2019 Reading Stats

All right. It’s time. Now that December is over, it’s time to take a look at my 2019 reading stats. (For 2018 reading stats, check out this post.)

Ready for some numbers? Cool. Let’s do this.

I read a total of 81 books in 2019. That is a HUGE number of books for me. The most books I’ve read in one year prior to this was 76 books in 2015. On average, between 2008 and 2018, I read about 42 books per year. So, this year was nearly twice that. Wow.

Here’s how my 2019 reading stats break down:

  • New vs. backlist: 17% of the books I read (14 total) were books published in 2019 vs. 83% (67 books) published prior to 2019. I read fewer new releases this year than I did last year (2018 was 39% new releases).
  • Fiction vs. non-fiction: I read quite a bit more non-fiction this year than I usually do, but fiction still dominated with 80% (65 books) fiction books and 20% (16 books) non-fiction. Usually, it’s closer to 90% or more fiction.
  • Author genders: I have to make some assumptions for this stat because not all authors are clear about their pronouns. 75% (61 books) were written by female-identifying authors, 20% (16 books) were written by male-identifying authors, and 5% (4 books) had one of each. None were written by non-binary authors, as far as I can tell.
  • Book format: I listened to 12% of the books I read this year (10 total). Ebooks made up 54% of my reading (67 books), and print was 21% (17 books). So audiobooks continue to be a thing I enjoy, but less than I did in 2018¬† when 20% of my reading was audiobooks due to an eye issue that made listening my only option. Also, print is making a comeback for me! That’s a much higher percentage of print books than I read in 2018 (7%) or 2017 (17%).
  • Age category: This year I made a big move toward adult books. 73% of the books I read this year (59 total) were “adult” vs. 23% “young adult” (19 books) and 4% (3 books) were “children’s or middle grade.” In the previous two years the split between “adult” and “YA” was 57% and 39%.
  • Genre: The majority of what I read was sci-fi and fantasy (56%). However, the total of these two genres is actually down a bit from previous years. Romance came in at 16%, followed by self-help/business books at 11%. Next was contemporary or general fiction at 7%, then memoir/autobiography at 4%. The remaining 6% were a bunch of one-off books that ended up lumping into one category of “other.”
  • AOC: As with the gender stat, this one can sometimes be difficult to determine. As best as I can tell, 31% of the books I read (26 books total) were written by an author of color (aka one that does not identify as “white”). That’s down from 2018 (43%), and I’m not happy about that.
  • LGBTQA: Please note, I’m not always sure how an author identifies, and I don’t think that I need to be. That said, I think only 9% of the books I read (8 total) were written by an author who I knew identified as something other than “straight.” Again, I’m not thrilled with this stat. It needs improvement.

Okay, data geek-out is over. For now. You’ll see me reference some of these as metrics for my 2020 reading goals when I publish that post. But first, before we leave 2019 behind completely, I want to share my favorite books and my most disappointing books of 2019. Stay tuned for those posts, coming soon!

I’m curious, do you track your reading stats? If so, do you track these same types of metrics? What do you like to keep tabs on, and why? I’m always looking for ways I can improve my process, so I’d love to know your thoughts.

2018 Reading Stats

Now that December is over, it’s time to take a look at my 2018 reading stats. (For last year’s reading stats, check out this post.)

I read a total of 56 books in 2018. Or 59 books if you include the two books I wrote (and had to read over and over again during editing), plus the early draft of a book I read as a critique for an author friend. For the purposes of this post we’re going to stick with 56 books read. Whatever the “official count” is, it was more than the 50 book goal that I set for myself. Go me! ūüôā

Here’s how my 2018 reading stats break down:

