Best books I read this year (with unnecessary graphs)


Image by Magic Madzik/Flickr

This is a long one so you might want to get a glass of wine before you start…

Some books you could read

The books I enjoyed most this year (not necessarily the best books I read, but the ones that meant the most to me) were:

(Click to read my reviews.) The Argonauts and N are both incredible, incredible books and I am indebted to James Tierney and Lisa Hill respectively for recommending them. Now you should read them too.

There were some great Australian debuts this year. Emerging Australian authors are very good and you would, in fact, be doing yourself a favour if you checked out:

Some books I read, with graphs

Look, I know a lot of people (particularly writers) hate Goodreads, but I love it. How handy is it to have a record of everything you’ve read and what you thought of it? Very handy. And now you get to reap the rewards, in the form of unnecessary graphs.

All these stats are for 1 Jan til 5 Dec 2015. Some of the numbers don’t add up because I’m not super-methodical at tagging stuff, and I read some collections with multiple authors.

books read


books nationality


books gender


books stars

This year I got a bit queasy about giving books star ratings. Some books have so many reviews there didn’t seem much point agonising over 3 v 4 stars, and some are by people I know and giving them a rating just seemed too odd. But overall, I read a lot of pretty good books.

books source


books reason

This is a new field in ‘books unnecessarily graphed’. In my never-ending quest to hit on the formula for finding my perfect book first time, every time, I tried to keep track of why I chose the books I chose. I discovered almost nothing. I hoped I’d find that my favourite books were all by people I knew, or were exactly the books hyped in all the blogs and papers. But my favourite books were totally random. So much for that idea.


Some books I wrote

In case you missed it, I’ve had three books published this year. I know you’ve already read them, of course, but perhaps someone you know and love would like a copy too?

  • The Handbook – has some awesome DIY tips, great for people who hate stuff and think Christmas is stupid.
  • Formaldehyde – perfect for your weird niece or nephew, or someone you got in Kris Kringle (it’s cheap).
  • Best Australian Comedy Writing – includes funny writing by people who are famous and not me; ideal for people you don’t really know but who seem like they like funny things.




15 thoughts on “Best books I read this year (with unnecessary graphs)

    1. This year I got frustrated because Goodreads wouldn’t let me search for two variables at once – say, ‘known author’ and ‘five stars’. I may have to start using an actual database. Or relax a little.

      1. No, keep going, maths is fun too, you don’t want your brain too one-sided. In passing, of all the books you listed I’ve only read East of Eden, but Formaldahyde is on the coffee table and geology daughter has the handbook.

  1. Haha, Jane. I love graphs too. I keep a spreadsheet of all the books I read but don’t have too many categories on it. I list all the books I own on LibraryThing because you can export the data as a spreadsheet (Perhaps you can on GoodReads now, but you couldn’t when I first started in 2007). I’m not very active on GoodReads so my listings there are very serendipitous.

    Like Bill, I have Formaldehyde on my pile, and I must get to Jenny Ackland’s book, The secret son.

    Of the books you loved, I’ve read and enjoyed East of Eden, and A fine balance (which is one of my all time favourites). I talked my reading group into reading H is for Hawk next year. So looking forward to that.

    I will be doing my list in early January!

  2. Now that I have seen your graphs I’m feeling regretful that I didn’t bother to crunch the numbers. But one of the reasons was I got really lazy on Goodreads, partly because I started to feel u comfortable about giving books star ratings, especially, as you say, when they are written by people I know.

    I’m so impressed by what a large percentage of the books you read were Australian. No matter how much I try, the books I love best are rarely Australian. Except Eye of the Sheep, that was bloody marvellous. I also really liked Mireille Juchau’s The World Without Us.

    I always feel a bit sad when I see how few of the books I have read were genuinely amazing. I always find most of the books I read are three stars, which feels not quite worth the trouble. The older I get the more I feel like I don’t have any time to spend reading books which might be enjoyable at the time but are ultimately forgettable. I think i’d rather re-read something I know is wonderful. Like East of Eden for example!

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