Hello, here I am.
Right now, I am tracking my reading in two different ways, but four different places. Two websites, two spreadsheets. Well, two websites, and one spreadsheet that is just one sheet, and one that has multiple sheets. Is this a lot? Yes. Is it excessive? Let’s stop the you-I-made-up-in-my-head right there — we’re not doing that. I may go into all these details at another time, it’s a lot for a post that is already going to be a lot, but even if I do, you’re not going to be allowed to say “that’s excessive.”
I don’t know yet which of these methods I’ll end up keeping up with — it’s only January and I don’t know how much of this information will end up ultimately serving the admittedly still pretty nebulous goals I’ve laid out for myself, and shockingly, even among all this information, and even with the changes I’ve already made to the mega-spreadsheet, I can see I’m not collecting some information I might like to have, so this is all definitely a work in progress. I do have goals for this year, though, and here is the first: I am going to give you this post, which is these stats and every blessed thing I read in January, and in a couple of days I will tell you my favorites and least favorites among those, and a couple of days after that, I will tell you my February reading plans, and ideally this pattern will repeat in the first week of March with February’s books, and you will see how those stats are being used.
Okay, it’s time for the numbers now. If you’re not interested in that crap and just want to know what I read, scroll down. I won’t know the difference.
January Reading Stats
✷ I read a total of 12 books out of my goal of 52 for the year, putting me ahead by 8 books. This might seem like I set my goal low, but I want to remind you that one, I’m an incredibly unreliable person; two, everyone likes to feel like a winner; and three, there’s no law that says goals have to be hard or unachievable, stop making this hateful world more difficult on yourself, damn.
✷ I also DNF’d 4 books this month, for various reasons. They won’t be listed with everything I read, but I will include them in the post of favorites and least favorites, even though “being a least favorite” is not necessarily always the reason for DNF’ing. I just didn’t want to make a whole separate post about them. Three wrap up posts seemed reasonable and doable. See above about hateful world, etc.
✷ However, seeing as how DNF’d books are books I did spend time and effort on, and I am human and do remain who I am, and do like credit for effort expended, as we all do, I’m also tracking pages read this year, and the pages of books I didn’t finish do count in those totals. I encourage you to try this if you find yourself pushing through books you don’t like because you don’t allow yourself to count unfinished books toward your reading goals, but also get stressed about the wasted time not counting for anything if you put a book down, thus find yourself pushing through things you don’t really like so you can count it toward your total. And if you’re about to say something about how dumb that line of thinking is, and how people should just put down things they don’t like and not worry about their reading goals, and how reading is supposed to be fun and not about numbers, I’m going to need you to take that healthy attitude to a juice bar or something, me and the people who get me don’t need that kind of negativity. Anyway, I read 4,738 pages, putting me ahead of my 20,000 page goal by 3039 pages.
✷ I read for 25 out of 30 days in January (okay, I know there’s 31 days in January, but I’m wrote this post in advance with the intention to fill in the correct numbers later, and I thought I might post this on February 1, but now I’m thinking I might post it on January 31, which is right now, and I haven’t read anything yet today, and listen, no one is going to audit me, all right?). On four of those days, I also listened to an audiobook, and on one of those days, I only listened to an audiobook. I was cleaning the jets in my bathtub. It was terrible.
✷Something I’m still sorting out: if I average the daily pages read and count the non-reading days as 0 pages, I averaged 153 pages read per day this month. If I eliminate the non-reading days, on days I read, I read 183 pages per day. I don’t know which of these I’d like to count as my average pages per day.
✷ I read about 2 hours per day. The 0 days don’t affect this, it rounds to the same. On days I read, the least was half an hour and 35 pages, and the most was 5.5 hours and 575 pages.
✷ Audiobooks are another interesting dilemma. I listened for 6.5 hours this month. However, since I up the speeds, I actually consumed 20 hours of audiobook content. So. I dunno. I can’t help it that I’ve got fast ears, man.
✷ A full 100% of my reading came from the library this month. All of it. Every single book I read and DNF’d. This isn’t a goal, this is just how it happened. It’s also not something I plan to continue in the future (see February reading plans), but it will definitely stay heavily balanced that way. Circulation numbers are everyone’s job.