  • New vs. backlist: 39% of the books I read (22 total) were books published in 2018 vs. 61% (34 books) published prior to 2018.
  • Fiction vs. non-fiction: This was another big year for fiction (no surprise) with 93% (52 books) fiction books read and only 7% (4 books) non-fiction.
  • Author genders: This one is a bit complicated because some books I read had multiple authors, but 93% of the books I read had at least one female-identifying author. I only read 4 books where the only author was a male-identifying author. I feel like usually this is a more balanced split, but this year I just didn’t find very many books written by men that I wanted to read. Go figure.
  • Book format: This was a much bigger than usual year for audio because I had an eye issue earlier in the year that made it frustrating to try to read. So, I listened to 20% of the books I read this year (11 total). Ebooks made up 73% of my reading (41 books), and print was only 7% (4 books).
  • Age category: The really interesting thing here is that this year’s split is identical to last year’s split. Weird, right? 57% of the books I read this year (32 total) were “adult” vs. 39% “young adult” (22 books) and 4% (2 books) “middle grade.”
  • Genre:¬†The majority of what I read was fantasy (41%) and sci-fi (20%). The total of these two genres is actually up a bit from last year, but there are still a good number of “realistic” books in there (18% of the total, and this includes historical and contemporary as well as those four non-fiction books I read) as well as some straight up romance books (14% of the total), and mysteries (7%). With so many genres represented, this is probably a good time to throw in a pie chart. So, here you go:

  • AOC: 43% of the books I read (24 books total) were written by an “author of color” (aka one that does not identify as “white”). I am very proud of this stat. That’s the closest to 50% that I’ve been since I started keeping track of this stuff, and I didn’t even do it on purpose this year. It just happened. I love that!
  • LGBTQA: This stat, on the other hand, was less great. I’m not doing a fantastic job of including queer representation in my reading. Please note, I’m not always sure how an author identifies, and I don’t think that I need to be. That said, I think only 13% of the books I read (7 total) were written by an author who I knew identified as something other than “straight.” This is another reason why I’m excited about the 2019 Read Harder Challenge. Several of the tasks are LQBTQA related, and I’m hoping that helps me “Read Harder” in this personal blind-spot.

Ebook buying in 2018:

Of the 56 books I read in 2018, 57% (32 total) were borrowed from the library. That might seem like a good thing, and it would be a good thing, if I’d actually managed to not purchase any books in 2018, or if I’d at least purchased fewer books than what I’d read off my backlog of purchased books.

But, alas, ebook sales are kryptonite for me, and there were a lot of 2018 new releases by authors I love. The end result was that I bought 37 books on Kindle in 2018. That’s down from pervious years (see chart below). And, I also managed to keep my cost per book down, despite those new release pre-orders.

I don’t mind spending money on books. It’s pretty much the only money I spend on entertainment. The problem is, I feel like if I’m buying them, I should read them.

In 2018, I only read 20 of the books that I’d purchased for Kindle. 10 were books I’d purchased in previous years. The other 10 were ones I’d purchased in 2018. But, remember, I purchased 37 books in 2018. So, that means I didn’t read everything I bought, and the additional purchases negated the small dent I’d managed to make in the backlog of books bought in previous years.

Keep in mind, we’re just talking about ebooks here. I also have unread print books that were given to me as gifts or ones that I’d purchased as part of a subscription box. Since I’m less inclined to run out and buy a print book that I’m not going to read right away (see comment about ebook sales, above), I don’t really track unread print books. I use my bookshelf as a visual reminder of those. The Kindle books, on the other hand, just seem to disappear onto my Kindle until I remember I bought them, or check my list.

This is why one of my reading goals for 2019 is to read more books than I buy. I’m starting 2019 with at least 124 unread books on my Kindle.¬†I say “at least” because there are books on there that I received for free and ones that I might have missed from before I started keeping track and ones that I bought for my husband back when we were sharing a Kindle account. It’s complicated. For example, my “tbr-Kindle” shelf on Goodreads says that I have 148 books unread. That’s probably more like the actual number. But, for the purposes of this exercise, I’m going to go with 124 books because that’s what’s on the list in my book buying spreadsheet.

