Eight fun facts about our reading list to December 2023:

  1. We have read 254 books together. At a guess they would make a wobbly pile that is approaching 20 feet or 6 metres high. The list of books is here and the book covers here.

  2. 56% of these books (141) have been written by women, 112 by men and 1 was a free choice.

    % of books by year that were written by female authors

  3. We tend to pick recently published books. Over our 27 years of existence as a group we have read just eight redings from the nineteenth century. Wuthering Heights (1847) is our oldest book and Ode to Autumn (1819) our oldest and only poem. The other books were Madame Bovary, Adam Bede The Belton Estate, The Moonstone and Moonfleet). Seventy eight of our books were written between 1900 and 1999 and 167 have been written since 2000.

    Books read by decade of writing

  4. We could consider the 'age' of our books at the time we read them. Our oldest reading this year, The Bookshop (1978) was written 45 years ago. Over the years we have strongly favoured new books picking 31 books in the year that they were published and 77 books in the year following their publication year.

  5. age of the book at the time of reading

  6. Penguin is our favoured publisher accounting for 40 of our choices. Vintage is second with 32 picks. Taken together Penguin and Vintage account for 29% of our choices. There are 73 publishers in total on our list (see the reading list page and sort by publisher for full details).
    Books read by publisher
  7. We have read books by 232 authors. Only Ian McEwan and Kate Atkinson have been picked 3 times. We have read two books each by: Andrea Levy, Andrey Kurkov, Beryl Bainbridge, Carole Shields, Geraldine Brooks, Gillian Slovo, Joanne Harris, Jonathan Falla, Khaled Hosseini, Lionel Shriver, Maggie O'Farrell, Margaret Leroy, Matt Haig, Nick Hornby, Robert Harris, Rose Tremain and Yann Martel

  8. Ten of our authors have been called John plus three Jonathans. We have read eight authors with variants of the name Katharine, five Davids, five Clares and four each of Margaret/Maggie and variations of Michael.
    Name Count List
    John/Jonathan 13 10 Johns (Baker, Bayley, Coetzee, Farrell, Keats, Lanchester, Le Carre, Meade, Faulkner, Preston and Williams) & 3 Jonathans (Coe, Falla and Franzen)
    Katharine variants 8 Kate Atkinson and Williams, Katharine McMahon, Katie Hickman, Kathryn Stockett, Catherine O'Flynn, Caitlin Moran, Katrin Schuman
    Clare/Claire 5 Boylon, Keegan, King, Macintosh, Messud
    David 5 Boling, Lodge, Nicholls, Park, Starkey
    Margaret/Maggie 4 Attwood, Forster, Leroy, O'Farrell
    Michael/Michel/ Mick 4 Michael Ondaatje, Michel Bussi, Mick Herron & Jackson
    Alan 3 Booth, Hollinghurst, Paton
    Angela/Angie 3 Carter, Chadwick, Cruz
    Sally 3 Magnusson, Rooney, Vickers
    Sarah 3 Dunant, Walters, Winman

  9. Over the year 42% of our books have been set in the UK, and 15% in the USA. The 'domesticity' of our books varies year by year.
    % books set in the UK by year

    Altogether we have read books set in about 60 countries (including Panem (The Hunger Games) and a mystery setting (The Melody)) though the count is not an exact sceince as several books have been set in more than one country.

    Main location of book Number of books
    USA 37
    France 9
    Ireland 8
    Italy 7
    South Africa, various, India 5
    Canada, Japan 4
    Australia, Germany, Spain 3
    Afghanistan, Atlantic, Europe, Egypt, Greece, Netherlands, Ukraine 2
    Algeria, Argentina, Austria, Barbados, Bosnia, Botswana, Ceylon, China, Congo, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Ghana, Iceland, Jamaica, Kenya, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Monserrat, New Guinea, Norway, Pacific, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, Thailand, Tibet, Trinidad, Vietnam, "Panem", ? 1