✷ I checked out 35 books in January. You know the receipt the library gives you showing you how much you saved by using the library? Well, if they’re going to give me those numbers, why not track them? By using the library, I saved $683.00 in January, if I had purchased all of those books. Of course, that’s not a realistic savings — I don’t think there are many of us who would buy books as freely as we take them from the library. But that’s all the more reason to use the library, isn’t it?
✷ The way I track whether or not I’ve “read” a library book, considering there’s no actual risk/money wasted, is whether or not I made the time to pick it up and read/investigate it enough to be sure whether or not it was for me, whether that be reading, DNF’ing, or realizing it’s not what I thought now that I have it and I’m never going to read it. Setting a cut-off a couple of days before the end of the month to be reasonable, of the books I checked out before then, I read or otherwise dealt with 65% of the library books I checked out, and the rest went back unopened/uninvestigated. Hm. I suppose that should be closer to 100%.
Of the 16 books I read or DNF’d:
✷ 9 Adult, 7 YA – this is surprising, because I thought I was moving away from YA
✷ 9 part of a series, 7 stand alone – of these, there are 4 series I would not pick up again, 3 I’d maybe get around to, and only 1 where I immediately went for the next books
✷ 2 debut authors, 4 I’d read before, and 10 entirely new to me
✷ 6 Sci-Fi books, 5 Contemporary books, 3 Fantasy books, 2 Mystery books – there are further sub-genres, but not enough data to be interesting yet
✷ 7 books rated 4 stars and above, and not counting DNFs, only one below 3 stars
I think, at this point, with only a month of data, that is the most that I can reasonably call interesting. There are other things/tracked stats that might become more interesting over time.
Note on author stats: I’m not going to be including any author stats. Any information authors choose to publicly share is available to you on their platforms. Tracking those stats is a tricky thing, with authors having to justify their own identities, etc, and other people have discussed the nuances better than I can. That said, it’s not something I’m interested in displaying as a public scorecard, but more of a background awareness I have running to make sure I keep tabs on who is telling the stories I’m reading, and taking my guidance from appropriate voices.
All right. Those are the stats I’ve decided to list for January. Next month, there might be less. Or more. Maybe it will make more sense to you after the February reading plans post. Maybe it won’t. I don’t know, man. Is this interesting? I’m interested, and that’s my name at the top of the page.
✷ If I Had Your Face – Frances Cha – Multi-POV story of five South Korean women in their early twenties, mainly focusing on their experiences with and feelings about South Korean beauty standards and cultural expectations of women and femininity, societal hierarchies, relationships and friendships. Distinctly Korean, but universally relatable.
✷ A Marvellous Light – Freya Marske – A historical magical fantasy where one generally good-natured jocky bro gets slotted into a government job as a sudden replacement, only to find out on his first day that he’s now a liaison between his world and magical world, something he didn’t know existed until his contact, a real snooty magic dude, shows up being all “who the shit are you and also, my pen writes by itself.” He’s like nah heck this I’m gonna quit but whoops he gets magic on him and needs help from the snooty dude who thinks he’s pretty much a total cabbage. Then they start making eyes at each other.
✷ The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet – Becky Chambers – An extremely diverse crew of human, alien, and AI characters in a janky ship is tasked with punching a hole through the universe to help establish efficient travel routes for a previously un-allied, potentially extremely volatile alien race. Generally episodic and feel-good in nature, the book covers the crew’s travels across space, dangers they run into, weirdos they meet, and the weirdos they are.
✷ Pines – Blake Crouch – A Secret Service agent is travelling with another Secret Service agent to go find out what happened to some OTHER Secret Service agents when suddenly he wakes up on the side of a river all beat up with no idea what happened. He wanders into a town, which is a strange town. Everyone in the town is weird, except one lady, who tells him yeah, it’s weird, right? But then everyone denies that lady exists. And then everyone ups their weirdness by a million. And everyone is weird and creepy except for the guy, who has to figure out what kind of weirdness is going on in this weird town. You know, that kind of thing?