As I mentioned in my 2019 reading goals post, the rule this year is that for every book that I buy, at least one book has to be read so that I end the year with no more than 124 books on that list. Now, ideally I’d read at least two books for every one book that I buy (one being the book I bought, plus another book from the backlog). But, this year I’ll be satisfied as long as that number stays flat. To keep myself honest, in my monthly reading recap posts this year, I’m planning to do an accounting of books added (inbox) vs. books finished (outbox). We’ll see how it goes.

If you stuck with this post all the way to the end then you must be a kindred spirit who loves to geek out on data! Or you’re my mom. Either way, hi, friend! Thanks for reading and appreciating the annual combination of my love of reading with my love of spreadsheets and data.

If somehow you got this far and are not already tracking your own reading but think you might want to start, I highly recommend using a spreadsheet like the one provided in this post on Book Riot. It’s pretty thorough, and they set up all the formulas and charts for you. So, if you don’t love spreadsheets and formulas as much as I do, you don’t have to worry about that part.

Okay, data geek-out is over. Time to get back to working on writing and editing my books! Happy reading!

December reading summary and 2017 reading wrap-up

First day of the New Year and time to wrap up what I read in December and see how I did on my 2017 reading goals…

First, here’s what I read in December¬†(links go to Goodreads):

  • Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher (audiobook, library) — I enjoyed this. There are so many things I didn’t know about Carrie Fisher. I loved the stories and her dry sense of humor. And I especially love that she narrated the audiobook.
  • The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown (Kindle) — I bought this on Kindle on 7/1/2014. It’s taken me 3.5 years to finally get around to reading it. If not for the “Read a book about sports” task in this year’s Read Harder Challenge, it might have remained unread on my Kindle for who knows how much longer. That would have been a shame. As I expected, it reminded me of my 4 yrs as coxswain for Purdue Crew and brought back so many great memories. It’s fascinating to see that not much has changed from the 1930s to the 2000s in the sport of rowing.
  • Jane, Unlimited by Kirstin Cashore (Hardcover) — It took me a while to get into this book. There were so many aspects that I loved (the house, the characters, the sea stuff, the umbrellas, the spies and the art…). But, I started this over the Thanksgiving holiday, got about a quarter of the way into it, put it down, and didn’t feel an overwhelming urge to get back to it. I think maybe just didn’t give myself enough time to get immersed in the story, because when I finally picked it up again (on the second to last day of the year), I finished it in nearly one sitting. It’s clever and also cute. If you read Kirstin Cashore’s blog, you can see so much of her personality (or at least her blog personality) in this book, which is charming.
  • 1984 by George Orwell (Kindle, library) — I read this for the “Read a book published between 1900 and 1950” Read Harder task. This book was published in 1949. So, it just makes the cut off. Plus, since people keep talking about it, and I never had to read it in school, I wanted to read it anyway. Unfortunately, I can’t say that I loved it. It pretty much falls into that genre of “polemics in the form of a novel” like The Circle which, as we’ve already established, are not my jam. The entire first quarter of the book is basically a world-building dump. Plus, at about two thirds of the way in, the main character reads two chapters from “the book” that are included verbatim in the story, serving up another hefty world-building info dump. This would NEVER fly in modern fiction. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the world. I just was expecting there to be more of a story set in the world, rather than a massive info-dump of world-building with a tiny bit of story.

In-progress (unfinished):

  • Information Doesn’t Want to be Free by Cory Doctorow (Hardcover) — I’m reading this aloud with my husband. So, even though it’s a short book, it’s going very slowly.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas (audiobook, library) — This¬†audio book is nearly 50 hours long. I’ve manage to listen to about 10 hours, but I’m nowhere close to being done. I’ll have a chunk of commuting time in January where I think I’ll be able to finish it. But, it’s going to have to wait until then.

I really hate leaving books unfinished at the end of the year. I always try to finish everything in-progress before midnight on New Year’s Eve. Plus, I was reading both of these for Read Harder Challenge tasks. So, not finishing them means that I don’t get to check off those tasks either. Double bummer.

So, for the purposes of my end-of-year stats below, I’ve included the hours of audiobook I’ve listened to so far. (I’ll include the remaining hours in my 2018 stats, assuming I finish it next year.) And I’ve given myself partial credit in the total books read.

