2016: My Year in Books: The Infographic

headerThe 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.

stats4I 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?


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About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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12 Responses to 2016: My Year in Books: The Infographic

  1. I’m working on my blog post, but here’s my Year in Books: https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2016/19297061 – I still have to finish The Two Towers (reading with the kids – in the last chapter!) and The Bible, so that will probably add around 1,500 pages. I enjoy keeping up with your reading as well, thanks for posting. I’m going to be reading more theology next year (I have a good many books by Augustine in queue), but I’ll definitely be re-reading Harry Potter and may read Lewis’s Space Trilogy again. Who knows what the year will bring?


    • I’m halfway into Return of the King with my son, and it is taking a long time! I hadn’t counted the Bible before, and may not do it again. I don’t often read through a single version in a year, so that’s why I did it.
      Who knows?!


      • That’s great! It does seem to take a while when trying to read aloud when you get time. 🙂 I love some of the wonder with the books from a kid who doesn’t know what’s coming. Like the big cliff-hanger in Fellowship where we are left with Gandalf presumed dead. Little things like that are so fun seen through the eyes of our children. I picked up the Allan Lee illustrated trilogy to read through with them – LOVE IT!! Can’t wait for the Beren and Luthien volume to be released this year. It will go nicely with LOTR and Children of Hurin. 😉

        Also, I posted my year in books here: http://cwhisonant.tk/2016/12/28/books-i-read-in-2016/

        Liked by 1 person

  2. traildustfotm says:

    Brenton, thank you for your blog. It is really a joy to read.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. James says:

    Impressive list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’d like to add a Tolkien reading project to my future, but I’m not sure how to do it. It is worth a post from you (and I would reblog it): how does a beginning do a 5 or 10 year read of everything. It begins like this:
      1. Hobbit
      2. LoTR
      3. Silmarillion
      4. Letters (while reading other things)
      … but what’s the next best thing? There are certain books that are more accessible, like Unfinished Tales, Sauron Defeated, the Leaf & Tree collection and children’s portions. But what would be a good order to do everything for someone who is a fan–an order that is systematic and approachable.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Jared A Johnson says:

    Fantastic! Thanks for sharing; creating my GoodReads profile right now.

    The Excel spreadsheet I kept the last 10 years (wow that’s pathetic) has overstayed itself, so onward and upward…


    • That’s great, Jared. I still use the Excel spreadsheet because I track articles, and do things the goodreads folks have chosen not to do (like track genre). I know you read quite a bit and look forward to seeing you on Goodreads.


  5. Melinda Johnson says:

    What website/app do you use to keep track?


  6. Pingback: 2016: A Year of Reading | A Pilgrim in Narnia

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