Fun with Statistics

On Wednesday, I finished my last book, I mentioned that I was going to do some summary posts. I’ll write a qualitative report in a few days, but thanks to Goodreads allowing you to export statistical spread sheets of your books, first I’m going to do a quantitative post.

First, this is a look at the covers of all 100 books. Not all of them are the exact versions I read, because Goodreads didn’t have the relevant image in their library, though I think in the end, only The Valley Under the Cross, Where Late the Sweet Bird SangShifu, You’ll Do Anything for a Laugh, and The Bug are incorrect, but the correct ones can be seen on their respective reviews.

Those covers represent 32160 pages worth of text (though I didn’t read all of them on actual pages. More on that later), which obviously averages out at approximately 322 per book, while the mode was 128, as somehow I managed to read four books that were exactly the same length!. It’s also an average of 88 a day, 618 a week, and 2680 a month. The longest book that I read was A Memory of Light at 909 pages, while the shortest was The Hill where Thorvald Slew Ten Skraelings at only 18, which admittedly was little more than a short story.

The oldest book I read was Pride and Prejudice, clocking in at just over two centuries (by a matter of weeks, actually), and the oldest 20th century book I read was Siddhartha, from 1922. The newest was actually the last book, The Lowland, which hadn’t even been published for two weeks when I read it. This actually leads me into the most surprising statistic. I read 16 books published in 2013, more than in any other single year. This trend continues, to the point that 42 of the books I read were published in the last 3 and a half years, since January 2010. The 2000s were next with 26, followed (though not that closely) by the 1990s with 7, and then, surprisingly, the 1930s with 5.

As I hinted at in review number 99, I’ve read quite a number of books in translation, 15 in total, from 10 language (Four French, two Japanese and two Swedish, and one each from German, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian, Mandarin, Arabic, and various Siberian languages.

Geographically, I’ve read books by writers from 20 different countries across all six inhabited continents, as represented in blue in that glorious map at the top of the post. A majority of the books are by American authors, at 41, with North America thus leading with 47, while the UK are Europe are next with 27 and 40 respectively. At some point I may go through and tag all of the reviews by nationality to make searching easy. But that’s a job for another day.

Unfortunately I’ve not been able to build on all of the resolution I set out in April. I have read books from more countries (though 20/100 is less impressive than 10/36!) and continents, but it’s still very Anglo-American centric. I’ve also only managed to read two more Scottish authors (well, 2½ if you count James Riordan who edited the Sun Maiden and the Crescent Moon), bringing the total to four, and similarly another two Nobel Laureates.

Most of the other stats Goodreads gives are fairly inconsequential, such as the fact that I read 59 paperbacks, 25 hardback and 13 eBooks, and listened to 4 audiobooks over the year. Unfortunately due to a lack of consistency I can’t accurately say when I read all the books I did, because I only kept a list of what, not when, and when I was working with a 10 book backlog, I can’t use the dates from reviews to give any sign.

I hope that was as interesting to read as it was to research. Tune back in in a few days for my take on the more emotional side of the summary.

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