Just like I did with my 2015 Year in Books post, I wanted to share with all of my readers what I read in 2016. I’ve actually been thinking about this post for months and how best to do it. I thought I could list every book I read this year but realized that if you really cared that much, all you needed to do was look at this shelf on my Goodreads Profile. That way, if you don’t care enough I’ve saved you a lot of scrolling and I’ve saved myself a lot of linking.
Instead, I’m just going to list some of the basic statistics and highlight some of my favorite reads of the year. So without further dealy, I’ll give you a frightening glimpse at the kind of data I keep on my reading habits.
In 2016, I completed 119 different books and one of those I listened to twice making the total number of listens 120. Out of all of those books, 104 of them were ones that I was listening to for the first time meaning that I had listened to the rest in previous years.
I listened to approximately 74,229 minutes worth of audiobooks in 2016. This translates to 1237.2 hours or 51.5 days. This is a bit of a rough estimate to make but I estimate that I read roughly 44613 pages in 2016.
This next statistic needs a bit of explanation. I keep track of how much money I spend on each book. When I read that book I put that dollar amount into a column and it becomes my “dollars read” for the year. In 2016 I read $775.50 worth of books.
My best reading month in 2016 was May if you go by the number of books I read which was 20. However, if you go by minutes read the best month was June with 12,149 minutes or 202.5 hours or 8.4 days. My best month in terms of average rating per book on a 1-5 scale was October. I read 7 books that month with an average rating of 4.21 out of 5. This excludes September which I will talk about in the next paragraph.
September was by far the worst month I had for reading in terms of volume. I only read one book that was 867 minutes long or just under 14 and a half hours. However, it was also the only book I read all year to earn a 5 out of 5 on my scoring scale.
I averaged: 10 books read each month, 8.7 books read for the first time ever each month, 6185.8 minutes read each month, 3718 pages read each month and $64.63 worth of books read each month. It took me approximately 0.8 days to read each book in 2016 and my average rating per book for the entire year was a 3.86.
As far as adding books to my audio library this is what 2016 looked like. I added 345 new books to my audio library. These books span 241,455 minutes (4024.3 hours or 167.7 days) with approximately 133808 pages. This came at a cost of 1602.36 or approximately $4.64 per book.
This is the highest number of books I have added to my collection in a given year since I’ve been keeping track. Acquisitions in 2016 make up 32.6% of my total audiobook library. However, the cost per book of $4.64 is also the lowest average cost per book I have had since I started keeping track. The average cost per book is down from $5.18 in 2015 when I added 279 books to my library. This continues a trend of adding more books to my collection each year at a lower average cost. In 2013 I added 118 books at a cost of $7.17 for comparison.
Comparing 2016 to previous years
I will not compare each of the categories I mentioned above to previous years. I sense that anyone who really cares wants only to know about books read and minutes heard, so that is what is in this table.
Obviously, I did not read nearly as much in 2016 in both books and minutes as I did the previous year. There are a number of reasons why this is the case but it is mostly because I was pursuing other interests.
A quick note to clarify something about these next few categories. When I say “most read” or “most heard” I am going by the number of different books not by the volume of minutes. I’m sure I could figure out the results in minutes but lack the motivation to do so. Besides, I have a feeling it probably wouldn’t change all that much anyway.
The author I read the most in 2016 was David Baldacci with 16 books. This represents 13.3% of the books I read in 2016. The next closest was the 12 books I read by James Patterson. I read 71 different authors in 2016 and that was down from the 118 different authors I read in 2015. The decrease can be explained by the fact I read fewer books overall and read more books that were part of a series.
- 2016: David Baldacci (16 books)
- 2015: James Patterson (13 books)
- 2014: Dana Stabenow (4 books)
- 2013: Timothy Zahn (9 books)
This was a close race that wasn’t decided until the final day of the year. In the end, the 8 books narrated by January LaVoy was enough to win the day. It represents 6.7% of the books I listened to in 2016. The next closest narrator was Scott Brick with 7 books heard.
I should point out that in actuallity I heard 14 books read by more than one narrator and this represents 11.7% of all books I listened to in 2016. I listened to books narrated by 62 different solo narrators in 2016 as well as the 14 books narrated by more than one individual. This is down from the 95 different individual narrators I heard in 2015.
- 2016: January LaVoy (8 books)
- 2015: Marc Thompson (11 books)
- 2014: Marguerite Gavin (4 books)
- 2013: Marc Thompson (26 books)
Marc Thompson appears on this list twice and January LaVoy ended up first this year. The two of them have something in common which is that they both narrate Star Wars literature. On this list, only Marguerite Gavin is the outlier.
Hachette Audio was responsible for the most books I heard in 2016. I listened to 32 books from that publisher which accounts for 26.7% of all my audiobook listening. This is easy to explain as they produce the audiobooks for both Baldacci and Patterson. The next closest publisher was Brilliance Audio and Random House Audio both with 11 books.
I listened to audiobooks from 20 different publishers in 2016. This is down from the 24 different publishers I heard from in 2015.
- 2016: Hachette Audio (32 books)
- 2015: Random House Audio (26 books)
- 2014: Random House Audio (18 books)
- 2013: Random House Audio (43 books)
Hachette Audio ended the 3 year streak of Random House Audio winning this category. I listened to more Baldacci and Patterson this year than I did Star Wars books.
