Reevaluating My Reading: Genreflection

November 9, 2016 Books 4

Earlier this year, I took a look at my reading stats for the past 5 years to get an idea of (1) where the authors I’ve read come from and (2) the gender of those authors.

I also started writing this post back then but it languished in my drafts for months for no good reason… so here we are now. Keep in mind that these “Reevaluating My Reading” posts cover books I read from 2011-2015.

Here’s my intro from those posts:

I’ve been seeing more and more buzz about diversity in the book world lately, and I got curious:

How diverse are my reading habits?

There are lots of ways to measure this. Author or character gender, LGBT orientation, ethnicity or culture, disability or mental illness, and on and on and on. Today, though, I just want to focus on… genre.

Today I wanted to focus a little more on the content of the books themselves rather than the people that wrote them.

My reading habits have changed a bit over the past 5 years. I’ve gone from an MLIS student to a teen librarian at a public library to a tech librarian at an academic library. In 2014, I joined the Classics Club, and I signed up for the Foodies Read and TBR Pile Challenge projects in 2015. I started sewing in 2012, got interested in genealogy in 2013, and we bought a house just last year. All of these things have influenced my book diet.

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Skip this section about methodology if you just want to see some pretty pie charts….

First, I separated the titles into fiction and nonfiction. Obviously!

Second, I tried to guess what I thought would be the most common and least common genres, and I combined “like” genres where appropriate. For example, I read very little in the way of straight-up romance or erotica. But for a while I was reading a lot of YA contemporary fic with strong romantic themes/plots, so I decided to lump anything focusing on relationships into one category.

Which brings up a particular point — I did not separate books based on either intended audience or format. Adult books are mixed in with YA and kids’ books, and audiobooks and graphic novels are mixed in with regular print.

A lot of books, fiction and nonfiction alike, can land in more than one genre or can be hard to define. In these cases, I just went with my gut. If I was shelving this book in my home library (which is arranged by genre/topic), where would it go?

– – –

Here’s what my genre breakdown looks like for fiction:

reevreading_genre_fic

Um, it’s pretty obvious that I have kind of a thing for speculative fiction, huh? Particularly high fantasy. High fantasy is set in another world as opposed to including fantasty elements in our own, which is why I included portal fantasy in this group. But it makes a big difference that a lot of high fantasy is done in series — like the 15-book Wheel of Time series that I read 2011-2013.

And of course the second most common genre is “low” fantasy — paranormal, magical steampunk (as opposed to sci-fi style steampunk), contemporary fairy tales, etc. A lot of this group is due to my high-YA diet during my tenure as a teen librarian. I still read some YA, just not as much these days.

And here’s nonfiction:

reevreading_genre_nfic

I think my nonfiction genres are a tiny bit more balanced. Biography/memoirs take the cake, but a lot of those are actually subject-specific or themed in some way. I rarely sit down with a big ol’ tell-all bio, but the story of an expat’s years in France or a journal from whatever time period I’m currently interested in will always grab my attention.

I’m a bit ashamed to see that I only read 2 books of poetry in all of 5 years, when I’ve been meaning to read more poetry from quite some time now… clearly I need a more defined goal or challenge if that’s going to happen!

– – –

So, talk to me — do you keep track of which fiction genres / nonfiction subjects you’re reading about? Do you have a good idea of what genre(s) you consume most? And are pie charts the bee’s knees or what?

4 Responses to “Reevaluating My Reading: Genreflection”

  1. Charlene @ Bookish Whimsy

    It’s so cool to see your reading preferences broken down like this – so yes pie charts are the bee’s knees! 🙂 I haven’t really done this for myself, but I feel like I’m not too diverse with what I read, so it won’t be such an interesting chart. Speculative fiction would rank very highly for me too!

    • Louise

      I bet you could break it down by subgenre if you mostly read one “umbrella” genre. You know, if you have a hankering for making pie charts or something, haha.

  2. Jenna @ Falling Letters

    Your pie charts are lovely =) I don’t closely keep track of genre/subject (I just tag my blog reviews) but it’s something I’m curious about. I’d like to take on an evaluation like this, especially to see where I could better diversify my reading.

    • Louise

      Thank you! And even though it took a little bit of time, I feel like I learned a lot about my reading habits from making it visual like this.

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