2015: Reading Review and Metrics

Posts in this series
  1. 2014: Reading Review
  2. 2014: Reading Metrics
  3. 2015: Reading Review and Metrics
  4. 2016: Reading Review and Metrics

This series has become tougher and tougher to write, as I amass more data every year and life gets more and more busy, which further delays the posting. Yes, I’m talking about shit that went down in 2015 in September of 2016. And, sadly, this is mostly just wankery for two reasons:

  1. I do this to satisfy my own curiosity.
  2. It doesn’t really spark much in the way of conversation, usually.

This year, I’m making use of TablePress so it should make for better reading of the actual list (and sorting by various data types, I think). Additionally, I’m using Google Web Fonts, some fancy-schmancy CSS3 stuff, and Google Charts to present elements that were previously boring flat graphics, so I’ve got more coding than I usually do…

Okay, so how’d it go?

Overview: Goals and Total Count

51

 
My plan was to read sixty books in 2015. I fell a bit short (85% of goal) — due to problems on the home front, a shortened daily commute (barely taking the bus), and a few other factors, which resulted in my reading habit becoming kind of a secondary concern.

This still averages out to about a book per week. I cannot complain about that. Especially in light of Pew research that indicates the average American read twelve books in 2015. The sad part is, only 73% of the population read a book in 2015, which means one in four Americans didn’t read a single book. Fucking hell. We’re a nation of idiots.

Makes falling short of my goal much more palatable, anyway.

Pages

16557

 
This represents an 8000-page drop from 2015. Pretty big bummer. Anyway. This also works out to 45.4 pages per day, with an average book length of 324 pages. I managed to finish a book every 7.15 days, which isn’t bad, but not nearly as good as 2014 was.

Genre

Like 2014, one of my goals was to be more balanced in what I read. The goal since 2014 has been to keep Science Fiction to half (or less) of what I read in a given year. I was pretty successful again this year, so I’m pleased. This branching out has been a good thing.

Re-reading

In 2015, only a solitary book I read was a re-read, and that was Getting Started with Arduino, which inspired a lot of tinkering ideas…which were later abandoned. The goal was to not repeat myself in 2015, and I’d say I did a fairly good job of it. Whenever I looked at a book I’d already read, I looked back at the list of 2000+ unread ebooks on my iPad, blanched a little bit, and picked something new.

Series

Lots of series reading in 2015, yo. Some of it, I was unaware of — the remarkably good Fluency, for example, turned out to be the first in a series — and others were much-waited for (Weber’s Hell’s Foundations Quiver). I’m not sure how I feel about the commitment to so many multi-part series. I need to think about that more.

Format

Progress Graphing

completions-vs-total-pages

So the first thing you’ll notice from the above graph is the pace at which I was reading books was fairly sporadic. I started the beginning of the year pretty strong, and things were okay. And then life took a hard right turn — things got more difficult at home due to family issues, and then we moved to Minneapolis proper, and my nice 40+ minutes each-way bus commute disappeared, leaving me driving or taking short hops to downtown by bus or by bicycle. Toward the end of the year, I felt a bit behind schedule and picked up the pace (as seen in the graph).

completions-and-avg-ppd

As it did in 2014, my 2015 average pages per day slid from a strong start to a more-or-less consistent average. This is normal. I was just way behind 2014.

total-pages-vs-avg-ppd

And this last is just a Venn intersection between the two charts above.

Year-Over-Year

14-15-yoy

So yeah, you can see a bit of how I fell behind in 2015. I was going to add “total pages” to this chart, but ultimately it wasn’t really working out. It skewed all the other data smaller, and when I made the scale logarithmic it made it look like 2014 and 2015 were largely the same.

Looking forward to doing this again with 2016 data, though. That’ll be cool.

