Thursday, December 31, 2015

A Year of Reading: By the Numbers

This year saw the passing of the legendary reader/reviewer Harriet Klausner who allegedly finished four to six books per day. While I could never reach Klausnerian heights (short of being sentenced to prison or shipwrecked on a desert isle), I did read my fair share of books in 2015.

I’m not one for making resolutions (or, at least, I’m not known for keeping them), but if I was, I doubt I’d be lifting a glass of champagne tonight, vowing to read more books in 2016. As I approach the border between these two years, I realize it would be pretty hard to consume more books than I did in 2015. These past twelve months, I exceeded even my own high expectations.

As faithful readers of The Quivering Pen know, I’ve kept a book log every year since returning from my deployment to Iraq with the Army in 2005. In a Word document on my computer, I write down author, title and page count; at my Library Thing account, I also record the date I started/finished the book, a rating, and other details. Here’s how it's gone for the past ten years:
2005:  50
2006:  40
2007:  61
2008:  66
2009:  46
2010:  54
2011:  55
2012:  56
2013:  81
2014:  106
This year, however, the grand total of books was....drumroll, maestro....

114 books

(cymbal crash, applause, triumphant bows)

Given my work schedule (40 hours at the Day Job, slightly-fewer hours at the writing desk, and seven hours a week helping my wife at her shop, The Backyard Bungalow) and my domestic life (cooking, cleaning, shoveling snow, etc.), I honestly don’t know how I can do better. But maybe I’ll surprise myself a year from now when I look back at my 2016 book log.

Here’s how it broke down numerically in 2015:
  • The average page count was 304 (up from 254 pages in 2014, which was up from 231 the previous year).
  • The shortest book was Approaching Winter: Poems (50 pages) by Floyd Skloot, the longest was It (1,376 pages) by Stephen King.
  • 29 of the 114 were e-books.
  • 48 were published in 2015, 6 were advance copies destined to be released in 2016, and the rest were from prior years.
  • 71 were written by men, 37 by women, 6 were a mix of both (anthologies or collaborations), and 0 were written by dogs or other household pets.
All in all, I’d have to say 2015 was a very good year of reading, indeed. And now, on to the next page, the next chapter, the next year...


  1. Well, I am impressed! I read 116 but I don't have a job. And am lousy at making time to write. Congratulations! I look forward to reading your 2016 reviews.

  2. I'm with Nancy. Very impressive! I read 132, but stopped working in February. I too have journaled my books. Started in 1996, so almost 20 years now!

  3. I love this. I need to step up my game. Your reviews are amazing, and I look forward to 2016.

  4. congratulations, and thanks for sharing. If you are interested, I do charts to present my stats (109 books):

  5. Wow! 114 books is incredible! I read 60 books in 2015 and I was aiming for 55. I'm hoping to read 100 this year. Last night, I finished 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas by Marie-Helene Bertino and it's gonna be one of my favourite reads this year, without a doubt. Highly recommend it if you haven't picked it up yet.:)

    Here are my 2015 favourites:

    Here's to an amazing year of reading!

  6. Terrific blog post, Donna. I especially loved this: It was the year I quit saying “I don’t have time to read” and found myself saying “I just can’t read enough”.

    Indeed, indeed....

    To my shame, I haven't had a chance to read "2 a.m. at The Cat's Pajamas" yet, but it's on my short list to read soon!