My Year in Fantasy Reading – 2017

I’m finishing out the year having read 102 fantasy (speculative fiction) novels and 150 books overall. I did read several fantasy manga (mostly a total re-read of Fruits Basket and whatever was available of The Ancient Magus’ Bride), but I didn’t include them in the stats here, only novels.

Some General Stats

  • 102 novels consisted of books from 49 different series and 16 stand alones by 63 different authors.
  • My most read author, with 5 books read, was Maggie Stiefvater.
  • There were 12 different authors that I read 3 or more of their books in 2017.
  • 97 of the books I read were brand new reads, while 5 were re-reads.

One of my reading goals this year was to read more sequels and finish up some of the loose series I’ve had hanging around. How did I do? Well…….

  • 13 books were the final book in a series. (YAY!)
  • 40 books were the first book in a series.

What the….how??? This is a huge shock to me. I did not realize I started so many new series without finishing them. I thought I was doing really good with that but I guess not. Womp womp. :/

percentofbooksbyseriesplacement

Reading Throughout The Year

I also tracked my reading by month and season. I know, I’m weird. But I like to see what parts of the year I read the most and which I read the least.

  • June was my best month, finishing a total of 17 fantasy novels! (Funny, because last year my total for June was 0 books read.)

booksreadbymonth

  • I read much more during Spring and Summer than I did during Winter and Autumn.
  • I only did 15% of my reading in Autumn (but that’s not a huge surprise as I’m usually dealing with ‘oh no, Winter is coming’ blues).

percentofbooksbyseason

Library Loans and Book Format

Two years ago I started using audiobooks. And then this year I got into using my Library system again, both to check out audiobooks and ebooks via Overdrive, and also stopping in to browse the shelves. I tend to buy a lot of books throughout the year and this has helped cut down on purchases. Especially on audible where I was spending way too much money. Anyway, it’s been interesting because a lot of my audiobook listening has been somewhat dictated by what books my library has available that I also was mildly interested in reading. I’ve listened to a lot of things that I might otherwise have not picked up–some of this was great while some of this was not so great.

Book Format

  • 72% of the books I read were audiobooks!

Here’s a chart breaking this down.

booksreadbyformat

Here’s a slightly more detailed chart because I’m a huge nerd.

booksreadbyformatdetailed

  • Most of the audiobooks I read were Library Loans, while a vast majority of the phyiscal books where I read my own copy.
  • 100% of the books I owned but used a library copy were audiobooks.

A bar chart this time. Fancy.

bookformatpercentlibraryvsown

Library Loans

  • 49% of the books I read last year were library loans. Huzzah, free books!
  • Most of the library books I used were audioboooks.
  • Most of the books where I read my own copy were also audiobooks.

bylibraryusage

librarybooksreadbyformat

ownedbooksreadbyformat

 

Subgenres and Publication Year

Subgenres are really hard to track because sometimes a story belongs to multiple subgenres or fits none well. But I did my best to categorize the books I read and fit them into 23 different subgenres of SFF. I also tracked adult books vs YA.

  • 72% of the books I read were ‘adult’ books, vs 28% ‘YA’ – surprising to me because I thought I read a lot more YA but I guess not.

Science Fiction vs Fantasy:

  • 79 Fantasy
  • 14 Science Fiction
  • 9 books I classified as Science Fantasy because they had enough elements of both genres.

percentbygenre

Subgenres of SFF:

  • My most read subgenre was Epic Fantasy with 20 books, way above any other subgenre. This was a huge surprise to me because I usually don’t read as much Epic; the books tend to take me a lot longer to get through because of the detailed world building, bigger cast of characters, etc.

booksbysubgenre

Publication Year:

  • The oldest book I read was published in 1954, The Two Towers by J. R.R. Tolkein.
  • The newest book I read was Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire (such a good read, by the way).
  • I read books published in 32 different years
  • 48% of the SFF books I read in 2017 were published within the last five years
  • The most I read from any year was 2016 with 17 books total.

I feel like I am always playing catch up with new releases and usually don’t read a ton of books the year they are published (I only read 7 books published in 2017, compared to 12 from 2015 and 10 from 2014).

percentofbooksbydecadepublished

Diversity of Books and Authors

Diversity of Authors

  • Out of 102 books: 18% were by male authors, 79% were by female authors, and 3% were co-authored by male and female authors.
  • Out of the 63 different authors: 24% were male authors, 75% were female, 1% were co-authored by a male and female author team.
  • Out of 102 books: 10% were written by authors of color.
  • Out of the 63 different authors: 13% were authors of color.

Diversity Within Books

This data might be off slightly because I didn’t do a great job of keeping track of things while I was reading and much of this was filled in later, so I was going off of memory in some cases and might have missesd things or misremembered. But I think it’s fairly accurate, at any rate.

  • Although I read mostly female authors, it was much more evenly divided between whether a book had a female, male, or combination of male and female protagonists.
  • 19% of the books I read featured a protagonist of color.
  • 34% of the books I read featured LBGTQ character(s).

protagsbygender

Ratings: Favorites and Least Favorites

I’m pretty generous with goodreads ratings as most things I like enough to give three stars or above. I didn’t realize quite how generous until I looked at this year’s stats.

  • I had 0 one-star books and only 2 two-star books.
  • My average rating was 4.04.
  • 31 five-star reads.

That’s crazy! I read a lot of books that I really loved this year but 31 is almost a third of the fantasy books I read!

booksbygoodreadsratings

Least Favorite Read of 2017

My least favorite book I read was probably The One by Kiera Cass, one of the books of her Selection series (someone described it as The Hunger Games + The Bachelor and that feels totally accurate). That series drove me crazy because I still can’t tell if it’s just horribly written drivel or if the author is a genius that actually wrote something completely believable from the POV of a rather self-absorbed teenage girl. Either way, the book was terrible, imo, but I still somehow had fun reading it? And I must be a glutton for punishment because it was one of the series I actually managed to finish this year.

Favorite Read of 2017

It’s hard to choose a favorite read because I really did read a lot of books that I just fell in love with this past year. Everything from Becky Chambers Wayfarers books which were such a joy and so emotionally resonant, to Claire North’s The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August that packed a gut-punch of an ending for me. (I’m still reeling a bit from that one.)

BUT. If I have to choose, then my absolute favorite read of the year is Courtney Schafer’s Shattered Sigil trilogy. I won’t go on too much about it here because I already wrote a lengthy review earlier this year, but suffice to say these books took me on a journey, literally in the story, but also emotionally. I became so attached to these characters, there were so many great twists and turns, the pace was relentless, and I lost a lot of sleep from staying up all night reading these books.

In Summary

So that’s it. That’s my year in reading.

My changes from last year:

  • Read a lot more books (around 50)
  • Read a much higher percent of audiobooks
  • Utilized the library a lot (compared to almost none the previous year)
  • Read a slightly higher percentage of adult books vs. YA
  • Read slightly less diverse books and authors
  • Last year October was my best reading month while June was the least. I guess I don’t have a pattern. Huh.

But overall, I read a lot of books I loved, discovered some new-to-me authors, and even re-read a few favorites. My goals for 2018 are to continue to read a lot of books, continue to finish even more series, and maybe read more diverse works and more self-published books. I also thought about reading at least one book published each year between, say 1960-2018, but I don’t know if that will be doable with all the other goals I have in mind. Plus bingo. But we’ll see!

So, do any of you have any reading stats to share? I’d love to see what others track, or interesting challenges people do.

This was previously posted on reddit’s r/fantasy forum here
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