…and statistics

Did a few different analyses of my reading habits over the weekend (by genre and by gender), and found a lot of data went against my perceptions: although I think of myself as reading a ton of plays and poetry in the last couple of years, it’s a drop in the bucket next to the massive quantities of fiction and graphic novels I read. And despite thinking of myself as a genre nerd, my literary fiction collection is about the size of all my genre reading combined (SF, fantasy, and mystery).

I also discovered that if I go by books I keep rather than just books I read, I have way more male authors than female on my shelves: 95 men, 66 women, 4 books by male-female teams, not counting anthologies. And while I think of myself as reading authors from all backgrounds, my list of gay, transgender, and non-white authors is painfully short: 14 out of 165, or 8%.

The first two realizations are more funny than anything else: it’s interesting to realize my self-perceptions are so warped. And not sure there’s anything I can do about that third one: we like whom we like, and 58% to 40% isn’t such a terrible split.

That last one, though, really bothers me. It probably says more about the publishing industry as a whole (minority authors having a harder time getting published, books by minorities getting shunted to specialty sections rather than the regular fiction and nonfiction aisles), but it may also mean that when I see an author from a really different background, my instinct is that they’re not speaking to me. And that’s something I can only fix by trying new writers. So I’m adding a bunch to my Goodreads list, but if you have amazing writers you think I should add, please let me know.

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