2023 in books

Since November, I’ve been loosely tracking my Kindle reading based on three metrics: books purchased, read, and started. Partly, because I’ve wanted to see how my habits changing has influenced my reading.

This year’s goal, has been read a little something every day; for which reading insights currently gives me a street of 351 days in a row of reading since January, which isn’t too shabby on the 364th day of the year; I’ve missed one day since 2023-01-01 according the insights, thus the streak count.

Amazon’s reading insights view, shows me has having read 67 titles this year and my spreadsheet has 64. I’ll probably finish another book or two before January 1st. Last year when I started reading a little something every day, Amazon shows me as having read 44 titles in 2022, which is way up from a few years prior.

Here’s the summary from Reading Insights:

  • 2023 -> 67 titles read
  • 2022 -> 44 titles read
  • 2021 -> 7 titles read
  • 2020 -> 5 titles read
  • 2019 -> 10 titles read

As you can see, the change from reading whenever it crosses my mind to always read something, has made a significant impact upon my reading habits in terms of how many books I finish reading.

Part of what has fueled this has been another change in my habits. Classically, I was a sequential reader. I would read one book from start to finish before moving onto the next, and I still often do when it’s particularly enjoyable. But this year and last, I have tried having a small handful of books to switch between as I care. I might read a few chapters of one then another, or I might read one for a few nights and then switch to another book. I find that this has removed the bottleneck that sometimes, there will be a lull in reading because I don’t feel like reading that right now.

Amazon’s insights do not track books that I’ve started reading but never finished. My spreadsheet tries to, which gives me 15 books, one of which is likely to be finished by the end of the year. That goes to show that there are books, that sometimes fall off my multi-book reading habit and some that I just lose interest in. Looking at the list of started but not finished, a large portion are whatever volume I left off at in some long running serial.

Which brings me to the topic of what I’ve been reading, but I think that will be a subject for a separate journal entry, as this one is getting rather lengthly.

One more number for the statistics before I go: the number of books purchased. There’s two points of value there, one is how much I’ve spent on books, which frankly I refuse to do the math. Between Kindle Rewards Beta and my credit card’s rewards points, it would be a chore to compute and honestly I’ll leave it at my wild estimate, and say it’s likely the most I’ve spent on books since I ran out of bookshelves as a teenager :P.

The other point of value, i.e., my reason for recording this stat: is how many books did I buy, but never read? And how many books did I buy but never finish? That third metric is necessary to use the former two to answer those questions.

My spreadsheet shows me 106 books purchased, which is at least one out of date because I didn’t notice a pre-order landing two weeks ago. And I’ve kinda stopped noting pre-orders on the spread sheet, because the remaining ones are all due next year.

  • Books purchased: 106
  • Books read: 64 (spreadsheet), 67 (reading insights)
  • Books started: 15

From this I can tell that when I’ve bought a book this year, there was about a 60% to 65% chance that I went on to finish reading it. Not great, not terrible, unless you’ve ever seen my Netflix watchlist :P. Now combine the books started: there was a 75% to 78% chance that I started reading a book that I purchased instead of it getting lost in my library view.

Scanning at the list, something that makes it less concerning is the contents of that list. Yes, there are some books that I started reading and just lost interest in. But most of the started and didn’t finish? These are mostly volume ‘n’ of some long running serial, some epic that takes longer than a trilogy or two to read, and the occasional non-fiction that’s less a read it cover to cover and more a read chapters you care about.

But let’s save that for the next entry ^_^.