2018: My Year in Reading

All of the data that follows was collected by me throughout the year using a combination of Google Sheets and Google Calendar. All seasonal and monthly calculations are based on the date each title was begun. Average days to read titles are based on the number of days actually spent reading each title, and not necessarily the full span from begun date to completed date.

A complete list of all the books I read in 2018 is at the bottom of this post.

For a list of my favorite books I read this year, go here >

For a list of my least favorite books of the year, go here >

I participated in #LibFaves18 on Twitter. See my selections here >

I read 63 books in 2018:

  • 37 fiction
  • 26 nonfiction

This is a higher proportion of nonfiction books than usual for me.

I averaged 5.25 books per month. I read 28 books in the first half of the year and 35 in the second half. My average books per month for the first six months of the year was 4.67 compared to an average of 5.83 per month in the last six months. It’s normal for my reading to go in fits and starts but it’s unusual for it to be so unequal overall. It was a weird year for reading.

My fiction-to-nonfiction reading was more even through the year: 18 and 10 respectively in the first six months, 19 and 16 for the last six.

I spent 157 days reading in 2018 and 209 not reading. I averaged 3.27 days of reading in a row per stretch and 4.26 days in a row not reading.

My longest uninterrupted stretch of reading lasted 12 days, from July 1–July 12. My longest stretch without reading was 46 days from January 16–March 2. That’s right: I didn’t read a single page of a single book the entire month of February. That’s kind of ridiculous, if you ask me. Looking back, I honestly can’t remember why I didn’t read anything for over a month. I just… wasn’t in the mood, I guess. It’s also the longest I’ve ever gone without reading since I started tracking my reading data.

My seasonal reading pattern was less consistent than normal for me:

  • 7 books in winter (January-February-December)
  • 22 books in spring (March-April-May)
  • 14 books in summer (June-July-August)
  • 20 books in fall (September-October-November)

I read 10 books in October, the most of any month—I think that’s a new record for me. Other than February (with zero), the months with the fewest book were January and June, with 3 each. I had two months with 4 books (November and December), two months with 6 books (August and September), and two months with 7 books (April and May). March saw 8 books read and July had 5.

On average, it took me 2.71 days to read a book:

  • 2.65 days for fiction
  • 2.81 days for nonfiction

I read all 63 books this year in less than a week. I had a record of 17 books which only took me one day each to read. I should note that I read 7 novellas this year (by my count, not based on official word counts) and one children’s picture book. A surprising number of nonfiction books also read quickly.

This year, I have two reading resolutions:

1) Try to read more consistently. I tend to read in huge chunks, for hours at a time, and so I’m in the habit of not bothering if I don’t have that much time to devote to it. I need to accept that it’s good and healthy to read even if it’s only for an hour or less. I think it would be good to read at least a little bit every week.

2) Stop judging myself for my reading lapses. It’s not like I’m in any danger of never reading again. It’s not like there’s some commandment somewhere that I MUST READ MOAR BOOKS! While reading is very good for your brain under just about any circumstances, there’s some evidence the benefits are lessened if you’re not in the proper headspace to do it. Forcing yourself to read when you’re not in the mood is really only worth it if you have an assignment with a deadline.

I read a handful of romance novels this year, thus completing a small portion of the diverse reading challenge I set for myself in 2017. Perhaps my continued hypocrisy on this front is somewhat redeemed by the list of books I read specifically to check my privilege and challenge my bias.

I plan to get into some Westerns and Urban Fiction in 2019.

I continue not to write many book reviews anymore, although I wrote a couple of movie reviews. See my reviews here >

2018 continued a several year pattern of me not watching TV much, either. Maybe I should just accept I’m not a TV buff anymore. When I’m not reading, I fill my free time scrolling around on my phone. (By the way, I love how that sentence wouldn’t make any sense to anyone not too long ago.) Makes me wonder if it wouldn’t be better to go back to watching TV.

* John the Librarian is my personal blog. The opinions and ideas I express here are strictly my own and do not represent the views of my employer.

Books Read in 2018

I’ve linked titles which I’ve reviewed on this blog. Asterisks (*) indicate titles I reviewed for Booklist.

