It has been a minute since I put together a Tableau Public dashboard – since starting my job as a Tableau Developer, I haven’t built a lot in my spare time! As another COVID year, 2021 was not as exciting for travel (which I typically like to visualize), so this year I’ve created a visualization for books I read in 2021.
Prior to 2020, I barely read any fiction. During the pandemic, I started joining book clubs and reading with my friends to stay connected. Later I signed up for a Book of the Month subscription, and now I have read more in a year than I have in my entire life! But let’s get to it: what did I read in 2021? The visualization is first, and details about the data and my conclusion are below.
Throughout the year, I used the Goodreads app (add me!) to keep track of the books that I read, and my 1 through 5 star rating. Then, to create the visualization, I exported the data from my Goodreads dashboard. The dataset exported included each book that I have read on Goodreads, including some book data such as the author, page numbers, average rating, etc.
I made minimal changes to the dataset other than adding in a ‘Genre’ column. This was not included in the export, I suspect because books can fall under multiple genres. I added in the Genre for each book on my own; some books may fall under multiple genres, but I picked what I thought would be the best fit.
The number of books that I read tend to align with the amount I am traveling. While not included in the visualization, I had week-long trips in March, June, and December – which also happen to be months where I read less.
The majority of books that I read were published in 2021, and I know this is due to myBook of the Month subscription. I usually get 3 books a month through this box, so I expect the pattern will be similar in 2022. I want to be able to talk about the books I am reading with others, so it makes sense that I am reading new releases.
With my ratings distribution, I am pretty easy to please – I tend to pick books that have higher Goodreads ratings with the hope that they’re more enjoyable, and I think my ratings reflects that. With 51 of my books rated a 4 or 5, I read a lot of good stuff this past year.
I also noticed that I avoided Nonfiction & Memories through March – July. I guess I prefer lighter reads during the summer?
I didn’t add my top favorites in the visualization, but they include:
- People We Meet on Vacation (Emily Henry – Romance)
- The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo (Taylor Jenkins Reid – Historical Fiction)
- Project Hail Mary (Andy Weir – Science Fiction)
- In The Weeds (Tom Vitale – Nonfiction/Memoir)
- Four Lost Cities (Annalee Hewitz – Nonfiction)
Since my favorite book this year was a Romance, I want to try reading more Romances in the upcoming year. I have been gravitating towards books that are less serious, so we will see what I end up picking up.
I don’t see a need to change my habits towards the length of books or what year they were published. However, there are opportunities for improvement with my scoring system. Reflecting back on the year, there were a lot of books that I rated 5 stars that I would not say are must-reads nor would I recommend them to others. For 2022, I plan on updating my rating system.
Old Rating System
- 1 Star: Did not want to finish.
- 2 Stars: Terrible and disappointing.
- 3 Stars: It was ok.
- 4 Stars: I enjoyed the book overall.
- 5 Stars: This book made me reflect, and I would recommend it to others.
New Rating System
- 1 Star: I did not like this book.
- 2 Stars: I did not like this book, but I get the appeal.
- 3 Stars: It was ok. Nothing stellar.
- 4 Stars: This book made me reflect, and I might recommend it to others.
- 5 Stars: I absolutely loved this book, I am going to think about it for a long time and tell everyone about it.
I want to see my rating distribution shift to the left, and for 5 star books to be something that really stands out.
Throughout 2022 I hope to continue making time to read, and to be introduced to new perspectives. I’ll continue tracking my ratings, and I look forward to seeing how my habits change over the next year.