Here are my overall reading stats for the year:

  • Number of books/comics read (total): 53
  • Number of pages read: 17,840 pages
  • Hours listened: 3 hrs
  • Books published in 2017: 19
  • Published before 2017: 34
  • Read Harder Challenge tasks completed: 20 of 24 (83%)
  • Format: 45 digital, 7 print, 1¬†audio
  • Owned vs. borrowed: 19 of 53 borrowed from the library
  • Fiction vs. Non-Fiction: 46¬†fiction and 7 non-fiction
  • Genre: 58% sci-fi and fantasy, 25% realistic, 8% romance, 4% comics, 5% other
  • Age category: 57% adult, 40% YA, and 4% MG
  • POC authors/artists: 36% (19 books)

Not bad. I finished slightly better than my goal (50 books), but didn’t quite complete my Read Harder Challenge. As usual, fiction and ebooks dominate my reading life. But, there are a few surprises to be found in the stats. I’ll have to go back and check previous years’ stats, but I think I read a lot more adult books this year than I’ve been reading in the past few years. I was also a little (pleasantly) surprised to see that I made excellent use of the library this year. Over a third of my books read came from the library! And, over a third of my books read were written by POC authors! It’s not a full 50% yet, but it’s heading in the right direction.

And that wraps up another year in reading! Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year, and hoping that your reading in 2018 takes you on delightful adventures!

Some mid-year book stats and favorite books read (so far) in 2017

So far this year I’ve read 31 books. Technically, I haven’t finished that 31st book, yet, but I’m anticipating that I’ll finish it by the end of the month, so I’m counting it here. Even if I didn’t count it, I can still safely say that I’m comfortably past the halfway mark to my goal of reading at least 50 books/year.

I’d given myself a few fun challenges at the start of the year. For one, I wanted to actually complete the Read Harder Challenge this year (2017). I’ve participated the last few years (every year they’ve had one), but I’ve never actually finished all 24 tasks before the end of the year. I think the closest I came was in the first year (2015) when I completed 21 of 24 tasks. This year, I’m on track but a bit behind schedule. So far I’ve completed 10 of 24 tasks, which is exactly how many I completed in all of last year (2016). I think I’m going to be able to catch up and complete all the tasks, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a nail biter, up to the last minute, sort of affair.

I also wanted to “bust my backlist” of Kindle ebooks. I have over 100 unread books on my Kindle. Some were free, others I got deeply discounted, and a handful (my “hotlist”) were purchased full price but I still haven’t read them. I put myself on a backlist book buying ban this year, meaning no buying new books unless they are new releases and I intended to read them right away. For any other books, I needed to leverage my library’s extensive ebook collection. This has definitely cut back on my book purchases, but I’ve leveraged my library a bit more that I’d initially anticipated. So, I’ve only managed to read 10 books off my backlist so far. Not bad, but not great considering that’s less than a third of the total books I’ve read so far this year.

Since I’m starting a new BuJo in July, I made this cool spread to keep track of my reading challenges:

The top section is for tracking my Read Harder Challenge tasks and the bottom section is for checking off books on my “hotlist” because those are the most guilt-inducing of my backlist of purchased books. My goal is to read at least 8 before the end of the year. As you can see, so far I’ve read 3.

If I haven’t put much of a dent in my hotlist (or backlist, for that matter), what have I been reading? Well, I’ve definitely been reading a LOT of new releases. 13 of the 31 books I’ve read were published in 2017. The rest were either books I borrowed from the library, comics, or writing craft books.