The genre I listened to the most in 2016 was the Mystery and Thriller genre with 49 books, accounting for 40.8% of all my listens. The next closest genre was the Science Fiction genre with 12 books. I heard books in 14 different genres in 2016 as compared to 21 in 2015.
- 2016: Mysteries and Thrillers (49 books)
- 2015: Science Fiction and Fantasy (32 books)
- 2014: Biographies and Memoirs (15 books)
- 2013: Science Fiction and Fantasy (46 books)
I expect that mysteries will top this list for quite a few years to come.
The series I listened to the most in 2016 was James Patterson‘s ‘Women’s Murder Club’ series. I listened to 9 books from that series in 2016. Out of all the books I listened to in 2016, 48.3% of them belonged to one series or another. David Baldacci’s ‘King and Maxwell’ series was my next most read series in 2016 with 6 books.
I read books in 23 different series in 2016 which was down from the 28 different series I sampled in 2015. So I listened to fewer different series but more books in the series that I did listen to.
- 2016: Women’s Murder Club (9 books)
- 2015: Women’s Murder Club (6 books)
- 2014: Liam Campbell and William Shakespeare’s Star Wars (3 books)
- 2013: Star Wars: Fate of the Jedi (9 books)
I can’t honestly predict which series I will listen to the most in 2017. There are a few candidates including Harlan Coben‘s ‘Myron Bolitar’ series or Lee Child‘s ‘Jack Reacher’ series. It could even be a different Patterson series or something entirely new that I haven’t discovered yet.
Another quick note regarding the following categories. I read a lot of books in 2016 that were released in previous years. The favorites categories are limited to books that were actually released this year.
The only possible answer to this question is The Death of WCW by Bryan Alvarez and R.D. Reynolds. When this title was announced toward the end of 2015 I was so happy and could not wait to listen to it. When it came out on September 16, I was so happy I posted about it on this blog and dropped everything else to listen to it. I even pulled an all-nighter because I just could not stop.
It was everything I hoped it would be. The fact that Bryan Alvarez himself narrated the book was for the best. I’m so used to hearing his voice on the radio and podcasts that anyone else would not have measured up. This was the only book to earn a 5 out of 5 on my personal rating scale which differs from the scale on Goodreads because I go in half point intervals.
The year 2016 is the year that David Baldacci became my favorite author. The second book in his Amos Decker series The Last Mile, is a perfect example of why that is so. The thing I like most about Baldacci is his ability to create characters I want to see succeed and end up in a better place. There were a couple of times this year where I teared up a litle at the end of a Baldacci novel and this was one of them.
Claudia Gray‘s Lost Stars was my favorite Star Wars book of 2014 and as time passes it doesn’t really come close. I didn’t think 2016 was a great year for Star Wars books but Claudia Gray managed to win my heart again with Bloodline – New Republic. I haven’t felt like the books in the new canon have been very consequential but this one definitely was although I will continue to be nice and not spoil how in case there is someone reading this who still plans to read the book. I’ll just say a big secret comes out and leave it at that.
If not for the Death of WCW audiobook, this one would have taken the crown as my favorite book of the year as well. A Patriot’s History of the United States, Updated Edition: From Columbus’s Great Discovery to America’s Age of Entitlement clocks in at well over 55 hours in length. And thanks to the great narration of Patrick Lawlor, the time seemed to fly by at a rapid rate. There are few people I would like to listen to that long more than Mr. Lawlor.
The only fault I have with the book is one that is quite understandable. The material gets a little thin as you get closer to the present day. This makes sense for a lot of reasons and shows why revising and expanding the book every so often is a good idea.
I read this book in June of 2016 and concluded it shortly before the 4th of July. I try to read a book covering some aspect of American history every year at around that time. I can see myself revisiting this one every few years, even if it is really long.
- 2016: A Patriot’s History of the United States (updated edition) (55 hours and 43 minutes)
- 2015: The Ultimate History of Video Games (21 hours and 2 minutes)
- 2014: Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story (30 hours and 30 minutes)
- 2013: Star Wars: The Hand of Thrawn: Vision of the Future (26 hours and 16 minutes)
This next category is new for me this year. This is to highlight something new to me in 2016 be it a new series I have tried, a new author I’ve read for the first time, a new narrator I’ve listened to for the first time or even a new type of book I’ve read. In this case, the book or series wouldn’t have necessarily had to come out in this calendar year.
Harlan Coben is an author who didn’t even appear in my book library until this year. I bought and read my first Coben book, Deal Breaker, in a summer sale. I apreciate the banter between his characters and his style of humor. I’ve read more of the Myron Bolitar series since then and have added other Coben books to my library.
An honorable mention in this category goes to Jodi Picoult as I read Lone Wolf this year upon the recommendation of a friend and enjoyed it quite a bit.
On the nonfiction side of things,I actually read one book twice this year. I really enjoyed 400 Things Cops Know: Street-Smart Lessons From a Veteran Patrolman by Adam Plantinga. I read this book twice in less than 4 months. If I had read this book when it was released in 2015, it would have been a contender for my favorite book of that year.
There you have it, more information than you could have possibly wanted about what I listened to in 2016. You can look forward to this again in 2017. Or you can do the easy thing and friend me on Goodreads.