Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 Book Report

For me, 2011 was a year filled with babies, new challenges in life, and thankfully a lot of reading. To recap, in 2010 I read 99 books, and goaled (this should be a verb, so I will use it as such here) to increase my book consumption 10% to hit 109 books in 2011.

Well, I missed my goal, but I increased from last year to 100 books (a 1% increase, can you handle this math?!). Most notably, my reading habits altered in genre this year. Last year, my ratio of Fiction to Non-fiction was 71/28 and this year it was 60/40. In retrospect, I did enjoy reading non-fiction more this year than last year. I'm not sure if this is because I'm smarter this year, have been reading better non-fiction, or if I'm just getting boring and my imagination is deteriorating. Either way, it's an interesting factoid.

Average Books Read Per Month: 8.25

  • High month: December (13) - I was trying desperately to catch up and Bob traveled a bunch
  • Low month: April (6) - Month immediately following the birth of Henry
Book Type: (A new category in 2011!):

  • Kindle books: 61 (Read on Kindle/iPhone/iPad)
  • Audio books: 18 (via Audible - Bob & I love this!)
  • Paperback books: 12
  • Hardcover books: 9
Last time I looked, Bob and I have 136 books in our Kindle library that we have accrued since Christmas 2009. That is 136 books that we can enjoy any time, from any where, simultaneously on many devices, and without having to worry about book storage. Before, Bob and I were accumulating books at a frightening rate and at several points (usually around moving time) we would be challenged with parting with 100 books EACH. Now, we don't have to worry about the shelf clutter, or the struggle of parting. Plus, we're so eco-friendly! If you haven't switched to digital books and you're a reader, do it. It has literally changed my life. We still have a library of physical books that I return to, and I plan on replacing some of my favorites with beautiful hardcover copies.

2010 was the year of the mystery, and I read some great ones, but in 2011 I only read 4. Genres with largest representation this year are as follows: History (13), Fantasy (13), Classic (12), and Comedy (10).

I'm going to post later this week with a list of my favorite books in several arbitrary categories, but for now I'm going to end my annual book update post with a bit of proselytizing.

  1. Read: Reading is one of the best things you can do in your spare time. It increases your vocabulary, enhances your memory, provides you with fodder for discussion, not to mention the entertainment value. Also, reading improves your writing, and with this information age of Twitter, Blogs, Facebook, Emails, Texts, etc, we could all use a boost in our writing skills; 4 reelzies. If you haven't read in a while, pick up popular books from the zeitgeist (e.g. Harry Potter, The Help, The Hunger Games). These books are popular because they are engaging, you will mostly likely like them too. Ask a reader for advice if you need it.
  2. Goal: Make a goal for yourself for 2012. One book per month? Per week? My goal for 2012 is 120, 10 books a month. We'll see how it goes...
  3. Record: I used to use a journal to record my reads, but now I use a simple excel spreadsheet. It only takes a moment to record each book once I'm finished with it, but at the end of the year I have so much data and can enjoy yummy data crunching. Also, this is an invaluable tool when recommending books to friends and family.
You can do it! 10 minutes a day will make a difference and get you into reading again. Think about times/places you can incorporate reading into your life. I have a friend who reads on the elliptical at the gym and finds herself lengthening her workout for good books. Audio books are a great way to slip reading into commuting time, and can be quite fun! (Look for a free trial of Audible on the interwebs if you're interested.) I read to my babies as they go to sleep (we're currently reading Harry Potter 5). Or maybe it's as simple as turning off the television 15 minutes earlier at night.

Open your mind, expand your world: read a book.

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