In general, my reading has been pretty evenly spread between YA (58%) and adult books (42%). As usual it’s been pretty heavily weighted toward fiction (90%) vs. non-fiction (10%). The genre split shows that almost half of what I’ve read so far have been fantasy novels (unsurprising). But the full breakdown is:

  • 45% fantasy (14 books)
  • 19% realistic (6 books, 3 fiction and 3 non-fiction)
  • 16% sci-fi (5 books)
  • 6% comics (2 trade volumes)
  • 6% writing craft (2 books)
  • 3% romance (1 book)
  • 3% health (1 book)

Out of the 31 books I’ve read so far, these have been my favorites:

Oddly enough, all but one are new releases. More surprising (to me, at least) is that 3 of these 6 (HALF!) are contemporary YA books, not sci-fi or fantasy! I guess this has been a good year for contemporary YA…or, more likely, I’m just finally finding ones that I like to read.

If forced to stack rank them, I’d put them in this order (links go to Goodreads):

  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas — contemporary YA fiction with one of the best narrative voices I’ve read
  2. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor — YA fantasy with a strong “gods or monsters” theme
  3. The Obelisk Gate by N. K. Jemisin — strong second/middle book in an excellent and unique adult sci-fi/fantasy series
  4. The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi — adult space opera done exactly the way I like it
  5. Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy — contemporary YA fiction with characters that leap off the page and into your heart
  6. When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon — possibly the cutest contemporary YA romance I’ve read in… well, ever

We’ll see how they stick with me and hold up against whatever books I read in the rest of this year, but I definitely think at least a few of these will make my “top 5” end of year list.

How are you doing on your reading goals for this year? What have been your favorite reads so far? Anything I should definitely add to my TBR?

Year in Review: 2016 Goals Recap

I¬†didn’t accomplish all my goals this year. But, in Googley thinking (external¬†perspective¬†on what I mean by that here), that’s actually a good thing. It means I’m pushing myself. I feel pretty good about everything I accomplished this year. Not great. But pretty good. This sort of felt like one of those years where you work your butt off and don’t really see very much progress, but it’s all really important work that will pay off later. At least, that’s how I hope this turns out…

These were my 2016 (non-work-related) goals:

  • Swimming¬†<– Total¬†Score: 67%
    • swim¬†at least 215 days out of the year (compared to 207 days in 2015)¬†<–¬†Score:¬†86%… I only swam 184 days out of the year
    • swim at least 400 miles (660k yards) total (compared to ~386 miles in 2015) <–Score: 94%… I ended the year with 374 miles total
    • drop time in my top five events, ideally trying for the following SCY goal times: <– Score: 20%… ¬†I didn’t really race SCY this year, but I did race LCM Nationals and placed 9th in the Nation in 200m breast
      • 2:47.59 in 200 breast (current best = 2:51.65)
      • 1:17.89 in 100 breast (current best = 1:18.62)
      • 36.9 in 50 breast (current best = 37.75)
      • 2:55.36 in 200 fly (current best = 3:03.87)
      • 5:43.8 in 400 IM (current best = 5:59.11)
  • Writing¬†<– Total¬†Score: 83%
    • Finish¬†my 2013 and 2014 NaNoWriMo drafts (both currently just over 50k words and about 60% done) <– Score: 50%…¬†I should have revised this because plans changed when I got in to P2P and spent the first 4 months of this year working on¬†“TLE”¬†instead
    • Polish my 2015 NaNoWriMo first draft¬†<– Score: 100%
    • Participate in NaNoWriMo 2016 as Marin County Municipal Liaison and write 50k new words in Nov¬†<– Score: 100%
  • Reading¬†<– Total¬†Score: 70%
    • 50 books total (~1 per week)¬†<– Score: 100%
    • Keep track of how many books I’m reading against the 2016 “Read Harder” challenge list¬†<– Score: 100%… note how this does not say I needed to finish the challenge… ūüôā
    • Read mostly books I already own and try to get my ¬†to-read shelf (books I own but haven’t read yet) on Goodreads to less than 60 books (this list currently contains more¬†than 100 books… ) <–Score: 0… Massive fail. I added at least as many books as I read this year…¬†
    • Write¬†at least one blog post per week about what I’m reading and why (with photos) <– Score: 80%… I posted nearly 60 posts this year, which is more than one per week, on average. Not all of them were about what I was reading, but¬†the vast majority of them were, and I did at least do a¬†monthly review post through September.

