Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2019 reading in review

I set myself some reading targets for 2019. I checked my progress at the end of August. And here's how I did overall:

1. Read great books

41% of the books I read this year I rated 85/100 or higher (up from 38% in my August review). My ratings are unscientific - mostly just a way to help me choose my top ten - and I didn't say what percentage would justify a pass... but I reckon it's:

TARGET ACHIEVED


2. Read at least 52 books

Actual: 61 (16 physical; 45 audiobooks)

TARGET ACHIEVED


3. Read at least 10 poetry collections

Actual: 6

FAIL

The remainder of the 61 were made up of 26 novels, 6 story collections, 1 graphic novel & 22 non-fiction books.


4. Read more than 40% female authors

Actual: 48%

TARGET ACHIEVED


5. Read at least a third non-white authors

Actual: 25%

FAIL

This was interesting, as I read 27% non-white authors in 2018 without a target, but I only hit at 6% the year before that, so hovering around a quarter isn't that bad, though it's not that great, either.


6. Read less than 40% US authors

Actual: 31%

TARGET ACHIEVED


7. Read from at least 10 different countries

Actual: 14

TARGET ACHIEVED


8. Read at least 5 works in translation

Actual:7

TARGET ACHIEVED


9. Target median age of books read: 2009

Actual: 2018

FAIL

By decade:
  • 2010s: 55 (25 just from 2019)
  • 2000s: 3
  • 1970s: 1
  • 1960s: 2
The allure of the new and shiny is hard to resist, eh?


OVERALL

6 of 9 targets met. I think the first two are the big ones: quantity and quality. The rest were prompts for me to read diversely. And while I read a number of highly enjoyable books this year, something about these targets made reading feel a bit like box ticking. I'm interested to see how I go without explicit targets or mid-point reviews. So I only have one target for this year:

2020 target: read 70 books

But I will look at how I went against these other metrics at the very end of the year and do some trend analysis over the last 5 or so years.

Up next, my top 11 reads of the year...

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