Thursday, January 23, 2014


Sabermetrics: not just for baseball anymore...

Compiling a few totals for that Reading Report inspired me to finally update my BooksRead file. And I should say a quick thank you to goodreads because if their year end list could have been viewed by anyone I might have abandoned the file for good. But I'm so glad I didn't because you never know what you'll get when you mix this scientist with a spreadsheet/database. Perhaps a four year reading comparison expressed graphically??? How did you guess?

Random notes:

  • I wish I had not included mystery/thriller within 'fiction.'
  • I seem to jump all over my genre designations from year to year.
  • I very rarely read memoirs, poetry, short stories, or travel books.
  • If I had managed to finish the Janet Frame book of short stories I started last year I would have had 10 different genres in my reading list for every year (2013 had only 9).
  • I define 'historical fantasy' as fantasy stories set in recognizable locales and time points in history.
  • It's pretty clear that I think most books I read are average (or 3 stars).

Whilst updating, compiling, and bar graphing I decided to create a reading metric.
And that metric is Good over Bad or GoB. It reflects the ratio of above average to below average books I read in a year. So, the higher the GoB the fewer bad books I had to slog through to get to the really good ones.

Now, the interesting thing about this (yes, I did just type that with a straight face) is that if you had asked me before I started working on this to name the worst reading year I've had in the last four I would have emphatically answered 2013. Much to my surprise, GoB clearly shows that 2011 was my worst reading year in the last four. As I'm sure you can see from the data, GoB's weakness is that it doesn't take into account that a reader might feel it's worth it to slog through a lot of crap to experience more good books. 2012 shows just that situation. GoB-wise, it looks like the second weakest year, but it was the year I had the highest percentage of above average books as compared to total books read.

What's the lesson in all this?
(Besides don't leave sgwordy alone too long with a spreadsheet.)
If your year gets back loaded with crap books (as mine did in 2013) you just might think it's been a bad year for reading but, on the whole, you might have had more reading fun than you thought.


  1. Wow. Interesting metrics. Thanks for the update, Rachel.

  2. And thanks to you with going with the whole interesting line I had. ;-)