Overall Score = 73%

I’m still working on goals for 2017.¬†I am trying to¬†make sure that I’m making them flexible, but specific enough that they¬†keep me focused on what’s most important. For example, it’s unlikely you’ll see another “swim 400 miles” or specific goal times for races in 2017. I already know that competing isn’t going to be my priority next year, and not just because I’m now at the top of my¬†age bracket. But more on that in a future post… For now, I’m just going to celebrate all I managed to accomplish this year, on top of working a pretty intense and demanding job with a ridiculous commute.

Year in Review: Reading stats on genre and format

I just finished¬†my analysis of what I read this year (yay! more book-related data!), and I thought I’d share some fun facts about my reading habits this year…

Total “books” read: 53 <–¬†projected total… I still have a couple I plan to finish before tomorrow night…

Total Fiction vs. Non-Fiction: 77% fiction (41 books) and 23% non-fiction (12 books)

Total YA vs. Adult: 19% YA (10 books) and 81% adult (43¬†books) <– bet you didn’t anticipate that, huh? I certainly didn’t.

Total books read by diverse authors (non-white and/or non-American): 12 (23%)

Total books from library: 14 (26%)

Total books by format:

  • Kindle: 66% (35 books)
  • Audiobook: 13% (7 books)
  • Paperback: 13% (7 books)
  • Hardcover: 8% (4 books)

Of the 41 fiction books I read, here’s how they broke down by genre:

  • Sci-fi and fantasy: 25% (13 books)
  • Romance: 17% (9 books)
  • Comic trade volumes: 13% (7 books)
  • Novellas and other short fiction: 13% (7 books)
  • Literary fiction: 8% (4 books)
  • Mystery: 2% (1 book, which I nearly¬†could have almost classified as romance…)

Beside the fact that I read a lot more “adult” books than “YA” books, which was the first stat to jump out at me, it seemed like my percentage of¬†short fiction and comics was higher than in¬†years past. These data points¬†seemed unusual, so I went back and checked last year’s stats. Turns out, last year I read 75 books total and 26% of those were YA (vs. 19% this year). So, this year was definitely a lighter YA year for me, but my percentage of short fiction and comics was about the same (24% vs. this year’s 26%).

Overall, I’m pleased with the diversity of what I’m reading. I have a pretty wide range of taste in books, and it’s nice to see that verified by¬†the numbers.

Does anyone else track stats like this for what they’re reading? Is there anything else I should add? A different slice you’d like to know? Just let me know in the comments (or on Twitter).

Year in Review: Book buying stats for 2016

I keep track of the ebooks I purchase in a spreadsheet, because of course I do. My spreadsheet doesn’t account for¬†ebooks I receive as gifts, only ones that I purchase for myself. However, just to make things slightly more confusing, the books I buy for myself are usually purchased with gift cards. Technically that makes them gifts. So, I really don’t have any idea why I even bother with this exercise except that at some point I realized that I buy a lot of ebooks and wanted to know how much money I was spending.

For the past three years, I’ve averaged about $235 spent on ebooks per year and purchased about 60 books on average. This puts my average cost per book at just under $4.

Actual stats:

BookBuyingStats_2014-2016

As you can see from the table above, my book buying has been steadily increasing over the past few years, but I am doing a decent job of keeping my average cost per book under $4. So, basically, my ebook buying habit roughly equates to just over one Starbucks cappuccino a week.

I feel pretty good about that. I mean, ebooks last a lot longer than a cappuccino, right?

The part about all this that makes me a little uncomfortable is another¬†metric¬†I keep track of… How many of these books that I’ve purchased have I read? And what’s the average cost of those books that remain unread?

The answer to that question is that I have 85 unread books of the 181 that I’ve purchased (~46% unread). That’s not terrible, but it’s not great either. I feel a bit better when I consider that¬†the average cost of those unread books is only $2.90. But, assuming I read about 50 books per year, that’s still nearly 2 years worth of reading without me buying any more books at all.

