Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Geek counting

Number crunching the books.

A near disaster with a glass of water and 11 years of  reading diaries saw me decide to type up all the books I've listed in various diaries and journals over the past decade.

It has (unsurprisingly) taken me quite a while to get through the various notebooks and diaries, and while I don't have the stereotypical doctor handwriting sometimes deciphering my notes was interesting.  I'm also pretty sure that I've lost a couple of months from 2009 - I can't believe that I only read 8 books in three months even with a trip to Canada and a new job.

The stats from January 2005 to December 2015 are now crunched and even I was quite surprised to discover that in ten years I'd noted 2973 books.

It is very clear that when I still worked in book retail I read a lot more, however I was a children's specialist and for several years part of the team responsible for selecting the 5-8 book of the month meaning that every month I read an awful lot of shorter reads. At some point in my record keeping I decided not to note down what are commonly known as 'picture books' - everything has 48 pages or more.

Since starting work in the library I can see that I read a lot more non fiction and that I take a lot more gambles on my reading, there is no pattern at all to what I read - I really will try anything.

One thing that also came through from my notes is just how often I re-read a few authors, a couple of these are typical mid-twentieth century school/family story authors and the third is a contemporary, feminist, fantasy author.  On average I read many of the books by these authors once a year.
I was a little surprised that books I consider favourites, such as Little Women, don't feature highly on my rereads list but other books by Alcott, such as Eight Cousins, reoccur much more often.

Some books that I felt sure would appear on this list aren't there and I wonder if it is because I read them before 2005 or if I just didn't note them which is possible, until I found the right journal:

This lets me list the author, title, date read and gives me a line for notes about the book and the layout lets me note my reading for two years in each volume.*

What I found interesting reading back through all of the lists was just how many of these books I could actually remember in some detail. A few I hadn't listed the author but as soon as I popped the books in to a search engine it all came flooding back, looking at the dates I read some books also stirred memories, some good and some less good. Looking at some titles I am instantly transported back to where I read them - Greek beaches, slow trains, plane journeys the lot.

Right all of this typing has eaten into my reading time and as today has been designated #readabookday I'd better get on with it.

*On looking for a picture of my preferred reading diary I've discovered it is now out of print so I am off to bulk order the ones left in stock.

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