2012: My Year of Reading Dangerously

I only started keeping careful records of what I read this year, largely as a result of Goodreads, but also because of this blog and my presence on Twitter. I’ve always been an enthusiastic reader, for as long as I can remember anyway, and the 500 or so books I’ve rated on Goodreads represent only a fraction of what I have actually read. I just don’t have time to go back through my life history, to scour my memory, trying to recall every little thing I’ve read. Life is too short.Personal EffectsMay B.The Big CrunchOctober Mourning: A Song for Matthew ShepardUnWholly (Unwind, #2)

But for 2012 I’ve kept a pretty accurate record. Some things, for one reason or another, never got rated I’m sure, but generally my massive Goodreads list of 165 books is reflective of my reading habits for the year.

I did a little statistical analysis, mostly for fun, but also to help me think about what I might like to read more of in 2013. The first thing that becomes obvious is that for a 45 year old mother of a middle grade child, my reading proclivities are hopelessly biased towards young adult books. Here’s the breakdown:

Young Adult:      127

Middle Grade:   18

Adult:                    20

So, first goal for 2013: more middle grade and more adult.

KarmaBetween Shades of GrayBoy21Bruiser

Now, genre is interesting. Before this year I would say that a large portion of my reading has been “genre”, that is sci-fi, fantasy and the like. But now that I measure this year, I find something quite unexpected – a strong leaning towards contemporary, especially in YA. Here’s how it panned out:

Contemporary:                105 (91 of which were YA)

Dystopian/Sci-fi:               16 (One, Ender’s Game, I count as adult. The rest were YA)

Fantasy/Paranormal:      17(all but 3 were YA)

Historical:                            13 (interestingly, only 3 of those were pre-20th Century. Make of that what you will)

Non-fiction:                        12 (all written for adult readers)

So, for 2013 I want to try to read a bit more genre, a bit more non-fiction written for younger readers, and more historical set earlier than the 20th Century.

Another thing I kept track of was the format of the books, which mainly broke down into three categories:  prose, verse and graphic novels. Prose was the overwhelming winner, but verse put in a good show too. Graphic novels….well…

Prose:                                   130

Graphic novels:                 2

Verse novels:                    32

Poetry collections:           1

Clearly I should read more graphic novels and more collections of poetry. Got it.

I made a concerted effort to read more books about and by people of color. Only counting books written by a person of color, or including a protagonist or prominent character of color (not just the sidekick, but an important player, think BOY21) I read 26 such books last year. That’s 15% of my overall total.  In 2013 I’m going to aim for 20%. 13 books or 8% had prominent LGBT content. No idea how many authors were LGBT; I’m assuming a fair few.

SpeakPerfect (Impulse, #2)Boy ToyThe One and Only Ivan

The one relevant thing to say about the content of my 2012 reads is that 45 books contain a prominent sexual assault story line. Not sure what that says about me. I’ve been railing about rape as a plot device for months but it doesn’t seem to stop me reading these books. Maybe less rape books in 2013. One hopes anyway. Out of interest, 91 books featured only a male protagonist (or were male focused in the case of non-fiction). Of those 22 included sexual assault related content. 57 books features a female protagonist or content; 20 of those included sexual assault or manipulation.

All this research has coalesced into a kind of reading plan for 2013. I’m still going to set 120 books as my goal (I far exceeded that easily this year) but I’m going to have monthly quotas too, as follows:

Each month at least:

One book written for adults

One non fiction

One collection of poems

One genre (sci-fi/dystopian/fantasy or paranormal)

One graphic novel

One pre-20th Century historical

And of course at least one verse novel.

Some of these categories will apply to the same book ( a historical novel in verse for example) so this still gives me a lot of freedom in my choices.

Where will I get all these books? If 2012 is anything to go by I will buy 10%, get 15% as ARCs or samples from publishers (frankly I’m hoping for more) and 75% will come from the library. In 2012 13% of my reading was by eBook, either borrowed, bought or received as an eARC. I predict the rate will be higher in 2013.

Finally, how did I rate the books I read in 2013? Mostly three and four stars.  Only two books warranted one star. Thirteen books rated five stars. I consider that a win. The covers of these excellent books are displayed in the post.

What are YOUR reading plans for 2013?

3 thoughts on “2012: My Year of Reading Dangerously

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