I was extremely happy with my 2022 reading…mostly due to a substantial increase in 5 star books compared to last year! The books that rose to the top are the ones that felt fresh and unique. Many of my top books of 2022 were hyped people pleasers / commercial hits. Kudos to publishers for putting their marketing dollars behind great books.
My reading taste also changed a lot in 2022. I leaned less “high literary” than in the past. I also that discovered “Slightly Sci-Fi” books and books with heart worked great for me. I read less dark than I have in the past. I’ll be interested to see if these changes stick through 2023…
Putting this post together was a breeze compared to years ago because my Rock Your Reading Tracker had been automatically compiling these stats for me throughout the year (it’s available to $7/mo Superstars patrons).
Let’s dig into the numbers…
Quality and Quantity
2022 Quality Goal (% Successful Books – rated at least 3.5 stars)
I’m shocked that my reading quality stats are even better than last year because my 2021 reading did not feel that successful. But, I think that has to do with the number of 5 star books I read and the 5 star drought I had in the second half of the year.
% Books Attempted that Were Successful (includes DNFs)
- 72% (92 of 128 books attempted)…a bit higher than last year’s 69%.
- Surpassed my goal of 65%.
% Books Finished that Were Successful
- 89% (91 of 101 books finished)…a touch lower than last year.
- Surpassed my goal of 85%.
One of my biggest takeaways from my 2022 reading is how important this stat is to feeling like my reading is successful…even more important than my overall % Successful Books stat. So, I’m thrilled that I read the most 5 star books this year that I’ve read in the past 5 years! And, 2 of them slid in right before the finish line in December.
My 2023 Reading Goal
For the fourth year in a row, I’m not setting a quantity goal (I truly don’t care and I’ve been hovering around 100 books a year for the past couple years, which feels right to me) and am going to focus solely on a quality goal. However, this year my quality goal will be # of 5 Star Books rather than % Successful Books Finished and Attempted. I’m going to shoot for at least fifteen 5 star books in 2023, equal or better than my 2022 total of 15.
2022 Reading Quantity
For the fourth year in a row, I didn’t set a reading quantity goal and this has worked well for me the past couple of years. I don’t foresee myself ever setting a quantity-based reading goal again. I hate the feeling of chasing a specific number and letting my progress against that number influence my reading choices.
I did track how many books I read (103)…2 more than last year and a number that feels right for me for this stage of my life (busy kids and time spent running the podcast).
Picking Better Books
Over the past few years, I’ve been tracking my best and worst recommendation sources (and now mutual dislikes) as well as my top publisher imprints. Knowing my best recommendation sources and top publishers helps me know who to pay attention to when looking for books that best fit my reading taste. There is so much clutter out there, so knowing which voices speak to my particular taste helped me improve my reading quality 43% since before I started tracking these things! My 2023 Reading Tracker can help you track your recommendation sources and publishers / imprints and to my Superstars patrons for free!
|Recommendation Source||Success Stats|
|Kristi Phillips (Podcast Patron)||86% (25 Successful, 4 Unsuccessful)|
|Elizabeth Barnhill (@wacoreads)||84% (24 Successful, 5 Unsuccessful, 2 Mutual Dislikes)|
|Madeline Stough (Podcast Patron, @melizreads18)||95% (18 Successful, 1 Unsuccessful)|
|Lexy Largent (Podcast Patron, @readlexyread)||90% (17 Successful, 2 Unsuccessful, 1 Mutual Dislike)|
|Annie Jones (From the Front Porch Podcast)||80% (20 Successful, 5 Unsuccessful)|
|Susie (@novelvisits)||70% (23 Successful, 11 Unsuccessful, 3 Mutual Dislikes)|
|Liz Hein (@lizisreading_)||74% (20 Successful, 7 Unsuccessful)|
|Catherine (@gilmoreguide)||72% (20 Successful, 8 Unsuccessful, 1 Mutual Dislike)|
- Elizabeth Barnhill (@wacoreads) and podcast patrons Kristi Phillips and Liz Hein (@lizisreading_) remain 3 of my top recommendation sources for the second year in a row.
- And, two additional podcast patrons moved into my top 5 for the first time: Madeline Stough (@melizreads18) and Lexy Largent (@readlexyread)!
- Novel Visits and Annie Jones make my top list for the 3rd year in a row. Novel Visits was my #1 recommendation source last year and, though she is still a top source for me, our tastes diverged a bit in 2022 (probably due to my reading taste evolving a bit). But, this is actually great news for the podcast since it gives us a wider array of opinions and books.
Publishers / Imprints
|Imprint||Success Stats||Successful 2022 Books|
|Ballantine||100% (7 Successful, 0 Unsuccessful)||
|William Morrow||88% (7 Successful, 1 Unsuccessful)||
|Berkley||86% (6 Successful, 1 Unsuccessful)||
|Doubleday||100% (5 Successful, 0 Unsuccessful)||
|Flatiron Books||100% (4 Successful, 0 Unsuccessful)||
|Harper Books||83% (5 Successful, 1 Unsuccessful)||
|St. Martin’s Press||83% (5 Successful, 1 Unsuccessful)||
- Ballantine continues to be an excellent source of books for me…moving from #4 last year to #1 this year. They’re an excellent source for 5 star and Best of the Year type books for me in particular.
