Reimer Writes
writer | editor | artist | citizen


Slowest blog in the west. Do you want quantity or do you want quality?

#95 Books 2014: an analysis


First a disclaimer: I'd been intending to pull some of my demographics into handy chart format prior to seeing Tanis MacDonald's analysis of her own 2014 reading list on Facebook. If you are friends with Tanis, I recommend her thoughtful "What I Read in 2014" posts.

I pulled my own stats by copy-pasting my numerical list into Excel, categorizing and sorting the titles, and using the chart wizard to pull pie charts.

Genre notes

It was important to me to make the #95Books goal this year, so it's interesting to examine how the numerical goal affected which books I chose to read. This year I read 103 books in total, and I specifically chose shorter books in order to meet my target. 62% of the books I read this year were poetry, 25% non-fiction, and 11% fiction. The fiction books were all short story collections; I read no novels this year. I read two anthologies, and one book by French collective Tiqqun. I read one graphic novel (the superb Shoplifter by Michael Cho) and one play (Adam Seelig's challenging and entertaining Parts to Whole).

I didn't count nationality, a number that MacDonald reviews in her count, largely due to laziness and a five-day headache. If I feel motivated later I will go back, research, and add this.

Additional fun facts on content

  • I only reviewed two books this year. I would like to at least double this for 2015.

  • Books I read in anticipation of a book club meeting that I did not end up attending: 2, or 1%

  • Buddhist philosophy texts: 2, or 1%

  • Books about cat behaviour: 2, or 1%

  • Books about emotional eating and weight loss: 2, or 1%

  • Weight I gained in 2014: 12 lbs

  • Books partly or wholly "about" or informed by grief, death and loss; or read as part of my exploration into grief, death and loss: 11, or 11%

    • The Trauma of Everyday Life — Mark Epstein

    • the place of scraps — Jordan Abel

    • Language and Death: The Place of Negativity — Giorgio Agamben

    • children of air india: un/authorized exhibits and interjections — Renee Sarojini Saklikar

    • Nocturne: On the Life and Death of My Brother — Helen Humphreys

    • Designated Mourner — Catherine Owen

    • MxT — Sina Queyras

    • Janey’s Arcadia — Rachel Zolf

    • Freak of Nurture — Kelli Dunham

    • Un/Inhabited — Jordan Abel

    • One Crow Sorrow — Lisa Martin

  • Change in eyeglass prescription: I now require progressive lenses

Demographical analysis

I was quite surprised that the male / female breakdown was so even: 50% women to 48% men. I would have assumed that I'd read a greater majority of books by women. This underscores the importance of record keeping and number counting to challenge one's assumptions.

The other numbers are definitely disappointing with regards to being an informed ally:

  • 14% of books were by persons of colour; 83% were by non-persons of colour

  • 16% of books were by LGBTQ-identified persons; 82% were by non-LGBTQ-identified persons, or were unknown to me

  • 2% of books by First Nations authors were by the same First Nations author

Reading goal for 2015: more diversity. Conscious diversity. Seek out more indigenous writers.

Fave picks and highlights to follow.