As a former engineer, data and numbers speak to me. Being 20% of the way through my reading project, it seemed as good a time of ever to reflect on the journey thus far.
I had gotten this idea from Jenni at SprainedBrain who chronicles her book statistics often. She does a great job at it – you can see the statistics she looks at here! I didn’t base my statistics off of hers, so check out which data points she takes too! Thanks, Jenni!
Of my 12,327,956 word journey, I have read 2,041,953 words. A mere 16.5%. It’s mind blowing to think that I’ve read the two longest books on the list – Atlas Shrugged and Les Miserables – and I’ve still got so far to go!
Of those books, I wanted to look at a distribution of the word counts of each. Looking at this data surprised me, I definitely have a preference.
In my defense, the two books over 150,000 words were both over 500,000 words… but I digress. I have a problem. Maybe it’s because I know that shorter books are less of an investment and I can get them done faster. Either way, I’m hoping to read some longer books in these next 20.
Over the past 6 months, I’ve noticed that my opinions on certain books has changed. Having a little more perspective on my reading preferences, I feel like my ratings, particularly for the earlier books, were not so great. I thought I’d take a moment to adjust my ratings.
|Book||Old Rating||New Rating||Change|
|The Call of the Wild||8.5||8||-0.5|
|Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde||8||7.5||-0.5|
|The Arabian Nights||5.5||5.5||0|
|Murder on the Orient Express||9||9||0|
|A Clockwork Orange||3.5||3.5||0|
|The Time Machine||5.5||5.5||0|
|The Art of War||7||6.5||-0.5|
|All’s Well That Ends Well||5||4||-1|
|Alice in Wonderland||6||6||0|
|Charlie and the Chocolate Factory||7||6.5||-0.5|
|Journey to the Center of the Earth||5||5||0|
|Of Mice and Men||5||5||0|
The reason I find this so particularly helpful is because I really want to be able to put a larger spread to differentiate between books. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy a book with a rating under 5, it just means that I believe it’s not a groundbreaking book.
Taking this data and cute little Excel chart, I was able to split hairs to really figure out which books I feel are necessary to recommend to others.
Looking back, I have clear favorites. Allow me to share.
Atlas Shrugged: Okay, I’ll be outright here. You probably won’t agree with all of the thoughts and ideas Ayn Rand shares in this book. But it is going to challenge you to ask yourself why you disagree. On top of that, the story itself is really wonderful. I think this is a book everyone must read.
Les Misérables: Please, whatever you do. Read this book someday. It’s such a profound story with characters that will leave you so attached. If you’ve seen the musical or any other adaptation, you’re missing the essence of the story – the motivations, the desires, and the thoughts of these characters that are so real they follow you for days. (Besides, my favorite scene in the book is not included in the adaptations because it involves so much backstory).
My Least Favorites
My least favorites are far less clear. I wouldn’t say I really disliked any of these books. I mean, I finished them, right? But if I had to pick, these are the two that just didn’t do it for me:
A Clockwork Orange: I still feel the same way I did about this book when I finished it: I personally didn’t like it, but I can understand why someone would. The teenage angst on a forgettable character is a little off-putting to me. Plus, the book uses it’s own slang which makes it difficult to follow.
All’s Well That Ends Well: I think I was a little too nice with my original review. This story is forgettable to me. In fact, I had to read the plot that I wrote just to remember it. I completely understand why this is one of Shakespeare’s lesser-performed plays.
With that, the first chapter of my journey comes to a close. But there’s so, so much more ahead. Looking forward to my next reads – and sharing them all!