This is why I’m going to put a temporary hold on purchasing any more sale ebooks, unless it’s something I really want to read and can’t get on ebook from my¬†library. When I started buying ebooks, I don’t think you could even get books for Kindle from the library, or at least, if you could the options were very limited. These days, almost anything I’d want to read is available. The only catch is that I might have to wait a bit if it’s an extremely popular book, but that’s something I can plan around.

Next year (2017), my only reading goal is to put a dent in this backlog of ebooks and maybe also lower my average cost per unread book. There’s really nothing on that list that I don’t want to read. So, I should be able to find something on my tbr-Kindle shelf¬†to fit whatever reading mood I’m in. If not, there’s always the library.

So, what I want to know is, am I the only one buying this many ebooks? Does anyone else keep stats like this? I’m curious to see where I fall in the book buying continuum.

2015 recap: Goals

Every year I end up making some crazy personal goals for myself. Looking back on 2015’s goals, I’m a little surprised at how well I did. Taken all together, this is some pretty challenging stuff I signed myself up for this year, and I accomplished almost all of it.

  • Swimming
    • swim 20 days per month –>¬†partial¬†credit… averaged 17 days per month, but swam more days (and yards) in 2015 than I have since I¬†joined USMS in Dec 2012
    • get SCY times on the books for 400 IM and 1650 free –> done
    • qualify for SCY Nationals in the 3 breaststroke events plus 2 more (200 fly and 400 IM)¬†–> partial credit… qualified in the 3 breaststroke events and dropped time in my¬†200 fly and 400 IM, but I am still a few seconds off qualifying times in those two events
  • Writing
    • Finish at least one novel (‚ÄúEmpire‚ÄĚ) and be ready to query by end of 2015 –> partial credit… finished first draft, but not ready to query…¬†
    • Participate in NaNoWriMo as Marin County Municipal Liaison –> done
    • Plot NaNoWriMo novel in October and write complete first draft by end of 2015, at least 50k in November with goal to finish complete plot arc, but must continue and finish in December if not done yet. –> still working on this one…¬†
    • Pick the next incomplete novel to finish first draft of (‚ÄúFalling‚ÄĚ or ‚ÄúAugmented‚ÄĚ) and prep outline / notes in December so I‚Äôm ready to write in January¬†–> done
  • Reading
    • 50 books total (~1 per week) –> done
    • Read at least 12 ‚Äúdiverse‚ÄĚ books in 2015 (~1 per month) –>¬†almost… I finished 10
    • Write blurb book reviews for books read on Goodreads –> done
    • Continue weekly inbox/outbox post on the blog –> done
    • Participate in Book Riot‚Äôs ‚ÄúRead Harder‚ÄĚ challenge¬†–> done

In a way, I want to go a bit easier on myself next year. This year was pretty intense and I pushed myself pretty hard trying to get all this done. But, on the other hand, I’m pretty proud of my accomplishments.

By the Numbers: March 2014

This has been just hanging out in my drafts folder for a while, but I never posted it. I also never really finished writing it… At this point it’s almost time for my April “By the Numbers” post, so I think I’ll just let you have it as I found it….

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And just like that, 25% of the year is gone.

Books

Total read so far this year: 5
(target = 36 total in 2014)

I finished two books this month.

Writing

I¬†am pretty sure I did no writing this month. This has been a month full of distractions. I¬†need to find a way to get back to writing every day, but I already know that April is going to be just as crazy as March. So, I’m not going to make any promises about April.

I will make promises about May. May is where I draw the line. Spring swim season will be over and life¬†will (hopefully) have settled back to something nearing normal again. May is the half-year anniversary of NaNoWriMo, it’s also my birthday month, so it’s the perfect time to get back into the writing.

Of course, I could maybe try to get some words written in April… you know, a head start on May wouldn’t hurt….

