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Year in Review 2013

January 3, 2014

Happy 2014, readers! Hopefully everyone had a lovely and safe New Year’s Eve, and that your 2014 is off to a great start!

It has been a crazy, busy year. Right after New Year’s Day 2013 I moved across the country to start a new job. Adjusting has been kind of tough, and my new job has been keeping me busy enough that finding time in my schedule to read has been a challenge – even when I get some downtime, I’m often so brain-dead that TV is all I can handle. So accordingly, I set my goal for the year way lower than normal, and with a late-December push, I not only made but actually exceeded my goal! Not bad for a year with two months in which I only finished four books each!

There have been some definite upsides to the transition, too! As busy at it makes me, I really enjoy my new job, and the holidays spent in the Midwest have convinced me that I don’t actually miss the reality of winter so much as I miss the idea of it. I’ve also joined a book club for the first time ever, met some awesome people, and read some great books!

  • I finished 119 books this year, 102 of which were new-to-me, and 17 of which were re-reads. 100 new books was my personal goal for the year, so I spent a lot of the year behind, but with the holiday travels, I managed to make it.
  • 88 of those were paper or e-books, for a total of 29,115 pages read. The remaining 31 were audiobooks, with a total of slightly over 16 full days of listening time. (Not included in either of those tallies are all the individual short stories I read and/or listened to.) If you count the text equivalent of the audiobooks, I consumed 42,400 pages of reading material this year.
  • I read books by 80 different authors, 37 of which were new to me. I also a good job of balancing the sex ratio: excluding anthologies, 48.7% percent of the books I read were by female authors. (1% less than last year, alas.)
  • I didn’t do a great job of reading my own books this year. Of the new books I read, only about 36% came from my TBR pile. Another 18% were audiobooks, 30% were graphic novels from the library, 13% were non-graphic-novel library books, and the remaining 3% were e-books freebies or from the eTBR "pile".
  • I was pretty good about acquiring new books – nothing quite like having to move one’s library across the country to make one a little skittish about new books! I requested relatively few review copies this year – also a function of the not having as much time for reading and reviewing – and the library booksale in my new town is only open a few times a year, rather than three days a week… so I had a few binges but relatively fewer books coming in on an average day. The result that I only added 53 books to my TBR pile – which is more than 2012 but substantially lower than any other year since I’ve been keeping track. I either read or cleared only 35 books from the pile, though, leaving me with a net change of +18! Something to work on next year!
  • Of the books I read from my TBR pile, the average length of time between when I acquired them and when I finished them was 355 days. I’ve got books on my TBR pile that have been there an embarrassingly long time, but I’m doing my best to work through them.
  • Over half of the books I read were published in 2012 or 2013; however, the average publication date of my books was 2007.
  • Unsurprisingly, over half the books I read this year were fantasy; the rest was pretty evenly split between science fiction, non-fiction, historical fiction, and contemporary fiction. About 40% of the books I read were young adult or mid-grade; this has remained pretty constant over the past few years.

You can calculate these kind of stats for yourself using my reading tracking spreadsheet. You can download the new version here: 2014 reading tracking spreadsheet; it’s functionally the same as the old version, but with tabs and graph lines for 2013 and 2014 added. You can find the instructions for using it here: reading tracking spreadsheet instructions.

I’m not going to do a formal “best of” list for 2013, since I always have a really hard time getting my picks down to 5 or even 10 “best” books. Instead, here are my picks-of-the-month for the year!



July August
September October November

January: Speaking from Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

February: Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner

March:Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks. Honorable mention to Bellwether by Connie Willis.

April: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

May: Saga, Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan

June: Impossible Things by Connie Willis

July: Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

August: Kushiel’s Scion by Jacqueline Carey

September: Kushiel’s Justice by Jacqueline Carey

October: Cooked by Michael Pollan. Honorable mention to The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

November: Kushiel’s Mercy by Jacqueline Carey

December: All Clear by Connie Willis

It was a Jacqueline Carey and Connie Willis-heavy year, which is a-okay by me. Especially since they both have more books I haven’t read yet… something to do in 2014!

What about you, readers? Read any good books last year?

© 2014 Fyrefly’s Book Blog. All Rights Reserved. If you’re reading this on a site other than Fyrefly’s Book Blog or its RSS feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is being used without permission.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2014 8:53 pm

    A net change of +18 is pretty darn good! It’s something I can aspire to one day. Happy New Year!

    • January 11, 2014 1:07 pm

      Kathy – I did better last year, but I also did a lot of pre-moving purging.

  2. January 3, 2014 9:08 pm

    Nice! I really need to keep better records of books. I do well in the beginning, but start slacking as time goes on. I am sure, especially after a very slow reading year last year, my TBR didn’t decrease at all.

    • January 11, 2014 1:08 pm

      Kailana – I really need to get better about reading from my own TBR pile first.

  3. January 4, 2014 4:01 pm

    Nice stats! I’m going to try to keep better records this year, but here it is the 4th and I haven’t recorded my first book read yet.

  4. January 4, 2014 6:36 pm

    I LOVE the picks of the month idea! Although what if you had a particularly good reading month??! I’m very excited to get back to using your spreadsheet, so thank you very much for sharing!

    What is it about new jobs? When I started mine a few years ago, I felt like a stranger to myself. I was so grumpy and tired and just out of sorts for months. I’m not looking forward to that transition when I move next time!

    • January 11, 2014 1:10 pm

      Lu – Good reading months and not-so-good reading months both make the Pick-of-the-Month not ideal, but that’s what honorable mentions are for! And it’s easier for me to do it that way then to try to compare books I read months ago to one that I read recently and decide which I like better.

  5. January 4, 2014 10:54 pm

    >>nothing quite like having to move one’s library across the country to make one a little skittish about new books!

    Hahaha, this made me laugh out loud. IT IS SO TRUE. I just moved into a new apartment today, and even though I had a bunch of people helping me, it reminded me once again of how heavy and numerous my books are.

    • January 11, 2014 1:11 pm

      Jenny – Haha, I really shouldn’t be complaining, since I had movers this time. But still… it was a lot. Good luck with your new place!

  6. January 6, 2014 4:27 am

    Ooooh, what a lovely idea to pick books by the month! Though I echo Lu, what if you had a particularly good reading month?

    I hope your 2014 is off to a great start and will prove to be a wonderful year for you on all fronts!

  7. January 6, 2014 8:12 pm

    I love all your reading stats! Especially the average publishing year–now I’m very curious what mine would be! Too bad I wasn’t tracking publishing date…maybe next year! Les Miserables and Hunchback of Notre Dame may have skewed it this year anyway…

    • January 11, 2014 1:13 pm

      Cheryl – Classics totally skew the data, it’s true!

  8. January 7, 2014 9:04 am

    OH! I’m so glad you enjoyed Year of Wonders! I loved that one and still recall most of my thoughts on that one and it’s been years – a book club over 10 years ago, I think.


  1. Mt TBR report: September 2014 | Earl Grey Editing

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