Friday, September 18, 2020

end of a century, oh, it's nothing special

Well, I promised you stats, and stats you shall have, specifically some comparisons of the components of my book-reading triple-century. The brief analysis of the first hundred books appears at the end of the review for the hundredth, Light On Snow, and the analysis of the second hundred has its own post here. I'll rehash some of the numbers from those here for comparison purposes so you don't feel obliged to flick back and forth comparing.

  • The third hundred took 2053 days to complete, compared to 1474 for the first and 1601 for the second - note that these are slightly different numbers from the original posts; I'm not sure what formula I was using there to do the calculations but I suspect it was wrong, albeit only slightly. In real money that's 5.6 years, compared with 4 and 4.4 for the first two.
  • On the other hand, the third hundred books were, on aggregate, the longest at 31,782 pages, compared with 28,361 and 30,761 for the first two. That still means the pages-per-day numbers were lower than for the first two at 15.5 - numbers for the first two were almost identical at 19.2 for both. That's largely a legacy of 2016 and 2017 both being very light in terms of book consumption, compared with other years anyway. For 2017 that can be partly explained by having a tiny baby who was either in hospital or at home being extremely difficult and time-consuming to feed, which certainly would have curtailed some of my reading opportunities. Since Huw only turned up at the tail-end of 2016 I'm not sure I can plausibly account for the figures for that year being so low, though.
  • Longest book for each hundred in chronological order: The Corrections at 653 pages, Infinite Jest at 1079 pages, A Man In Full at 742 pages.
  • Number of distinct authors for each hundred in chronological order: 93, 88, 92.
  • Number of authors who were new to me (generally, not just among books reviewed here) for each hundred in chronological order: 40, 36, 42.
  • Male/female split for each hundred in chronological order: 75:25, 72:28, 80:20. None of the selection is consciously by sex but it's interesting nonetheless that this is the most male hundred of the three (I noted a ten-month gap in this tweet - note that the book I was reading at the time was Imaginary Friends). Within the bounds of plausible random variation, though, I suppose, and it partly reflects my book-buying habits (from, in most cases, a few years back) as well as my current selecting-the-next-book-to-read habits, since I can only select from what's on the shelves.

Finally, an update to the multiple-blog-featurees table last displayed here. Note that the late Iain Banks (in his two incarnations) has now taken the lead on his own, with a few new authors slipping into the 3-book category.

Number of books Author(s)
8 Iain (M) Banks
6 Ian McEwan
Russell Hoban
5 TC Boyle
William Boyd
4 Lawrence Durrell
3 Cormac McCarthy
Stieg Larsson
Patricia Highsmith
William Gibson
Beryl Bainbridge
Jim Crace
Robertson Davies
Alison Lurie
Anita Shreve
Paul Theroux
Anne Tyler

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