Swimming

This month I swam:

  • Total through 3/31: 85.3 miles (42 swimming days)
  • 2014 goal: 400 miles (~21% of goal)

I didn’t swim as much this month as I should have and it showed in my performance at the Championship meet this past weekend. I’m grumpy about my performance in my breaststroke events. I did make some nice improvements in 200 IM and 200 fly, but I was way off personal best times in my main events and that was disappointing.

The cutoff¬†to register for Nationals¬†fell before the Championship races. So, I registered, and I’m glad I did. I really need that extra month of training so I can have one last shot at getting below 1:20 on my 100 breast and below 2:50 on my 200 breast.

One of the main reasons I didn’t practice as much this month was because I started coaching a high school team. Their season is almost over (it was almost over when I started), and it isn’t a very big team, but the swimmers are really nice and it’s fun to be coaching again.

 

By the Numbers: February 2014

Wait. What happened? February is over already? I mean, I know it’s a short month and everything, but the last 28 days went by way too fast!

Books

Total read so far this year: 3
(target = 36 total in 2014)

I didn’t finish ANY books this month. Zero. I started and abandoned several that I just couldn’t get into. I am currently trying to get into a new book. I bought a bunch of books that I thought I’d want to read. I had a really good recommendation for a non-fiction book. I just can’t get into my reading zone. I really want to curl up and spend an entire day reading. But this month has been so overflowing with “things to do” that I haven’t been able to sit down and read long enough for anything to grab me.

Reading, like swimming, settles me and calms me. And, with all the activity this month, whenever I’m not asleep or in the pool my brain churns and whirs out of control. I need a good book. I need a book that will grab me by the shoulders and force me into a chair and keep me turning pages, sucking me into the story. I also need about two solid hours with nothing to do and where I’m not about to fall asleep so I can give a book a chance.

Writing

I re-shelved “Empire” temporarily and dove back into “Falling” my 2013 NaNoWriMo story. This month I re-read most of it, revised the beginning bits, and started filling in the plot holes. Total word count is still pretty much the same, but I feel like I’m making progress.

I tried explaining this story to someone and it came out sounding all weird, prompting the response, “Interesting…” I think I’m going to have to stop trying to explain this story to people until I’m done. At this point it’s easier for me to explain what it’s not rather than what it is, and after you rule out most of what it’s not you are left wondering what’s left for it to be.

Still. Something about this story is grabbing me and holding my attention the way that none of the books I’ve started and abandoned this month could. Sometimes I think I go through phases. When I’m primed to be writing, everything I read frustrates me because it’s just not right. Then, when all I want to do is read, it’s almost impossible to get any writing done.

Swimming

This month I swam:

  • Total through 2/28: 55.5 miles (28 swimming days)
  • 2014 goal: 400 miles (~14% of goal)

This was a much better month for swimming. I only had one meet this month. I did pretty well and beat my seed times, but didn’t really swim any personal bests. I did swim a Nationals qualifying time in my 100 breaststroke. So, I can check that one off the list! Once again I just missed a qualifying time in the 50 breaststroke by a few tenths of a second.

I have two meets in March. I’m hoping to hit my qualifying time for the 50 in one and for the 200 in the other. If I can get any other qualifying times, that would be great (like maybe 200 IM…). But, mostly I’m just hoping to swim some personal bests in 50 and/or 100 free, and keep dropping time on my breaststroke events.

US Masters Swimming Nationals is near-by this year. So, as long as I qualify, I’ll probably compete. That gives me at least another two months to get to peak performance.

The preliminary listing for “Top Ten Times” in short course meters (fall season 2013) are posted. I ended up #7 in the nation in my age group for 200 breaststroke (out of 23 people who competed in that event during that season). Only 10 people in my age group competed in the 200 fly during the SCM season, so I ended up #6 in 200 fly. That’s two top ten times for my swimmer brag page on USMS! Go me!

Pop Culture of the Month

SHERLOCK!!! I finally got to watch season 2 of BBC’s Sherlock, and it was over way too soon. But so good! Can’t wait for season 3!

 

February was too short (as usual) and went by too fast, but at least it was better than January! Can’t wait to see what March brings…