Number Five is alive! And analysing my reading habits

I missed you.

But it seems a break was needed. On my holidays I just about shut down – sleeping 10-12 hours a night, barely writing or reading a thing, seeing movies and spending time with great people. Though one of Clarissa’s lines from The Hours kept coming into my head: ‘I seem to be unravelling’. I was a slothful, lethargic, son-of-a.

But I am refreshed. I’ve been back at work for a week and tomorrow I’m teaching a workshop in Horsham, Victoria, called ‘Going it Alone’ – mostly on blogging and zines, but I’ll cover self-publishing, performance and promotion as well. You can find all the info here.

I’ll do more of a round-up post next weekend, but today I have NUMBERS and STATISTICS, which is a bit fun.

I took a look at the books I read in 2009, and following are some stats on my reading habits. It is the first time I’ve ever recorded my reading for a whole year, and I suspect I probably missed a few things. I didn’t record every literary journal I read, for example. I also didn’t record books I didn’t finish.

Books read in 2009: 93

… which is an average of 1.8 per week, or 7.8 per month.

70% of the books were Australian.

45% were written or edited by women, 55% were written or edited by men.

53% of books I read in 2009 were fiction novels, 22% were short story collections or journals, 14% were nonfiction books, 10% were poetry collections and just 1% were graphic novels.

I read far more new releases than classics or older works.

Did anyone else record their reading habits? Or movies, for that matter? What did you find? What do you think of mine? I think the balance is okay – and I’m happy I read so many Australian books. I’d like to increase the graphic novel quota, and I should probably dip into a bit more nonfiction. I’d also like to catch up on more classics, but the nature of my work means this isn’t a real possibility. But it’s okay – they’re not going anywhere.

First book read in 2010: Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl – so cussing wonderful to revisit it after seeing Wes Anderson’s warm, funny, ‘fantastic’ adaptation.

8 thoughts on “Number Five is alive! And analysing my reading habits

  1. I try to have a classic and a contemporary novel going at the same time. I increased my Australian reading this year, and went back to ‘Australian books I should have read’ like Monkey Grip and The Getting of Wisdom. My female author count is sadly lacking. Best reads this year – Lawrence Durrell’s Alexandria Quartet, Reif Larsen’s The Selected Works of T S Spivet and Peter Temple’s Truth. Wetlands was a triumph of publicity and titillation over substance.

  2. All of the books I finished reading were reviewed on my blog but I’ve been using Goodreads this year which has been useful.

    You read a heap of books! I was lucky to perhaps read more than 10 but am getting better.

  3. Only managed 48 books this year – 20 Australian; 14 women (a result I am already trying to avoid for 2010 as have started the year with Colette and Hilary Mantel).

  4. Hey Angela,

    Nice reading stats! I recorded 52 books for the year (there was also a lot of research reading but I won’t count that). I guess an average of 1 book per week is pretty good in the year I started working outside the home again, though working in a library probably ups my chances of doing a lot of reading.

    I read 25 novels, 8 short story collections, 7 poetry collections, 5 non-fiction (other than research), 4 classics, 2 memoir and 1 verse novel. 31 were written by woman and 27 were by Australian writers.

    I’m hoping to have another big year, I’ve started with The story of Edgar Sawtelle & I have Cate Kennedy & MJ Hyland waiting in the wings.


  5. What’s wrong with this list?

    In 2010 Angela’s followers could do worse than contacting a Ms. Byrne for some gentle lobbying.

    Those who wish to entertain a more Machiavellian approach to encourage the ABC Producers of the first tuesday book club to consider Angela as a celebrity reader could consider the following;

    1. The appearance of Andrew Denton on the show smacks of a form of inverted nepotism, or ‘pillow talk media corruption’ if you will.

    2. Marieke Hardy needs to joust with another attractive female with bookish passions of her own age…

    3. We need to see someone like Angela attempt benevolently unbalance the likes of Grand Book Maestro Jason Steger who is always so unflappable I begin to worry he has spent days in rehearsal before his appearances.

    Need I go on?

    Angela… LiteraryMinded readers… 2010 is ‘The Box’.

    • Hey guys, thanks for all your replies!

      Craig – thanks so much! I’d love to do TV someday, but I don’t think I’m in the realm of those guests. Perhaps in a few years, hey? How lovely of you to write that. If any of you does want to suggest me to the ABC producers, you’re more than welcome…

  6. Pretty rude that the ABC has not put Brendan Cowell in that list of theirs – he was a very articulate and interesting guest.

    Ange, I’m so impressed by the breakdown – you have used Excel, you buttonsmart Gen-Y, you. I will have to wait a whole year to do something like that now…too lazy to put this year’s into anything that scientific.

  7. In all my long years of reading, I have never recorded my reading list. You’ve inspired me to record this year’s, just for the fun of it. Off to a good start with Wolf Hall (started in 2009 and finished in the new year), On the Jellicoe Road, The Knife of Never Letting Go, the Ask and the Answer, Atomised, Liar, an already forgotten David Baldicci (read and left on a plane). Am slowing down now that the holiday is over. Glad to hear you’re back and refreshed. 🙂

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