Sunday, January 01, 2012

Sunday Salon: 2011 Year in Review

Happy New Year to my blogging friends!

A couple of days ago I posted about my favourite reads of the year, but now it is time to dig a little deeper and see what I can learn from my reading this year.

I completed 228 books during 2011 which is my best reading year since I started blogging if you are only counting the number of books to define best!

It feels to me as though my reading changed quite a bit in 2011. For a start I read a lot more short stories than I usually do, and the majority of them were from Australian authors. I have another two of the Twelve Planets here to read and so I see that being something that continues in the coming year. I haven't quite figured out yet how to count individual short stories that I read in places other than anthologies. I don't feel like I can count them as a 'book' but I would also like to be able to record my normal data. Will have to ponder this one a bit more!

Another change was that I read a LOT more contemporary romance novels. Last year I read 18 contemporary romance novels, 12 of which were by Robyn Carr (11 of which I read in just one month). It's hard for me to fathom that 18 months ago there was really only one or two authors that I read. By contrast, I read very little paranormal romance or urban fantasy in 2011.

I also read a lot more non-fiction than I usually do. It kind of surprised me when I added them up the other day.

So, if I am reading this new stuff what gave way? Before I started looking at the breakdown of genres I would have said that I read only a few historical mysteries. It turned out that I read a few more than I thought, especially seeing as I read the first four books in the Julia Spencer-Fleming series which are all contemporary set. It also seems that the amount of historical fiction I read dropped too.

I usually don't have too much trouble deciding on a genre when I am recording my books read, but then I get to the end of the year and wonder what the heck I was thinking at the time. Here then is my breakdown of stats but there are quite a few books read that would definitely cross genre lines.

Crime - 17
Spec Fic - 21
Historical Fiction - 31
Literature - 17
Non Fiction 9 - 10
Romance - 94 (wow!) of which 49 were contemporaries, 35 historical
Women's Fiction - 9 (includes chick lit)
YA - 25

A few other interesting stats

Gender balance -  I lean very heavily towards reading books by female authors. I only read 24 books by male authors this year.
Pages read - 228 books read equates to 74500 pages read!
Rereads - I only reread 2 books
New to me authors - I read 115 new to me authors in 2011
Ebook vs paper book - I read 25% of books on my ereader
Where my books come from - 60% of my reads were from the library, 10% from Netgalley and the remaining 30% otherwise acquired
Best reading month - July when I read a whopping 31 books in a month
Worst reading month - March when I only read 10.

Let have a look at my reading resolutions for 2011 and see if I achieved those or not.

Read 150 books - To be honest I am now sure how I managed it, but I smashed this resolution out of the park!

Read 10 books that I owned as at 31 December 2010 - The total number here was 14. This is one of the resolutions that I really need to push myself on for next year. I have so many unread books in this house!

Read 12 books by Australian authors - Given that I read 8 by just one Australian author (thank you Kelly Hunter!) and 5 by another (thank you Sarah Mayberry) this was another goal that I met without too much difficulty. In the end I read 34 books by Australian authors. All up there were 20 individual Australian authors, and the most amazing thing about this number is that they were all new to me authors!

Read Jane Austen - Yes! This year I read my first Jane Austen book - Sense and Sensibility. I am scheduling my reading soon to include Persuasion in the not too distant future.

Read at least one book for each of the perpetual challenges I am "participating" in - Sometimes I surprise even myself. I read A Visit From the Goon Squad for the Pulitzer Prize Project, Pigeon English for the Complete Booker and three book for The Orange Prize Project (A Visit from the Goon Squad, The Personal History of Rachel DuPree and The Very Thought of You).

Finish War and Peace - Oh well I couldn't meet all of those goals now could I!

Review more - Whilst I didn't review as much as I should have this year, I did exceed the one book a week average that I was aiming for. I did have a good reviewing month in October to the point where actually had reviewed everything I had read and nearly everything that I had read in September as well. Of course, then I opened my big mouth and said that I had my reviewing mojo back, which promptly meant I didn't write a single review for weeks.

Some highlights of the year:

March - I went to Sydney for the second Australian Romance Reader Conference! A good time was had by all. I also attended a very successful Book blogger meetup in Sydney! I did try to organise one of these in Melbourne too, but the less said about that the better! I also went to the relaunch of the Inside a Dog website and an author event with Sara Foster.

April - I was very pleased to be involved in Aussie Author Month! Went to see Keith Urban in concert. I loved it! My son slept through the concert!

May - Rachel Caine came to our local library for an author event.

June - Attended an author event with Geraldine Brooks.

July - Paris in July fed my French obsession which continued unabated for the rest of the year.

August - Met both Maria V Snyder and Kelly Armstrong at author events.

September - I fed my soul at Melbourne Writer's Festival.

October - Readalong month! I participated in the Storm Front, Fragile Things and The Lantern readalongs as part of RIP, and also a readalong of Foal's Bread by Australian author Gillian Mears.

December - This year's Virtual Advent tour was a lot of fun with all the different quotes that I posted. We are already thinking about the next tour and we would love any feedback you have. Also attended BTL Live with Bree from All the Books I Can Read. Actually, getting to know Bree better has been one of my highlights for this year as well. It is awesome to be able to get to know a blogger that lives quite close by so we can meet up quite regularly even if it is just for a few minutes here and there!


  1. Wow, great accomplishments! You should be very proud :)

  2. And I was thinking I've been reading a lot in 2011 :-) . Great achievement!

  3. What a great reading year you had, well done. Happy New Year and here's hoping 2012 is a great reading year too

  4. That is a lot of romance novels - I hope you enjoyed them all!
    I am envious you got to go to so many events!

    Happy New year
    Shelleyrae @ Book'd out

  5. What an amazing year of reading! 20 new Australian authors - impressive.

  6. Fantastic record! I have started a journal this year for movies seen, books read and travel experiences had....
    And yes, Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is a DELIGHTFUL book, one which leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy and wanting a good cup of black tea !

  7. You accomplished quite a bit this past year. Hope you have a great new year.

  8. Wow, you went to a lot of really great-sounding reading events! And, congrats on your huge number of reads!

  9. Bookfool, I was very lucky. I am hoping to go to at least another couple of big events this year! We'll see though.

    Thanks Melissa

    Colliegirl, good luck with your journal!

    Thanks Jo! Here's to finding 20 more new to me Aussie authors this year!

    Shelleyrae, I was a little surprised to see that I had read so many of the.

    Bernadette, I hope you have a great reading year in 2012 too!

    Thanks Deb! Good luck with your resolutions!

    Jannyan, there always seems to be someone who has read more!

    Thanks Sam!

  10. Congrats on meeting so many of your reading goals, and good luck for 2012! It seems like every blogger I know (including me!) is trying to read more books from their shelves. :)

    Funnily enough, I also read Sense and Sensibility in 2011, and plan to read Persuasion next. I hear good things about it!