Reading trends 2006-2017
My relationship toward books and reading has changed and evolved over the years, as I imagine anyone's does. There were years at a time where I thrived on intense non-fiction to provide a contrast to being up to my elbows in taking care of my small children. Then while I was doing my MA, I turned to lighter fiction to offset the heavy academic texts I had to read for class. In August 2016, I suddenly felt like I didn't want to read at all; as a life-long voracious reader, this was a terrifying period to me (and I don't feel that my relationship to reading has returned to normal yet).
I have kept very good records of my reading since 2006, and very good, very detailed records since 2011. For a few years now, I have wanted to put all those stats together and get a big-picture view of my reading habits. I had this sense that my YA consumption habits had dramatically changed, that my overall fiction percentage was on the move, that my absolute number of books read had fallen off steeply.
Well, I plugged in the numbers and...I can't distinguish any of those intuited conclusions in the data! There are no patterns, no real trends, no drop-offs, aside from a moderately sudden decline in the total number of books read between 2015 (70) to 2016 (48). But even that number is not unprecedented: back in 2006, I read only slightly more than in 2016, with 56 books completed.
There is one material change in my preferred (or necessitated by the circumstances, as I maintain that it is) mode of book consumption: when I got a Kindle in 2012 and books in English were suddenly so much more accessible to me, even from a foreign country, I obviously started reading more books on Kindle.
But the overall lack of dramatic changes in the data brings me back to my original thought: my relationship toward books and reading has changed and evolved over the years, even if my actual habits have not! I seem to be reading more or less the same kinds of books, in the same amounts. I just perceive it differently, or identify certain streaks of certain kinds of books with certain periods in my life, and the less prominent streaks or kinds of periods fade into the background, out of memory. But here they are, brought back to life in the data!