I am horrible at keeping records of books that I have read. I know that many of you keep a journal of read books and their grades, but I have never been that motivated to do so. A couple of years ago I joined Goodreads.com. I haven’t done badly since I do have 667 books rated. However, I do go months without entering books so it is not very accurate. Also I haven’t figured out how to separate the books by publication date so my list doesn’t help in reference to the AAR Annual Poll. This year I am very hopeful, because I do have a permanent record of most of the books I read in 2011 thanks to my written reviews.
I started looking over my reviews in preparation of the poll and it brought home to me just how much I enjoy a certain subgenre. Forty percent of the books I reviewed this year were contemporary romance books and next is series books at 18%. Most of the series that I read were contemporary, and when you add in women’s fiction, and Chick Lit at least 67% of the books this year took place in a current time frame. So I wondered if other reviewers had a definite preference. Here’s how their reviews broke down:
Blythe 31% Historical, 25% Series
Dabney 64% Historical, 13% Romantic suspense/Suspense
Heather S 23% Paranormal, 19% Historical
Jacqueline 55% Paranormal, 45% historical
Jane 50% Historical, 23% Romantic suspense/suspense
Jean 38% Historical, 12% Fantasy
Leigh 40% Contemporary, 18% Series
LinnieGayl 43% Contemporary, 19% Series
Louise 20% Paranormal, Viking, Urban Fantasy, Historical & Medieval
Lynn 16 % Historical, 16% Paranormal
Maggie 28% Romantic Suspense/Suspense, 15% Paranormal, 15%Y.A.
Pat 31% Contemporary, 23% American Historical/Western
Rike 36% Historical, 18 % Series
Sandy 20% Historical, Series, Fantasy, Paranormal
Scarlett 33% Contemporary, 16% Chick Lit, Historical, Fantasy, Parnormal
Wendy 37% Paranormal, 31% Historical
In case you are wondering why the results don’t equal 100%, I only took the top two categories for folks unless there was a tie. From the numbers, you might think that many of us have a preference for certain subgenres of books, but you could also say that our selections are based on the books available for review during the year. After all, we can’t read what we don’t have. I wondered which of these notions was true so I did a quick survey of the reviewers. And here are some of their answers:
Blythe: I would say that the 31% historical is very accurate, but the series is much less accurate in reflecting my reading preferences. I virtually never read them for fun – only for review. When I’m choosing books, my top criterion is whether I’ve reviewed the author before or recently. So my reviews skew heavily toward new authors. Actually, seeing the stat has made me think that I’ll switch to more Harlequin Historicals and fewer series romances. Series romances are attractive to me as review books because I read them quickly. But then they virtually all get Cs.
Dabney: I would say I like historical romances first, then contemporaries, then romantic suspense.
Jean: I think much of my fantasy statistic comes from reviewing older books. Realistically, if I restricted the stats to new releases, number two on my list would probably be paranormals. But the 38% historical is definitely right. Possibly even a little low.
LinnieGayl: You’re right in that for me, the percents reflect in part, what’s available each month to review. My series romance percent would probably be higher if more were available each month. But the contemporary % probably captures my general romance reading. Most months I’ll pick one or two urban fantasies, paranormals, or romantic suspense just because they’re what’s available.
Louise: I don’t know that my stats are real accurate right now. 20% for each is probably about one of each. Still too early.
Lynn: Hmmm….I knew I was an eclectic reader, but I’m not sure I read so little of any one thing. The review books have been heavy on lighter Regency-set historicals and on authors I’ve already reviewed, so I’ve tended to read fewer historicals for review and some of those probably got counted under inspirational rather than historical. However, on my own time, I’d say my personal reading list is heavier on historicals, romantic suspense and series romance, though I do read plenty of paranormals, too.
Maggie: I’m not a numbers person either but when I do the math on mine it looks like that reflects 58% of my reading. I would say that is accurate as it stands. I read a lot of contemporary romance and inspirational though and that didn’t seem to be reflected in my stats. I tend to read pretty much anything though so I guess I might be hard to pin down.
Pat: The statistics looked about right to me. Since I get to pick what I review for AAR, the stats are definitely slanted to what I most enjoy.
Rike: My results are influenced quite a bit by what I buy myself. When I ask Blythe for books to review, I spread out over several subgenres and nearly always include contemporary, romantic suspense, paranormal and more recently steampunk. But I also review many books I’ve bought myself, and as my romance reading before I joined AAR consisted mostly of historicals, I own loads of them. More recently, however, I have become easily bored with the subgenre and I have gladly turned to such romances that seem more grounded to me, like some Harlequin Superromances and, with their grittiness,steampunk romances.
Sandy: I would say that I am primarily a historical, contemporary, and paranormal reader. I don’t know how fantasy got on my list (probably the Charlaine Harris), but I generally loathe it and would never seek it out.
Wendy: Sounds about right to me.
It was fun to see what everyone had been reading for review and to see how that matches with what we all read in our free time. One thing the results do show is that we all read different genres.
Am I unhappy with my results? No, not unhappy because I already knew that I preferred contemporary books. And when you get right down to it, 60% of my choices fell into different categories. However, I do think that this next year I will make more of an effort to read books in different genres, like Chick Lit, Women’s Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal and Science Fiction. In the 1990’s, I read a lot of historical romances and really burnt myself out on them. I sure don’t want to do that with contemporary romance.
Of course you don’t have to be a record keeper to know that you have a preference for a certain subgenre. Off the top of your head, which one do you read the most? If you have records, are you surprised at the results? Do you plan to change anything over this next year?
– Leigh Davis