Sunday, January 06, 2013

Sunday Salon: 2012 in Review

The start of one year brings new opportunities, a clean slate, and I am pretty happy with the way this year has started blogging and reading wise. Before getting too far into 2013 though, I did want to take a few minutes to look back over 2012. Next week I will probably get around to writing down my reading resolutions for this year. I could do it as part of the same post but I think this one will be long enough already without adding to it!

First though, I normally do a monthly wrap up so here my December reads. In order to keep this post a little shorter I have put the challenges that I read the book for in brackets, where AWWC is Australian Women Writers Challenge, HF Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, AU is Aussie Author Challenge

Never Enough by Lauren Dane 3.5/5
Laid Open by Lauren Dane 4/5
Salvation Creek: An Unexpected Life by Susan Duncan 4.5/5 (AWWC, AU)
Miracle and Other Christmas Stories by Connie Willis 4/5
Hotel Iris by Yoko Ogawa  3.5/5
Queen of the Road by Tricia Springer 4.5/5 (AWWC, AU)
Under the Mistletoe by Jill Shalvis 3/5
How to Misbehave by Ruthie Knox 3.5/5
Here Comes Trouble by Ruthie Knox 4/5
Home for the Summer by Mariah Stewart 3/5
New Year's Eve by Rhiann Cahill 4/5 (AWWC, AU)
Christmas Wishes by Rhiann Cahill 3.5 (Reread)
The Cook by Wayne Macauley 4/5 (AU)
Short Soup by Coleen Kwan 4/5 (AWWC, AU)
Stand-In Star by Rachael Johns 4/5 (AWWC, AU)
Leave Me Breathless by Cherrie Lynn 4.5 (Reread, yes again)
The Chocolate Thief by Laura Florand 4/5
No Place Like Home by Barbara Samuels 4.5/5
Voice of the Falconer by David Blixt 4.5/5 (HF)
The Chocolate Kiss by Laura Florand 3/5
A Breath of Snow and Ashes by Diana Gabaldon 4/5 (Reread, HF)*
Choc-Lit Love Match Selection Various 3/5
The Girl in the Hard Hat by Loretta Hill 4/5 (AU, AWWC)

*I actually listened to A Breath of Snow and Ashes on audio - the book was 48 CDs long! I swear it should count as more than 1 book!

Onto my summary of last year's reading!

In 2011, I read 228 books, which was my best reading year up to that point. In 2012 I smashed that figure out of the park with an amazing  (to me anyway) total of 291 books read. While I read quite a few smaller books from digital publishers towards the end of the year, I did also read quite a few huge books as well so I figure they kind of balance each other out!

My best reading month was November when I read 35 books. One of the factors that month was that I reread a lot of books. The month where I read the least books was April when I only read 17. Here is the graphical representation of my reading number, just looking at the numbers of separate titles read.


Books read per month

If I was going to pick only two aspects that I was surprised by in my reading this year it would be the way my reading was influenced by the Australian Women Writers challenge and the number of rereads.  Most years one of my reading resolutions is to read more Australian authors and I usually say I want to read 10 authors. Thanks to challenge I more than 50 books (predominantly by female authors, but there were some male authors in there too) by Australian authors. I was also encouraged by my fellow participants to pick up some books that I wouldn't normally have been as quick to pick up. Looking through the wrap up posts that are currently going up at the Australian Women Writer's Challenge website there are already a whole heap of books that I am adding to my reading list for this years challenge!

A couple of years ago I remember having a conversation with another blogger talking about rereading. She expressed surprise at the fact that I didn't often reread and my response was that there are so many great books out there yet that I haven't read yet that I don't have time to reread. When we recently revisited that conversation, now she no longer rereads much. This year though, I felt the need to do quite a lot of rereading. One or two were unavoidable (for example when book club chose a book I had already read) but mostly they were totally by choice - apparently I needed the comfort. All up I reread 18 books, which I am pretty sure is more than I have reread in all the years since I have been blogging combined! I actually read one book (Leave Me Breathless by Cherrie Lynn) three times in the space of 6 weeks - unheard of! If I did categories like Hero of the Year, then Seth 'Ghost' Warren from Leave Me Breathless would have definitely won the title!

One thing that reading a lot of digital only publishers has done is increased the e-book to print ratio up. Last year I think I was reading 4 paper books for each e-book, but this year the ratio has changed to be closer to 1:3. I also listened to 2 audio books during 2012, but as I mentioned above one of those suckers was 48 CDS long which should count for like five or six books! I started listening to that book in September and only just finished it before the end of 2012. When I listened to the first audio book I had forgotten how much I enjoyed it as it had been quite some time since I listened to one. I am already on my second audio book for 2013 so I expect to see that number go up a bit this year.

