Monday, December 30, 2013

Read Better in 2014

I was inspired by this YA Highway post to analyze the books I read this year and search for trends. How many of the books I read are YA? Classics? How many take place outside the U.S.?

Being the obsessively organized person that I am, I made an Excel spreadsheet from my 2013 booklist and found commonalities and things that stood out. Here are my stats:

(out of 48 books read)*

Reread: 12 (25%)
Read for school (college and grad): 30 (62.5%)
YA: 26 (54%)
MG: 3 (6%)
Contemporary fiction: 8 (17%)
Literature: 4 (8%)
Nonfiction: 1 (2%)
MMC: 24 (50%)
FMC: 32 (66%)
(*some had both male and female MCs)
LGBT characters: 2 (4%)
MC of color: 6 (12.5%)
International setting: 8 (17%)
Award winners: 13 (27%)
(*major awards, like Pulitzer, National Book Award, Printz)


Observations
-Over half of the books with international settings were school-assigned books (the other were the Infernal Devices books)
-All but one of my MCs of color books were school-assigned books
-A quarter of my books this year are rereads, most of them for pleasure (3 for school)
-2 Pulitzer Prize winners (OSCAR WAO and THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA) and one finalist (TRAIN DREAMS)
-Pretty even female/male protagonist split (I knew there’d be a few more female narrators)
-Only two LGBT characters (I usually come across LGBT books by accident or when an author I love writes one, like A.S. King and ASK THE PASSENGERS.)


After looking at the breakdown, I made some reading goals for 2014:
-3 Pulitzer Prize winners/nominees (possibilities: CATHEDRAL by Raymond Carver, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee, A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD by Jennifer Egan, WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ANNE FRANK by Nathan Englander)
-5 classics/literature/modern classics [counting rereads] (possibilities: ANNA KARENINA by Leo Tolstoy, EAST OF EDEN by John Steinbeck, THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST by Ken Kesey, THE OUTSIDERS by S.E. Hinton [reread], TENDER IS THE NIGHT by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
-4 nonfiction books/collections (memoirs and essays from my travel writing class next semester)
-3 books with LGBT characters (possibilities: WILL GRAYSON, WILL GRAYSON by John Green, CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE by Cassandra Clare)


Do you have any reading goals for 2014? Any recommendations of books I should read to reach mine next year?


*I did these calculations two weeks ago and have read a few more books since then, but the percentages are generally the same.

2 comments:

  1. So interesting to see it broken down like that!

    Also: WHAT WE TALK ABOUT WHEN WE TALK ABOUT ANNE FRANK sounds fascinating. I am off to research it right now.

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    Replies
    1. I had a LOT of time on my hands, clearly. :p

      And I'm not positive, but I hear that the story "What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank" (the book is a short story collection) is a loose imitation of a Raymond Carver story, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love," which I've read a few times...it's a great story! I like when writers imitate other authors but put their own spin and new characters into the concept.

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