✷ Skyward – Brandon Sanderson – The first book in the Skyward series. There’s a teen girl who wants to go to pilot school and spends all her time studying for the test, because her dad was a pilot, fighting against the Krell, who basically just harass her planet non-stop, and don’t let humans out of their planet, and that’s their whole life. Hiding underground, for the most part, and getting harassed by these space guys, and no one knows why. But then when she goes to take the test, they’re like, nah girl. Your dad ran away in battle, he was a coward, so basically you are too, so you can’t. But then she gets to anyway, for reasons, but they don’t make it easy on her, but she yells about doom and the blood of her enemies and is hardheaded as hell. And also there’s a sentient AI space ship who also eventually starts yelling about doom.
✷ Light From Uncommon Stars – Ryka Aoki – The Queen of Hell – who got that name by making a deal with the devil to trade the souls of 7 musical prodigies in exchange for her own – is looking for one last soul, and she finds one in a transgender runaway violin prodigy named Katrina. Katrina likes to play video game theme covers on YouTube. There is a galactic war, and a stargate in a giant donut. There are aliens, of course, and a sapphic love story, and a child who is actually an AI, who helps with the YouTube channel. There are cursed instruments, and a demon. A boy is a in a cube. Ducks, alive and otherwise.
✷ All of Us Villains – Amanda Foody & Christina Lynn Herman – There are two kinds of magic in the world, but one was thought long gone, but guess what, turns out seven rich families were hoarding it all for themselves. There is a contract, hundreds of years old, and by its terms, every 20 years, those seven families compete in a tournament for control of the entire supply of High Magick. This year, due to an anonymous tell all book, the entire world is aware of what’s going on, and attention is on the tournament for the first time ever. Oh, and the tournament is a Hunger Games-style thing where every family sends one kid to fight to the death. The title is accurate.
✷ Forbidden – Tabitha Suzuma – Teen brother and sister Lochlan and Maya are basically entirely responsible for their three younger siblings, due to an absent father and might-as-well-be-absent mother. It’s difficult to summarize this book without saying exactly what it is, which is a love story. I dunno, man. Shrug, etc.
✷ The Cost of Knowing – Brittney Morris – Alex can see the future of every single object he touches. Every one. Every single thing. This sounds cool, like a super power, but in reality it plays out like an absolutely visceral depiction of gripping anxiety and an impossible way to live. One day, through the course of just touching things, he gets a vision of the future, of himself at his younger brother’s funeral. From there, he has to figure out what happens, when it will happen, if the future can be changed, and what if it can’t? More than that, this is a story about two young black boys living in today’s world exactly as you know it is.
✷ The Thursday Murder Club – Richard Osman – Busybody old people with time on their hands gently but absolutely inexorably force their way into a murder investigation because, come on. They’ve got the time, they’ve got the skills – somehow – and the police can’t stop them. Really. They can’t be stopped. They can’t. Try it. Go on. Try it.
✷ Under the Whispering Door – TJ Klune – A guy, Wallace, who wasn’t so great in life but wasn’t that bad, either, finds himself dead and not pleased about it. Finding himself reaped and at an in-between place, he tells the man who is in charge of the in-between place, basically, “I refuse.” And the man at the in-between place, Hugo, is like, “that’s fine, I can wait.” And Hugo, and his ghost grandpa, and his reaper friend, and his ghost dog, and his runaway ghost gone bad, they all basically hang out and wait for dead Wallace to come to terms with his deadness, but then they start to run out of time.
✷ Starsight – Brandon Sanderson – NO. YOU HAVE TO READ SKYWARD FIRST.
(all titles are links)
Okay, well, that’s my January reading stats (useful or not) and everything I read in January (potentially useful — I haven’t told you what I think about them yet, so you can decide if you want to read them, unpolluted by my judgment). Here are the rest of the posts coming up shortly. They will be links once they exist:
January Wrap Up Posts:
If you prefer shorter, more frequent updates to these long wrap ups, you can follow me on Instagram here, where I update my stories with what I’m reading pretty constantly, as well as try to keep up with mini-reviews in a highlight on my profile, and larger reviews in my feed. I am absolute shit at taking pictures, and am deeply unapologetic about it, yet this visual medium is where I spend most of my time.
Also, no matter what you say, I’m not going to not post the stats, but if you are interested in a more in depth post about the four different ways I’m tracking and rating books, let me know, because that would be a bit of a big post. My feelings are not going to be hurt if you say no. My feelings are never hurt by “no, please, don’t put yourself out on my behalf.” While I am delighted to be a giant nerd for fun, I am also equally always pleased to not put myself out.