Title Author Started Finished
1 The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin’s Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Animal World—and Us Richard O. Prum 1/4/2018 1/8/2018
2 Running Scared Elizabeth Lowell 1/9/2018 1/13/2018
3 Mr. Perfect Linda Howard 1/14/2018 1/15/2018
4 Persepolis Rising James S. A. Corey 3/3/2018 3/4/2018
5 The Dinner Herman Koch 3/4/2018 3/5/2018
6 Transgender History: The Roots of Today’s Revolution, Second Edition Susan Stryker 3/5/2018 3/6/2018
7 A False Report: A True Story of Rape in America T. Christian Miller & Ken Armstrong 3/6/2018 3/6/2018
8 Joy on Demand: The Art of Discovering the Happiness Within Chade-Meng Tan 3/7/2018 3/9/2018
9 Circe Madeline Miller 3/10/2018 3/11/2018
10 Cantique Joanna Marsh 3/22/2018 3/25/2018
11 The Robots of Gotham * Todd McAulty 3/26/2018 4/2/2018
12 Mrs. Caliban Rachel Ingalls 4/4/2018 4/5/2018
13 Arthur C. Clarke * Gary Westfahl 4/6/2018 4/8/2018
14 Break Beats in the Bronx: Rediscovering Hip-Hop’s Early Years Joseph C. Ewoodzie, Jr. 4/9/2018 4/13/2018
15 The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World Simon Winchester 4/13/2018 4/21/2018
16 Hair Story: Untangling the Roots of Black Hair in America (revised and updated) Ayana D. Byrd & Lori L. Tharps 4/22/2018 4/24/2018
17 Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in the Stacks—A Librarian’s Love Letters and Breakup Notes to the Books in Her Life Annie Spence 4/30/2018 4/30/2018
18 Rogue Protocol * Martha Wells 4/30/2018 5/1/2018
19 Kill the Farm Boy Delilah S. Dawson & Kevin Hearne 5/1/2018 5/2/2018
20 Apocalypse Nyx * Kameron Hurley 5/2/2018 5/5/2018
21 The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World Steve Brusatte 5/7/2018 5/12/2018
22 A Voice in the Night * Jack McDevitt 5/12/2018 5/16/2018
23 Lincoln in the Bardo George Saunders 5/19/2018 5/21/2018
24 Bimbos & Zombies Sharyn McCrumb 5/26/2018 5/29/2018
25 Exit Strategy * Martha Wells 5/31/2018 5/31/2018
26 The Million * Karl Schroeder 6/3/2018 6/3/2018
27 Venus on the Half-Shell and Others Philip José Farmer 6/24/2018 6/26/2018
28 Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction * Alec Nevala-Lee 6/27/2018 7/3/2018
29 The Woman Who Smashed Codes: A True Story of Love, Spies, and the Unlikely Heroine Who Outwitted America’s Enemies Jason Fagone 7/3/2018 7/8/2018
30 Iron Dawn Matthew Woodring Stover 7/9/2018 7/14/2018
31 Dispatches from Planet 3: 32 (Brief) Tales on the Solar System, the Milky Way, and Beyond * Marcia Bartusiak 7/18/2018 7/20/2018
32 Lost Mars: Stories from the Golden Age of the Red Planet * Mike Ashley (ed.) 7/22/2018 7/25/2018
33 The Three Questions Jon J. Muth 7/23/2018 7/23/2018
34 Resistant * Rachael Sparks 8/13/2018 8/13/2018
35 Black Belt Librarians: Every Librarian’s Real World Guide to a Safer Workplace Warren Graham 8/15/2018 8/15/2018
36 Bowie on Bowie: Interviews and Encounters with David Bowie Sean Egan (ed.) 8/16/2018 8/18/2018
37 The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog Adam Gidwitz, illuminated by Hatem Aly 8/19/2018 8/19/2018
38 Probability Shadow * Mark Laporta 8/19/2018 8/28/2018
39 The City of Brass S. A. Chakraborty 8/29/2018 9/2/2018
40 Relic Alan Dean Foster 9/2/2018 9/4/2018
41 The Science of Science Fiction: The Influence of Film and Fiction on the Science and Culture of Our Times * Mark Brake 9/5/2018 9/8/2018
42 Man Alive: A True Story of Violence, Forgiveness and Becoming a Man Thomas Page McBee 9/8/2018 9/8/2018
43 Amateur: A True Story about What Makes a Man Thomas Page McBee 9/9/2018 9/9/2018
44 The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2018 * N. K. Jemisin (ed.); John Joseph Adams (series ed.) 9/10/2018 9/25/2018
45 The History of White People Nell Irvin Painter 9/26/2018 10/1/2018
46 The True Meaning of Smekday Adam Rex 10/2/2018 10/4/2018
47 Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life Eric Klinenberg 10/7/2018 10/7/2018
48 A Chosen Exile: A History of Racial Passing in American Life Allyson Hobbs 10/8/2018 10/13/2018
49 I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness Austin Channing Brown 10/13/2018 10/14/2018
50 Binti Nnedi Okorafor 10/14/2018 10/14/2018
51 Binti: Home Nnedi Okorafor 10/16/2018 10/16/2018
52 Binti: The Night Masquerade Nnedi Okorafor 10/17/2018 10/17/2018
53 Spacecraft: 100 Iconic Rockets, Shuttles, and Satellites That Put Us in Space * Giuseppe De Chiara and Michael H. Gorn 10/18/2018 10/27/2018
54 Rock Manning Goes for Broke Charlie Jane Anders 10/28/2018 10/28/2018
55 Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism Safiya Umoja Noble 10/31/2018 11/19/2018
56 Nighttime Is My Time Mary Higgins Clark 11/2/2018 11/7/2018
57 Arkad’s World * James L. Cambias 11/10/2018 11/10/2018
58 The Bone Clocks David Mitchell 11/20/2018 11/27/2018
59 Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster * Adam Higginbotham 11/28/2018 12/2/2018
60 Set the Boy Free Johnny Marr 12/2/2018 12/6/2018
61 Terminal Uprising * Jim C. Hines 12/12/2018 12/17/2018
62 We Are Mayhem * Michael Moreci 12/26/2018 12/28/2018
63 Art Matters: Because Your Imagination Can Change the World Neil Gaiman; Chris Riddell (ill.) 12/30/2018 12/30/2018

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