The Full List of What I Read in 2015

TitleStarsAuthorDate ReadPagesGenre
The First Fifteen Lives of Harry AugustNorth, Claire1/8/15432Science Fiction
RedeploymentKlay, Phil1/10/15288General Fiction
The World Without UsWeisman, Alan1/17/15324Science
Zombie Spaceship WastelandOswalt, Patton1/20/15191Bio/Memoir
ProximaBaxter, Stephen1/25/15456Science Fiction
FoundationGoodman, Eric1/28/15288Sports/Fitness
Packing for MarsRoach, Mary2/3/15334Science
A Better WorldSakey, Marcus2/5/15390Science Fiction
GriftopiaTaibbi, Matt2/12/15253Current Events
Neptune's BroodStross, Charles2/21/15336Science Fiction
The Gifts of ImperfectionBrown, Bren̩2/24/15138Self Improvement
The No-Cry Sleep SolutionPantley, Elizabeth3/4/15400Parenting
The ExplorerSmythe, James3/16/15264Science Fiction
Someone Could Get HurtMagary, Drew3/18/15245Bio/Memoir
FluencyWells, Jennifer Foehner3/22/15283Science Fiction
Invent It, Sell It, Bank It!Greiner, Lori3/26/15288Business
Getting Started with ArduinoBanzi, Massimo4/2/15128Technology
How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win BigAdams, Scott4/7/15248Self Improvement
FobbitAbrams, David4/13/15384General Fiction
The Thank You EconomyVaynerchuk, Gary4/22/15256Business
LandfallBaxter, Stephen4/24/15190Science Fiction
How We Got to NowJohnson, Steven5/5/15255Science
The Long Way to a Small, Angry PlanetChambers, Becky5/19/15518Science Fiction
When to Rob a BankLevitt, Steven D.5/29/15400Science
The Heart and the FistGreitens, Eric6/3/15320Bio/Memoir
Complete Road Bike MaintenanceAndrews, Guy6/23/15208Sports/Fitness
The Disappearing SpoonKean, Sam7/6/15394Science
The End of All ThingsScalzi, John7/18/15329Science Fiction
ArmadaCline, Ernest8/4/15349Science Fiction
Slow BulletsReynolds, Alastair8/6/15192Science Fiction
Awesome Sh*t My Drill Sergeant SaidCaddy, Dan8/17/15192Humor
The HarvestWendig, Chuck8/18/15437Science Fiction
10% HappierHarris, Dan8/26/15256Self Improvement
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic FutureVance, Ashlee8/30/15400Bio/Memoir
Go Set a WatchmanLee, Harper9/1/15278General Fiction
Thousandth NightReynolds, Alastair9/2/15192Science Fiction
Sick in the HeadApatow, Judd9/11/15512Bio/Memoir
AuroraRobinson, Kim Stanley9/25/15466Science Fiction
The MartianWeir, Andy10/2/15369Science Fiction
The Like SwitchSchafer, Jack10/19/15288Science
Star Wars: AftermathWendig, Chuck10/23/15346Science Fiction
People I Want to Punch in the ThroatMann, Jen10/24/15208Bio/Memoir
Station ElevenMandel, Emily St. John10/29/15336Science Fiction
How to Successfully Kidnap StrangersBooth, Max11/6/15159General Fiction
Bombs AwayTurtledove, Harry11/8/15432Science Fiction
An Anthropologist on MarsSacks, Oliver11/14/15318Science
Hell's Foundations QuiverWeber, David11/24/15784Science Fiction
The Bazaar of Bad DreamsKing, Stephen12/4/15495Horror
The Rebirths of TaoChu, Wesley12/6/15512Science Fiction
The Test BookKrogerus, Mikael12/15/15208Self Improvement
The Moon is a Harsh MistressHeinlein, Robert A.12/18/15288Science Fiction

Awards

Only genres in which I read four or more books are eligible for an award.

Bio/Memoir: Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt. I really enjoyed this book, and felt that it was a great account of growing up geeky.

General Fiction: Fobbit by David Abrams. Encapsulates the ridiculousness of war and military life in a way that’s funny without being annoying as shit like Catch-22 was.

Science: Packing for Mars by Mary Roach. Funny and thought-provoking, Roach became one of my favorite authors.

Science Fiction: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. This was one of my hardest selections as I read some great science fiction this year — six books received a 5-star rating.

Conclusion

It was a bad year for volume, but a good year for quality. I’m okay with how 2015 turned out.

Image Credits: Unsplash/Creative Commons Zero (CC0)/Public Domain.

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