Book statistics 2015

Way back in January, I started keeping track of every book I finished. (I’ve been wishing I had such a list for years, and I dearly wish I had a way to track down the obscure, half-remembered books of my childhood, but better late than never, I suppose.)

My initial questions (prompted by my mom’s initial questions, which I am quite certain she didn’t expect me to take this literally or scientifically) were: how many books do I read in a year? And which genres do I read most? But the statistical possibilities soon spiraled out of control. (Who am I kidding? I was totally in control and piloting this ship straight to statistical crazy town.) Hop over to my best-of companion post to hear about my favorites, or read on for the math of my library.

Books this year: 46

Total pages: 19,170

Average book length: 416.7

Standard error : 28.68

(Math time: gory details you can skip! This is the standard deviation divided by the square root of the number of values. The idea is that the standard deviation tells you what the spread of your values is, and then you scale it down by how many values there were since having more observations is better. This makes sense logically, since you’d expect to get a better estimate of something by measuring it 50 times than measuring it twice. My standard error is quite small relative to the mean, so basically, I read a lot of ~440 page books.)

Genres: 26

Favorite genre: fantasy

Surprisingly far down the list genres: science fiction, short story

Most wish it was higher on the genre list: graphic novels (which will be moving up higher in 2016, thanks EEAers!)

Most books by a single author: Jim Butcher (9), Mary Robinette Kowal, Diana Gabaldon (both 3)

Longest time coming and going: Count of Monte Cristo (8 months and counting, hopefully will be on 2016’s list…)

Best science: The Martian, Andy Weir (with apologies to the nonfiction I read this year)

Best dinosaurs: The Long Earth series, Stephen Baxter and Terry Pratchett

Don’t read alone at night: Trigger Warning, Neil Gaiman

Biggest surprise: Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates

Most excited for in 2016 (in no particular order): HabibiPeace Talks, The Fifth Season, Do Zombies Dream of Undead Sheep?, The Rook

Favorite things I learned:

I called myself a fantasy/scifi lover. Years of railing against bookstores and libraries categorizing these clearly distinct genres together should have maybe clued me into the fact that they are not equal in my heart either – with 25 books, fantasy obliterated scifi’s five.

I can do better in the diversity of authors I read. I improved the ethnic diversity in the second half of the year, where 4 of the 11 authors were non-white. But I still managed to include only one author all year who was from a country that was not at one point a British colony.

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