- After dropping off my list last year following a 3 year run in my Top 5, William Morrow returned with a vengeance to my #2 spot.
- Grand Central and Riverhead dropped off my list this year.
- I also think it’s important to look at what types of books tend to work from particular publishers:
- Ballantine was a spectacular source for books that lie in the sweet spot between literary and commercial…or lighter fiction with substance. Including 2 of my Best Books of 2022.
- William Morrow was a great source for crime fiction…particularly unique crime fiction that aren’t necessarily thrillers.
- I viewed Berkley as primarily a publisher of romance, but only one of my successful books from Berkley was a romance.
- Last last year, Doubleday had a nice mix of genres including unique historical fiction, nonfiction, and a legal thriller.
- Flatiron brought me some stellar debuts.
- Harper brought me two 5 star books and one 4.5 star read.
- St. Martin’s Press is a mixed bag (last year they were predominantly suspense for me).
- My reading was 71% Fiction / 29% Nonfiction (my nonfiction was down 23% from 2021…all my audiobook listening is nonfiction and that was down 17% from last year, so that explains some of the decrease).
- The genre I read the most of was Literary Fiction (21%); however, it’s still down 27% from 2021. I leaned more commercial than usual this year.
- My biggest increases from 2021 were:
- Historical Fiction (up 200%) – I was able to find some untraditional Historical Fiction that I loved (I don’t love traditional Historical Fiction…think WWII and covers with ladies shown from behind).
- Romance (up 100%) – a new genre for me.
- Thrillers (up 18%) – many of the Thrillers I read could also be considered non-traditional (i.e. legal thrillers, etc).
- My biggest decreases from 2021 were:
- Brain Candy / Light Fiction (down 71%) – much of my 2022 light reading fell into Thrillers or Romance.
- Mysteries (down 50%) – I think a lot of my Mystery reading went to Thrillers this year.
- Memoir / Essays (down 33%) – audiobook listening was way down, which is how I consume most memoirs.
- General Nonfiction (down 29%) – same as above.
I read 28 backlist books (27% of my reading)…down slightly from last year.
But, still a total that I’m happy with. I love that the monthly Double Booked bonus podcast episodes for Superstars patrons gives me a concrete reason to make time for backlist reading throughout the year. You can get these bonus episodes and more goodies by supporting the podcast on Patreon for $7 /month.
I read 38 debuts…37% of my overall reading (exactly the same as last year). And, my Best Books of 2022 list was 40% debuts!
My DNFs are back in line with my usual numbers after an increase last year. I DNF’d 25 books this year (20% of all the books I attempted)…and a 17% decrease from the 30 I DNF’d last year.
Longest Book Read
Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver (560 pages).
Slightly longer than the longest books I finished last year (Caste by Isabel Wilkerson and Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley, both 496 pages).
Shortest Book Read
Love & Saffron by Kim Fay (208 pages).
74% of my 2022 reading was by female authors (a tiny bit lower than last year). My % Female Authors has hovered around 75% for 4 years now…and, I don’t see that changing much.
20% of my 2022 reading was by BIPOC authors, compared to 29% last year (down 30%). 53% of my books read were diverse books (i.e. about diverse topics and/or people), up 21% from last year. And, 26% of my reading was #OwnVoices books.
I think more authors and publishers are including diverse characters in their stories, which is great to see and I think contributed to my increase in Diverse Books. I’d like to increase my BIPOC Authors and #OwnVoices reading in 2023.
(average from episode drop date)
|2022 Growth from
|2021 Growth from
|2020 Growth from
|1 Day||25% increase||49% increase||75% increase|
|7 Day||27% increase||46% increase||82% increase|
|30 Day||31% increase||47% increase||43% increase|
All Episodes by Total 2022 Downloads:
1) Ep. 99: Best Books of 2021 and Bookish Superlatives with Susie (@novelvisits)
2) Ep. 102: Winter 2022 Book Preview with Catherine (@gilmoreguide)
3) Ep. 112: 2022 Summer Reading Special with Susie (@novelvisits)
4) Ep. 121: Fall 2022 Book Preview with Catherine (@gilmoreguide)
5) Ep. 103: The Best Backlist Books We Read in 2021 with Catherine (@gilmoreguide)
Author Interviews by Total 2022 Downloads:
1) Ep. 115: Bonnie Garmus (author of Lessons in Chemistry)
2) Ep. 104: Catherine Ryan Howard (author of The Nothing Man and 56 Days)
3) Ep. 105: Thrity Umrigar (author of Honor)
4) Ep. 111: Dolen Perkins-Valdez (author of Take My Hand)
5) Ep. 97: Christine Pride and Jo Piazza (authors of We Are Not Like Them), 2021 episode
What interesting things did you learn from your reading stats? Who were your most successful recommendation sources and publishers?