So this year I was more organized in my reading than I have ever been in my life. (Except for maybe during BookIt or AR competitions. Someone make those for adults, seriously, I’m begging.) Not only did I keep track of all the books I read in 2015, I was pretty diligent in keeping track of a lot of other stats about these books, such as author gender and origin, reading format, and LGBT themes. I wanted to see how my reading broke down in regards to reading diversely. I didn’t actively try to read more diversely this year (though, as you may have noticed from my Book Bingo card, it’s definitely a goal for this year.) What I noticed? I do NOT read diversely. Like, at all. Take a look:
I’m pretty proud of this, as I figured it would skew more towards male, reflecting the publishing industry’s historical bias towards male authors. Good job, me. I’m ok with keeping this ratio, about half, in 2016, though I want to look for non-binary authors, as well.
Paper book: 6%
I know, I know, cue the cries of “the physical book is dying! The future is a soulless digital wasteland!” Please, rip your hair out and scream in the corner, it’s distracting. These stats are really not surprising, nor do I find them particularly upsetting. I moved to Korea halfway through 2015, and I couldn’t really bring many books with me. Add to that the fact that physical English books are pretty expensive here, and they’re also hard to find (unless I order them online and have them shipped, which I… don’t… do a lot…), and you get an overwhelming number of e-books read. I know, purists will probably want to flay me for this, but honestly I have no problem with e-books, and I don’t think they spell the end of physical books. That would be like saying newspapers are doomed because of the rise of websites! Wait…
I’m not sure if the number of audiobooks read bothers me, either. Though I think sometimes I listen to audiobooks to avoid reading, I also think they’re excellent for traveling, walking to school, grocery shopping, cooking… Basically anytime you may be forced to talk to strangers if you’re not wearing headphones? Audiobooks are the answer.
United States: 94%
United Kingdom: 10%
This. This is the category that is the most embarrassing. 94% American authors??? I may as well tattoo an American flag on my ass and start believing socialism is evil.
My goal for 2016 is to increase the number of non-American, non-UK authors by a HUGE amount. Reading diversely can lead to a more holistic view of the world! Also I won’t look like such a Bestseller list junkie. It’s the best of the (whole) world!
Books with LGBT themes or characters: 8%
Definitely want to improve on this this year, as well, as representation in literature is CRAZY IMPORTANT, especially to marginalized groups who are so often forgotten in mainstream culture!
Books written by authors of color: 10%
I have had a pretty white-centric reading history, and this definitely needs to change in the new year. I’ll be putting special emphasis on searching for books written by POC authors that feature main characters of color.
Adult Fiction: 18%
Short Stories: 0.02%
The general stats are pretty skewed, since graphic novels and comic books are shorter and usually have multiple issues per title, but I definitely want to improve my YA to Adult percentage next year (and by improve, I mean widen the gap. Most of the books I LOVED this year were adult, and many of the more disappointing books were YA, so I think I’ll cut down on my YA reading for a while. I’m 25, after all, ancient in the terms of any Strong Female Characters in YA. 😉
There we have it, my reading stats for 2015. They’re not especially impressive, but that’s why I kept track. To improve, you have to know where your weaknesses are, and mine are definitely apparent. I’m hoping 2016 will see my reading diversified for my brain’s sake. 🙂 Stay tuned to follow along with my progress!