it down. I think “Reading C.S. Lewis Chronologically” was a successful project–and I would challenge you to do something similar. I have now turned to reading Lewis’ work as needed for my research and writing. March 8th was that completion date, and you can see the reading trend shifts quickly.
My reading is rooted by key events in the year. You can see some reading trends simply by scanning the covers. You can see the older, mid-century cover in the C.S. Lewis work as I finished that list in March. There would have been more of the classic SF books in that season, but I had to step away from a class on the Inklings and Science Fiction, and didn’t read the whole catalogue. Almost immediately, the date of books gets a little older, with themes in the middle ages (Arthurian, some letters, and some nonfiction support) and 19th century fantasy (George MacDonald and William Morris). Then we move into the books on love. You won’t see it as obviously as you might think, but I read every book on my summer Signum class on “Mythologies of Love and Sex” with the students. In July and August I shifted to UK trip reading, particularly books about England and books for my work (C.S. Lewis’ “The Quest of Bleheris” and An Experiment in Criticism, and some theological work). In the summer, the reading gets a bit darker. Beginning with Austen’s Northanger Abbey and Michael Lewis’ The Monk, I started prepping for a course on vampyres and folk tales. After an intense semester I finished the year off with a rewarding reread of Harry Potter.
Here is my Goodreads Infographic. Have you shared yours? What kind of reading trends did you see this year?