Former U.S. President Barrack Obama recently posted his favorite books of 2018 and I thought man, if I’m every lucky enough to have something I write windup on that list… Anyway, while I don’t have the clout that belongs to the most admired man in America, I suppose I should follow suit and get to posting the end of the year wrap-up. Oh, procrastination, why are you so fun?
2018 shared the same reading goal as 2017 before it, and 2016 before that: 24 books in one year. Did I make it? Well, like the years leading up to it, 2018’s reading challenge was met with not quite, please try again. The final tally came in at 20 books. Four short of the goal. I admire the people who take part in the #52bookchallenge, and if I was more disciplined with my free time—I would still try and focus on just 24.
Overall, I can’t complain with reading twenty books. I’m thankful I had the time and opportunity to escape into those worlds, several of which left lasting impressions. I specifically would like to mention: Ohio by Stephen Markley, Night Film by Marisha Pessl, and The 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, by Stuart Turton. These three rounded out my favorite books of 2018. They span several genres, so there is a little something for everyone if you’re looking to add more pages to that towering TBR pile on your nightstand. If you’re interested in what the other seventeen books were and how I rated them, head over to this link and feel free to browse. But, for those who want the date (because data is b-e-a-utiful) let’s get into it.
Female: 10 ~ 45.5%
Male: 12 ~ 54.5%
*Why does the math not equal twenty? Two of the books were anthologies, so for each of these I counted each collection once under female and once under male*
According to the numbers above I read slightly more male authors than female, though I’m pretty happy to see the percentages so close together. My current reads, which will not be done by the end of the year, include one male and two female so it would keep the numbers right about where they are. Hopefully next year I’ll subconsciously shift it to the other side. Side note – whether for better or worse, I pay next to zero attention to the writer’s gender. I want a story I want to read and that seems interesting to me, so based on that this really does make me happy that it’s pretty evenly split.
Pretty graph right? I told you data is beautiful. The genre list is, on average, the top two or three genres each book was categorized under. For example: Night Film – mystery; thriller; suspense. Could this skew the result somewhat? Maybe a few percentage points for those keeping score.
At the end of the day (or well the year actually) the top genre read was a tie at 14% given to both thriller and suspense. This makes sense since a lot of these books, again looking at Night Film as an example, or even my own book Jack Be Quick, are categorized as both. Second place though… Another two-way tie, this time at 13% and between Horror and Literary (for reference – I am using literary to represent contemporary as well). Interesting if you ask me. I should have taken better track, or if I really wanted to data mine I could go back and try and figure out at what time periods these were read and see if they cross over with any sort of life events etc.
I think to get any reliable data on that though I would have to read quite a bit more. I say this because if we look at the next chart—average read time—I don’t think there were enough books logged to really represent any external factors. It does look like mid-spring and end of summer were the two difficult reading periods for me, with massive spikes in how long it took me to read something. Consistency is my friend (and maybe why I didn’t finish the challenge). All interesting data none-the-less.
Whatever your goals happened to be, and whether you met them or not, I hope 2018 was a fruitful year for you and yours. With the next 365 days upon us, and plenty of reading to be done, I invite you to start off the new year with the 2018 Anna Burns novel, Milkman, winner of the Man Booker award. If you do, and you're in the area, I'll be leading a discussion about it at Book Club Bookstore and More, on Saturday, January 26th at 2:00pm. It's a remarkable read. One that weaves its narrative through prose that deserves awards, discussions, and a place in English courses and book clubs. I hope to see you there and hear about your experience with this timely, beautifully written book.
That about wraps this up, and with it 2018. Good year, bad year, you know I've had them all. But, I made it to the next one, and am grateful for the opportunities along the way. Cheers everyone, and happy New Year.