Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Overview: January Reading

This year, I thought it might be fun and enlightening to crunch some numbers at the end of each month. It'll give me - and you - and overview of what I've been reading, and help keep me on track with the resolutions I made at the end of last year: to be better at reviewing diverse fiction I enjoy, and to read and review more Australian and New Zealand literature.

Reading Overview & Genre Breakdown

Books read: 20

Fiction Titles: 17

  • 15 romance (5 historicals, 10 contemporaries)
  • 1 Literary Fiction
  • 1 Short Story Collection

Non-fiction Titles: 3

  • 2 Gender Studies/Feminist Theory
  • 1 History

Setting Statistics

USA: 9



New Zealand:



Fictional setting: 2

Non-Fiction with a setting: 1 (New Zealand History)

Non-Fiction without a setting: 2 (both Gender Studies/Feminist Theory)

I'm interested in the statistics about setting because calssifying my reviews my setting a few months ago really drove home how much of the literature I read is set in the US. 

I just did a quick tally, and of the 234 books I read last year, about 106 were fiction with a US setting (and that's excluding books only partially set in the US, or set in an alternate universe US). I thought that the UK wouldn't be far behind, given how many historical romances I read, but it's pulling a distant second with roughly 33 books. Even though I I've spoken about my disillusion with my Beyond a Single Story Challenge, I still think it's important to be aware of US (and British, and English-language) cultural hegemony in literature, and the effects that it can have.

At this point, I'm not aiming to read less books set in the US this year. I just want to keep an eye on the statistics, rather than being hit with a fait accompli in December. As you can see, 9 out of 17 fiction books I read this month were set in the US; that's 53%. I've also listed the books with real-world non-US settings in case people are interested, and made notes of which ones I intend to review. Hopefully that make me feel accountable and those reviews will get past the draft stage!

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