Many of you booklovers may well be familiar with LibraryThing, one of many sites available for cataloguing books you’ve read or that are in your library — plus all the other interaction expected on social media sites. Most if not all have useful facilities for examining your bookish stats, and LT is no exception. I like to occasionally peruse these to see what patterns and trends, if any, seem to be emerging.
First off there are clouds for tags and authors. From mine you can see where my primary interests lie as regards writers: fantasy authors dominate. Mind you, these represent only the books I’ve actually got round to cataloguing, about 440-odd books — with about 324 reviewed — so they won’t be totally representative; but they are indicative. I am slowly getting round to more contemporary fiction, though genre of one kind or another will still be a favourite.
Secondly there are what LT term memes. LibraryThing offer a pie-chart indicating Female and Male authors. It’s clear that male-to-female proportions are roughly 2:1 for my books, though I have been trying to address that imbalance in recent months and years by upping the number of female authors read. There’s still a way to go to, at the very least, attain parity.
Another meme concerns whether I’ve been favouring either contemporary or deceased writers. Those I’ve read appear to be more Alive than Dead. I’ve definitely made a more determined effort to push ahead with classics (whatever that means; 20th-century books by many still-living authors seem to be acquiring this status, particularly if the writer concerned is somehow regarded as a National Treasure). Though whether this is a good thing or not I’m not entirely clear.
I come now to the writer’s country of birth, or adoption, or possibly merely residence, all subsumed under the heading Nationality. I see that UK authors dominate my reading to the tune of well over 50%, with US authors approaching 25%. Again, I’m trying to widen the spread of authors, but while the spirit is willing the flesh so far has proved weak. *Sigh* I have to keep telling myself what I’m potentially missing by sticking to Anglophone writers.
The principal lessons to draw from here, I think, is that I need to cast my net wider in terms of genre, gender, period and place of origin if I want to consider myself ‘well read’. Wish me luck!
Do you find your reading inclinations lead you to a narrower band of categories than that you would ideally aim for? Or are you happy with where you are now and where you are going?