2010 Reading Stats

Recommended Reading Tidbits

I love first day of the new year.  I open all of my calendars and I have a lot of calendars.  I have a wall calendar (Vintage SF magazine art), two day-to-day calendars—one for my office (Get Fuzzy) and one for the kitchen (Pearls Before Swine), a leather-bound desk calendar for my office (The New Yorker Calendar), two small desk calendars for my closet—one for my exercise (The Runner’s Day-to-Day Log) and one for my reading (The New Yorker Cat Calendar).  I also keep track of what I watch—movies, TV, plays, etc.

Am I anal? You betcha.

I don’t find the review of exercise (and all of its excuses) or television/movies very interesting.  But I am fascinated by my reading calendar. I keep track of everything I read completely. That includes things I’ve read in manuscript. I don’t count anything I haven’t finished. So if I read 250 pages of a 300 page book and gave up in disgust, I don’t count it.   On my calendar, I keep track of pages read, but I’m probably going to have to quit that with all the electronic books I’m reading. (Some don’t have actual page counts.) In 2010, I also started a new anal feature: I keep track of the newspapers and nonfiction magazines that I read.  I count the fiction magazines separately—and by pages again.  Lightspeed convinced me this must change as well.

For those of you find this stuff interesting, I’ve decided to share the figures with some tidbits.  I am not going to put down every title that I read—life’s too short and I have too much to do.  But here’s the final count:

Manuscript pages finished: 3513

Number of books finished: 83 (for 29,215 pages)

Number of fiction magazines finished: 6 (for 740 pages)

Number of nonfiction magazines finished:  123

Number of newspapers finished: 265

That’s way down from previous years, when I normally reach about 40,000 book pages finished.  The months that hurt me were April (two books finished) and October (four books finished).  This year, I averaged about 8 books per month, which is down from my usual 12.  I never hit 12 in any month of 2010.

I’m also disappointed in the newspapers.  Some of that is that I switched from the Oregonian (short and thin) to The Washington Post (thick and dense), so I didn’t finish every day.  But some of that was simply not making time.

I didn’t feel like reading short fiction in 2010 until the very end of the year.  In December, I read a lot of short stories.  I’m back with a vengeance in 2011 and plan to read all of Ellery Queen & Asimov’s in 2011. (I’ve already finished the first issue of each.)  I hope to read all of Hitchcock’s and Analog as well, but I know myself well enough to realize that might be too much. Besides, I’m behind on my anthologies (have to catch up on 2010’s as well as 2011’s) and I want to add in both Lightspeed and Fantasy magazines as well as F&SF.  I won’t achieve it all, but I’ll come close.

The other problem in 2010? No great big research projects.  I’m in the middle of one right now, so that means I’ll be plowing through big, heavy history tomes and get a jump-start on the year.

Honestly, though, I think I read just as much as in previous years.  The difference is that I gave up on more books than usual.  Some, by favorite authors, were just awful, and some by new (to me) authors simply weren’t to my taste.  I know that was the issue in August, and, I suspect, in April as well.

I thought of doing a “best of” 2010, but as I went through my calendar, I decided not to.  For one thing, I haven’t yet posted my December Recommended Reading list (it’s long and I don’t have time to do the links yet).  For another, it’s not as straightforward as I thought.

Once I read a book, it goes into my overall book memory.  I can’t remember if I read the book  in 2009 or 2010, spring or summer.  So as I looked at the early parts of 2010, I realized that there were books I loved as much or more than some of the books I read at the end of the year.

To see my 2010 Recommended Reading list so far, click on this link. The December edition will be up at the mid/end of this month, as I have time.  If you do a count, you’ll note that I did not list all of the 83 books I read.  In fact, when I record the book in my calendar, I usually just record the name, author, and number of pages, not a comment on what I thought of it.  Yet next to one, read all the way through in June, I wrote ick! I clearly finished it, and was not happy about it.

I don’t share those books.  I see no point. My function on the blog is to point you to things I enjoyed.  And despite my complaints, I enjoyed a lot in 2010.  I can’t wait to get to the pile of books I set aside for 2011.

9 thoughts on “2010 Reading Stats

  1. Most of my family considers me the most anal person alive. Thanks, Kris, for providing evidence in my defense. 🙂

    And, of course, thanks for sharing your Recommended Reading lists.

  2. Yay, another calendar-user! I have a visual working memory and have found that using different calendars for different slices of my life helps keep me on track, and works for me as a tracking method.

    I’ve a reading journal and note the novels, nonfiction books, and movies/TV shows as well as short stories, but I never thought to keep track of newspaper reading and magazine reading. Go figure!

    I still get a twinge of guilt now and then for not finishing a book but have mostly come to peace with it; I make a note and then read something the next thing.

    I like that you broke it all down into pages–I’ll have to lift that trick from you. 🙂 My manuscript pages to read pages is abysmal for last year, and that’s just from a rough mental guesstimate!

    1. Y’know, Sam, I haven’t even counted my computer calendars. I use those for appointments & deadlines. 🙂 I stole the system from a columnist for the Oregonian newspaper, Steve Duin. He used to hold a contest every year for the person who read the most books. The people who won always read about 80,000 pages. I can’t even come close.

      Glad I could pass some of this fun on. 🙂 I do love my calendars.

  3. Kris,

    How do you do it and manage time for anything else? Are you a speed reader? I average about 40 minutes to an hour on a work day of reading time and it takes me a couple of weeks to get through one good-sized book.

    1. Nope. Not a speed reader. I just read during every available moment, even if it’s only 2 or 3 minutes. I’ve always done that, but I must admit that the Kindle and iPhone make it easier to be really obsessive. 🙂

    1. I can follow it, Larry. Thanks! Oh, that makes my life sooooo much easier. And on the second day of the year, too! (Fortunately the first book I’m going to finish is trade paper.)

  4. Hi Kris,
    Don’t let Kindle’s locations limit your ability to ledger your reading. I took a few books for which I have both paper and Kindle numbers and here are the results:

    Locations Pages pages/location
    Way of Kings 21328 1008 21.2
    Dead Witch Walking 6778 432 15.7
    Hunger Games 4707 384 12.3
    Love & Rockets 4012 320 12.5
    Good, Bad & Ugly 7261 453 16.0
    Justice Game 7756 380 20.4
    Little Brother 5403 416 13.0
    Full Dark, No Stars 6552 384 17.1

    The simple result is that if you divide locations by 16 you get the number of paper pages. The data supports this arithmetic. Way of Kings is the hardcover and it uses small fonts and large pages and, as you can see, the ratio is higher. By contrast, Hunger Games and Little Brother are both young adult books where the font size and words/page are lower. These data even reflect the lower total word count of an anthology (Love & Rockets) where more space is required for TOC, story headings, etc. I don’t think you’d be far off by translating locations by dividing by 15-16.

    Thanks so much for you being you.

    Cheers — Larry

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