A lot of people in my life are trying to diversify who they read. I know I’m doing poorly on reading people of color, but I felt subconsciously like I read quite a few books by women. So I decided to check the last three years of books I’ve read.

I exported my data from Goodreads as a CSV 1, hand coded the authors, and found, to my surprise, I was now reading mostly women.

A stacked bar graph with a bar per year from 2016 to 2018. It shows that I read 16 books by men and 11 by women in 2016, 10 books by men and 17 books by women in 2017, and 11 books by men and 18 by women in 2018.

I find it pretty challenging to be intentional about what I am reading. It is pretty easy for me to get out of the habit of reading if I pause for a few days– it almost always stretches to weeks if I stop reading for just three or four nights in a row. This almost always happens between books when I become paralyzed by choice and my “mood”. I am going to try and keep more authors of color “handy” though so that I can be more likely to unintentional change my balance there like I have with gender in the past couple of years.

  1. Annoyingly, I noticed that four of the books I read in the last three years did not export with a “Date Read” attribute even though it’s clearly set in the Goodreads interface. I mention that as a “buyer beware” if you want to do similar analysis on your own reading. I added those four back by hand. ↩︎