2011 Reading

10 02 2012

I’ve been writing an end-of -the year synopsis on my perusal of books  for the past couple of years (i.e. ever since I started this blog) but this time I missed on it and haven’t posted anything about my 2011 reading. It’s not because I forgot about it or just been busy or lazy. In fact, I wanted to do something different for 2011 and I unwittingly set an ambitious task for myself. Inspired by the statistics course and visualization workshop I attended during the last semester,  I wanted to present the statistics of my reading in the form of attractive visuals. While the first part is fine, it’s the latter one which posed a challenge to me. Being untrained in visualization techniques and having made no significant efforts to acquire the required skills, the exercise took on a “delayed indefinitely” status. Finally today, I decided to present whatever crude things I came up with in my initial attempts this time and save the lofty goal for the next year. So beware of what’s coming next. 🙂

Here are a few graphs, which are (I suppose) self-explanatory:

I read 75 books in total, of which most of them are fiction(69). As you can see, I read very few non-fiction in 2011 and all of them are Indian and in English. It’s interesting to note that though I read the print material most of the time, reading in the electronic mode isn’t too insignificant. I attribute this to my dear Sony Reader. Another observation is that I own most of the books I read in 2011 and given the fact that I’m not an active member of any library currently, it’s  surprising to see that I’ve managed borrowed a considerable number of books. Given the space constraint in my house, I should actually do this more. Though my selection in 2011 largely favored Indian literature, I indulged myself in a variety of  writings from different nations. I’m usually so careful and systematic about picking my reads that there will be little chance for disappointment or frustration and this is evident from the ‘rating” chart. You can see that most of them were rated 3-5.

I prepared an excel sheet with various attributes like title, category. Author, language, country of origin, ownership status, mode (print/electronic), type (novel, short stories etc), translation, rating and remarks. Couldn’t come up with anymore interesting things. I created these graphs from Tableau Public. Being a free offering, it didn’t provide much flexibility and I couldn’t figure out how to show the percentages in the pie chart. I could have produced better analysis and presentation, but as I confessed earlier, I didn’t really give it my best shot.

Wait, there’s more to come, but not this time. I have bigger and more colorful plans for my reading data. 😉 I’ve been keeping track of the books I read for 5 years and this means I can do a time-series analysis to identify the trend(s). It would also be interesting to do some data mining (which I’m learning this semester) on it and explore for any hidden patterns (I know the data is not huge, but still, I can fantasize, can’t I?) and the ultimate objective would be to predict what I’ll be reading next. Wow, that would be really cool! Just thinking about it gives me a shiver of excitement. (You know me! I like being dramatic sometimes.)

Caught up in the enthusiasm for all the new thoughts that emerged in this context, I want to now introduce the tradition ( 😛 ) of announcing the best picks of the year. Here they are for 2011:

  • Best Short Stories – Telugu: Seela Veerraju Kathalu by Seela Veerraju
  • Best Novel – Telugu: Rachayitri by Ranganayakamma
  • Best Short Stories – English: Short cuts by Raymond Carver
  • Best Novel – English: Gone With the Wind by Margeret Mitchell
  • Best Non-fiction: Mother Pious Lady: Making Sense of Everyday India by Santosh Desai
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8 responses

10 02 2012
Cassie

I want to read that Raymond Carver book you mention. I should see if it’s at the library. Love your charts by the way!

10 02 2012
sireeshaavvari

Thanks! Do read the book. The stories are refreshingly simple and rivetingly intriguing..

16 02 2012
Nagamani Challa

My GOD !! entha oopikaa…chadavatam ee kadu..and u keep track of all these…hats off !!

23 02 2012
sireeshaavvari

Ha! Anything related to books engrosses me. I derive huge amount of pleasure in both choosing the books to read and also reminiscing about them.

5 03 2012
Tulasi Ram

yes, you are dramatic, not just sometimes….mostly in reading books 🙂
just kidding……i am surprised to see you keep tracking of books you read

6 03 2012
sireeshaavvari

Ha!! I take a lot pleasure out of it actually.

25 03 2012
bogglernotblogger

nice collection of books you have read last year. from the graph, I assume that you would not have read Blindness by Saramago. Give it a read if you can. It deserves one

29 03 2012
sireeshaavvari

Thanks. Yeah, I haven’t read “Blindness”. The books rings a bell but I’m not able to recollect anything about it. I’ll definitely take a look at it when time permits.

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