As I mentioned in a previous post, I do an analysis of what I consume each year to be accountable to myself and see patterns I want to change. (Be the change.) This tracking allows me to identify trends and gaps. From this I can direct my reading and intentions for the future.
By default the easiest books to find are by white, abled, straight, middle class, English people. You have to make an effort to read anything else. I was pushing myself to read more indigenous voices but I fell down in reading Black voices.
Traditionally I read more male than female. I was on the lookout for trans and non-binary writers.
Overall, this year I read more titles than any year on record, certainly since my concussion. In 2015 I came close with 216 books read but this year at 266 was a lot even for me. They were not all book-books. I didn’t count the children’s books I read but I did count chapbooks.
Half of what I read was poetry and of that, a quarter were chapbooks. Poetry tends to be physically slim but can be conceptually and emotionally weightier.
On average, it worked out to a 138 page length per book, but novels averaged 300 pages and memoirs averaged 224 pages. Poetry averaged 86 pages with a minimum of 8 pages and maximum of 480 pages.
Poetry, Novels and Memoir comprised nearly 80% of all the reads finished. (I have 2 dozen partly read titles spilling over into the next year.)
Half the time I was reading newly published things, the vow to read classics having slipped off somewhere. In my defence there is so much excellent writing being done and poetry of our own zeitgeist is more interesting than something in a context before my birth, which is also more likely to be formal, racist and sexist.
Where do all these books come from? (A phrase often heard about the house.)
The biggest source is the library but of those that stay, direct from the publisher. Or from a used book store. Or a review copy. These four sources accounts for half of them. My Amazon buys are down. Free downloads, such as from the Haiku Foundations, are up.
I got 16 from an indie bookstore. It was more bought, but I have a box and a few stacks in my To Be Read piles. I have 12 books that I got direct from the author, my fav place, to put cash directly into a writer’s hands.
Something else new in trends is reading aloud to each other more than any other year. My partner and I read almost a book a week aloud to each other. 45 books, mostly memoirs or sci-fi.
This is the first year I’ve tracked rereads so I don’t have comparative data but I can say I re-read 24 titles this year, so close to 10%.
Reading in French is slow for me and it fell off over the year. I only read 6 books in French in 2022, but a good one. “La route des oiseaux de mer” of Hélène Leclerc won Honourable Mention in the Prix André-Duhaime pour les livres et plaquettes (chapbooks) du haïku francophone.
I’d like to read more science. I read articles but not books. From looking at this year, I decide that for 2023 I want to set the goals of more science, more stretch of reading in French, more BIPOC writers, more queer writers, more books in translation, more stories by disabled writers, and more re-reading to dive deeper.
Coming up: my fav reads!