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Last week, I posted my regular “What I’ve been reading this month” post and was surprised to note that all the books were by female authors. I noted that this hadn’t happened before, and by flicking back through the series, I could see that the last time all the books were by one gender was in February 2019.

This made me wonder what other secrets were hiding in the archive of book reviews on this blog. I decided to make a spreadsheet of all the books I’ve ever reviewed on here, and the posts in which they first appeared.

This was a bigger task than I anticipated: it turns out that I’ve reviewed 561 books over a period of 17 and a half years.

My first review was of Dan Brown’s most famous novel, in January 2005. Since then, there have been 74 other posts reviewing single books (plus a few slightly edited repeats, which I didn’t count) and a total of 75 “what I’ve been reading this month” posts (plus a few ‘favourite books this year’ repeats, which I didn’t count).

The authors I’ve reviewed the most are Ian McEwan (7 books) and David Sedaris (7), followed by Ali Smith (6), Jon Ronson (6), Julian Barnes (6) and Kazuo Ishiguro (6).

Just over half—53%—of the books have been fiction.

Diversity hasn’t historically been a strong point for me: more than two-thirds of the books I’ve read are by men, with only 12% being non-fiction books written by female authors. Less than one-in-ten of the books were first published in a language other than English, with French (9 books) and Italian (9) the most common non-English original languages.

However, I’m getting better: over the last year, exactly half of the books I’ve read have been written by women, and nearly 20% of the books I’ve read have been translations from one of eight different languages. I’ve also been reading more fiction, which accounts for 68% of books I’ve read over the last year, but still less than 30% of the non-fiction I’ve read has been written by female authors.

I appreciate that this is mostly of interest to me, as the reader of the books and the writer of the reviews… but I’m compulsively sharing nonetheless.


The images in this post are all AI-generated images for the prompt “cubist painting of piles of books on balance scales in a library” created by OpenAI’s D-ALLE.

This post was filed under: Blogging, Reviews.

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