2015: Reading Review and Metrics

This series has become tougher and tougher to write, as I amass more data every year and life gets more and more busy, which further delays the posting. Yes, I’m talking about shit that went down in 2015 in September of 2016. And, sadly, this is mostly just wankery for two reasons:

  1. I do this to satisfy my own curiosity.
  2. It doesn’t really spark much in the way of conversation, usually.

This year, I’m making use of TablePress so it should make for better reading of the actual list (and sorting by various data types, I think). Additionally, I’m using Google Web Fonts, some fancy-schmancy CSS3 stuff, and Google Charts to present elements that were previously boring flat graphics, so I’ve got more coding than I usually do…

Okay, so how’d it go?

Overview: Goals and Total Count


My plan was to read sixty books in 2015. I fell a bit short (85% of goal) — due to problems on the home front, a shortened daily commute (barely taking the bus), and a few other factors, which resulted in my reading habit becoming kind of a secondary concern.

This still averages out to about a book per week. I cannot complain about that. Especially in light of Pew research that indicates the average American read twelve books in 2015. The sad part is, only 73% of the population read a book in 2015, which means one in four Americans didn’t read a single book. Fucking hell. We’re a nation of idiots.

Makes falling short of my goal much more palatable, anyway.



This represents an 8000-page drop from 2015. Pretty big bummer. Anyway. This also works out to 45.4 pages per day, with an average book length of 324 pages. I managed to finish a book every 7.15 days, which isn’t bad, but not nearly as good as 2014 was.


Like 2014, one of my goals was to be more balanced in what I read. The goal since 2014 has been to keep Science Fiction to half (or less) of what I read in a given year. I was pretty successful again this year, so I’m pleased. This branching out has been a good thing.


In 2015, only a solitary book I read was a re-read, and that was Getting Started with Arduino, which inspired a lot of tinkering ideas…which were later abandoned. The goal was to not repeat myself in 2015, and I’d say I did a fairly good job of it. Whenever I looked at a book I’d already read, I looked back at the list of 2000+ unread ebooks on my iPad, blanched a little bit, and picked something new.


Lots of series reading in 2015, yo. Some of it, I was unaware of — the remarkably good Fluency, for example, turned out to be the first in a series — and others were much-waited for (Weber’s Hell’s Foundations Quiver). I’m not sure how I feel about the commitment to so many multi-part series. I need to think about that more.


Progress Graphing


So the first thing you’ll notice from the above graph is the pace at which I was reading books was fairly sporadic. I started the beginning of the year pretty strong, and things were okay. And then life took a hard right turn — things got more difficult at home due to family issues, and then we moved to Minneapolis proper, and my nice 40+ minutes each-way bus commute disappeared, leaving me driving or taking short hops to downtown by bus or by bicycle. Toward the end of the year, I felt a bit behind schedule and picked up the pace (as seen in the graph).


As it did in 2014, my 2015 average pages per day slid from a strong start to a more-or-less consistent average. This is normal. I was just way behind 2014.


And this last is just a Venn intersection between the two charts above.



So yeah, you can see a bit of how I fell behind in 2015. I was going to add “total pages” to this chart, but ultimately it wasn’t really working out. It skewed all the other data smaller, and when I made the scale logarithmic it made it look like 2014 and 2015 were largely the same.

Looking forward to doing this again with 2016 data, though. That’ll be cool.

The Full List of What I Read in 2015

[table id=16 /]


Only genres in which I read four or more books are eligible for an award.

Bio/Memoir: Zombie Spaceship Wasteland by Patton Oswalt. I really enjoyed this book, and felt that it was a great account of growing up geeky.

General Fiction: Fobbit by David Abrams. Encapsulates the ridiculousness of war and military life in a way that’s funny without being annoying as shit like Catch-22 was.

Science: Packing for Mars by Mary Roach. Funny and thought-provoking, Roach became one of my favorite authors.

Science Fiction: The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North. This was one of my hardest selections as I read some great science fiction this year — six books received a 5-star rating.


It was a bad year for volume, but a good year for quality. I’m okay with how 2015 turned out.

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