My genre reading continues to change. For a reader who only read a contemporary romance novel occasionally a couple of years ago, romance and in particular contemporary romance, now make up the vast majority of my reading as show below:

I tend to think of romance in terms of the sub genres so I thought I would breakdown the numbers for that category. I read only 5 Paranormal Romance, which a few years would have been a big surprise as I did read quite a lot of them, 3 were Romantic Suspense (not normally my thing), 4 category romances, 30 were historical, which is what I would have normally said was my go to sub-genre and then the remaining 84 were contemporary romances. This is a trend in my reading that I don't see changing.

I mentioned before the influence of the Australian Women Writer's challenge on my reading year. One of the reasons for the creation of this challenge was to address the gender gap that occurs in reviews and prizes here in Australia. For me as a reader, I tend to naturally gravitate towards female authors so it was no surprise to me to see my reading has a significant skew in that direction. This year I read 254 books by female authors and only 37 by male authors. In 2011 I only read 24 books by male authors so this was an improvement, however,  I do think that this is one aspect of my reading that I possibly need to make an effort to redress the balance a little more!

Now for a few other fun stats:

Pages read: 291 books equates to 90680 pages which is an average of 311 pages per book.
New to me authors: 116
Grades - I only rated 2 books as 5/5 reads during 2012. I did give 3 books only 2 out of 5, 6 books 2.5 out of 5, 21 a grade of 3 out of 5, 42 got 3.5 out of 5, 162 got my go to grade of 4/5, and the remaining 67 were awarded a grade of 4.5 out of 5.

In closing, I thought I would look at the resolutions I set for this year and see how I went

Read 150 books - As mentioned above, this was one goal that I exceeded easily this year.

Read 10 books that I owned as at 31 December 2011 - Every year I read less books that I own than come into my house. This is my attempt to try to make sure that I read at least a few that have been on my shelves for a while. In the end I read 24 books that I previously owned.

Reading Australian authors - See above!

Read some Charles Dickens - I must have completely forgotten about this one as I just surprised myself when I saw it sitting there! Whoops!

Perpetual Challenges - I aimed to read at least one book for each of the perpetual challenges that I am signed up for like The Pulitzer Project, the Orange Prize Project, and the Complete Booker. All I can say on this one is thank goodness they are perpetual!

Review more - This is one category that I am a bit uneven with. Some weeks I churn out a few reviews, other weeks none at all. Really need to get some consistency in this area.

Deadline Reading - I wanted to back off a little from deadline reading whether it be for library due dates, tours, egalley expiry dates and try to be a little organic in my reading in terms of being able to look at my shelf, or the library shelf and have a little more room to just read what I feel like reading. Another mixed set of results here. There were times during the year when I did feel very pressured but by the time I look at the end of the year, I have half the number of library books out from the library than I normally used to have so that is definitely helping!

So there you have it..... My 2012 reading year in review!

Currently Reading

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. Listening to Gallipoli: Our Last Man Standing by Jonathan King.

Up Next

Vanity Fair by Megan Caldwell and Sex, Lies and Bonsai by Lisa Walker


  1. I love seeing everyone's stats. Especially this year because I was so horrible at keeping track of my reading in 2012. I plan to do better this year.

  2. You've inspired me to attempt some graphs next year. Stats are fun.

  3. Congrats on all your reading last year; impressive. I can't imagine listening to 48 CDs, wow that is perseverance! I would have dropped dead. cheers

  4. Wow, 291 books read! That's definitely impressive.

  5. Oooh I love your graphs.

    Pfft, who is that blogger that no longer re-reads?! :P

  6. I do love to see other people's graphs....and I would be more impressed by yours if I wasn't gobsmacked by the number of books you've managed to read. I can't imagine ever reading that much though I would love to.

    I found myself doing a bit of re-reading in 2012 too - and comfort reads all the way for me - I suppose other people watch movies over and over again so it's the same kind of thing.

    I hope 2013 is another stellar year for your reading

  7. Great recap! You had an amazing reading year, nearly 300 books, that's brilliant! The AWW influenced my reading choices too and was probably the challenge I enjoyed the most. Looking forward to it again this year.

  8. It sounds like you had an amazing year of reading in 2012!!! I enjoy rereading as well although I find that I don't take the time as much as I used to. I hope to fit in a few more rereads in 2013 though. And I hope that you have another amazing year of reading!!!

  9. 291 is incredible! Your graphs look just as amazing too.

  10. Love the stats Marg -a great reading year!