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Reading Roundup: 2008/09 in Review

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09 October 2009 | 01:39 pm

It was in September 2003 that I first tracked what books I'd read that month, as I headed off to college. That means I've been monitoring every book I've completed for the past six years now! It also means that my reading year runs from September to August-- and so it finished up recently, and that I'm doing a belated analysis of the past year's reading.

Graduate school didn't negatively impact the number of books I was able to read; indeed, it increased them, bringing them up to 161, my best year yet. (The previous high was 2007/08, with 152.) But of course, many of these were books for graduate school, and most others were books I read as I bought them (Star Trek and other tie-ins where I don't like to be "behind"), meaning I've made very little forward movement on my reading list.

You can compare everything below to the 2007/08 data here.

This is what we can see of my genre/series/author habits of the past year:

Star Trek221.813.7%
Star Wars181.511.2%
Doctor Who100.86.2%
Media Tie-In Subtotal504.231.1%
The War of the Worlds [1]70.64.3%
L. Frank Baum [1]60.53.7%
His Dark Materials [1]20.21.2%
Tamora Pierce20.21.2%
M. T. Anderson [2]10.10.6%
Other Science Fiction/Fantasy171.410.6%
General SF&F Subtotal352.921.7%
Green Arrow60.53.7%
Other Comic Books [3]141.28.7%
Comic Book Subtotal
M. T. Anderson [2]10.10.6%
Other Literature453.828.0%
Literature Subtotal463.828.6%
Other Nonfiction [4]100.86.2%

NOTE 1: These include not only the primary work, but also adaptations of it (comics, sequels, reinterpretations, stage plays, &c.) and nonfictional texts about it.
NOTE 2: M. T. Anderson is split up because one of his books that I read was science fiction, whereas the other was historical fiction.
NOTE 3: Comic books belonging to one of the particular media tie-ins are counted with that tie-in, so this would predominantly be superhero comics.
NOTE 4: Nonfiction connected to a particular TV series is included with that TV series's total.

Obviously, as I increase my "literature" reading (essentially my catch-all for anything not sf or fantasy), I need to subdivide the category more if it is to remain useful. I can also put this information into a pleasing graph, of course, with the largest subtotal broken down:

Media tie-ins were at 48.0% last year, so this year's 31.1% is quite the drop. Indeed, these levels have fluctuated quite a bit over the years:

Star Trek41.1%37.1%25.2%14.5%20.9%13.7%25.3%
Doctor Who16.6%15.2%18.2%11.5%13.1%6.2%13.3%
Star Wars10.6%11.4%11.2%15.3%12.4%11.2%11.9%
Other Tie-In0.7%9.8%4.9%4.6%2.0%--3.4%
General SF&F9.9%6.1%21.0%14.5%20.3%21.7%15.8%
Comic Books--4.5%0.7%5.3%11.8%12.4%6.0%
PER MONTH12.611.011.910.912.813.412.1

Tie-ins constituted their lowest portion of my reading yet this year. On the other hand, my reading of general SF&F continues to rise, which makes me happy, even though I feel I'm still very deficient in this arena. Why do I have to be a fan of three different giant tie-in producing franchises? Comics continue to remain a high portion of my reading, unsurprisingly, but I was quite surprised to see that my literature level actually did not exceed its 2006/07 height-- though it actually did in terms of absolute numbers, as I read a good thirty more books in this year than that.

Doctor Who dropped by half, which is no doubt due to the curtailing of the line-- what is left doesn't particularly interest me. This is opposed to Star Trek, which was also curtailed, but there's still just about the same amount that I buy (and more comics, which help make up the gap).

As I alluded to earlier, despite reading some 161 books this year, I've actually made very little progress on my reading list. You can see the number of books I had remaining on this chart:

The recording of this statistic is somewhat erratic; I reconstructed it from when I mentioned it in my blog. As you can see, I did that a lot from August 2004 to November 2005, and then I pretty much stopped until reading roundups began in November 2007-- which is exactly when my number of unread books exploded! Now I record the number whenever I mention it in a reading roundup; as you can see, it's done some pretty steep climbing since I began graduate school.

As a way of illustrating how slowly I was moving through the list, I began tracking the position of Stanislaw Lem's Solaris on it. When I started monitoring in January 2009, it was at position #23; now it's at #19, despite the fact that I've read 132 books since then! Clearly, I'm not getting anywhere fast. Whenever I finally read Solaris, I'll throw a party.

I'll see you all there in February 2013.


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Comments {2}


(no subject)

from: hayleyscomet
date: 09 October 2009 07:46 pm (UTC)

You are a nerd.

And I love you.

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Steve Mollmann

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from: steve_mollmann
date: 10 October 2009 12:55 pm (UTC)

The problem isn't Solaris; it's all the books between me and Solaris! I actually read it before, when I got it from the library after seeing the Soderbergh film when it came out. I love the Soderbergh version, one of my favorite movies ever, but I've never seen Tarkovsky's. I remember not really knowing what to think about the novel, but I've read a lot more Lem since then, and I'm looking forward to my reread.


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