Wednesday, December 30, 2020

the year of not living dangerously

Well, here we are at the end of another year, one which has, on balance, sucked ass most egregiously for an exceptionally large number of people. I would include myself and my immediate family among that number while at the same time acknowledging that by most objective criteria we've been exceptionally lucky: my job enables me to work from home very easily (I'd already been doing it a couple of days a week since Huw's arrival in late 2016), we've all been healthy and virus-free (apart from the inevitable round of coughs and sniffles every time the kids went back to school) and we've managed to retain whatever meagre wisps of sanity we were in possession of at the start of the year. 

During the heady days of summer between the first and second waves of the coronavirus pandemic we managed to get away for a couple of camping trips, one in Devon and one in Yorkshire, but apart from that we were largely confined to barracks. One of the side-effects of being away less often is that I got a lot more reading done - at least, I assume that's the cause of the numbers you'll see below, but as I have precious little explanation for some of the peaks and troughs in previous years it could just be random variation. 

Anyway, here are some graphs (as always, click to enlarge) which chart some blog and book statistics for this year and also 2019, since I don't seem to have blogged about it at the time. Similar posts can be found from early in 2019, 2018, 2016 (twice), 2013 and 2012. Since I'm not going to finish my current book before the end of tomorrow, and nor am I intending any further blog posts this year after posting this one, I can now declare the blog activity closed for 2020. Statistical nuggets here include:

  • 2019 was a poor year for reading activity with 17 books and an aggregate total of 5147 pages, better than 2016 and 2017 where my time would have been partly taken up with wrangling a premature baby, but ahead of only 2014 in "normal" years. 
  • 2020, by contrast, was a bumper year with 24 books read (more than any year since the all-time high of 2011) and a mammoth total of 9223 pages, exceeded only by 2011, the year of my honeymoon and also the last child-free year of my life. The only other years in which I've read 24 or more books were 2007, 2009 and 2010, but none of them could match 2020's page count.
  • As a consequence, 2020's average book length smashed all previous records at just over 384 pages (2015 with 333 was the previous record-holder). Six of 2020's 24 books were over 500 pages; even 2011 only included four, 2007 one and 2009 none. Longest book of the year was House Of Leaves at 709 pages (some of, them, admittedly, only containing a single word); shortest was Behind The Waterfall at 199. 
  • Overall blogging frequency remains low by historical standards, but 2020's total of 68 posts (this one being the 68th) is the highest since 2016's 77. The book-reviews-as-a-percentage-of-total-blog-posts number just avoids being the highest ever at 35.29% (2018's was very slightly higher).

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