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Chapter 15 - I'd Rather Be Reading

We had a gentleman come in a few weeks ago to the store and vocalize how much of the store (3 rows – about 25%) is dedicated to Romance. He wasn’t snarky about it just surprised. So, I started to look at reading statistics and here is what I found.

In 2020 about 1/3 of all mass market books sold are Romance. It is estimated that about 16% of all Romance readers are men. Of all readers in the United States approximately 80% are women. So now you know why we have a large Romance section.

Some other statistics I found included that in 1820 only 12% of the world was literate, that number in 2020 was 86%. The country whose inhabitants spend the most amount of time reading is India with over 10 hours per week. The US comes in at a mere 5.42 hours per week still ahead of the UK, which didn’t even place on this survey. Canada placed slightly higher than us at 5.48 hours a week.

More people read physical books either hardback or paperback than e-books, with about 70% of physical books read vs. 10.4% of e-books sold. The top selling book of 2020 was Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

Americans read an average 12 books per year but 27% of Americans say they don’t read at all.

So if you are an overachiever like I am and read upwards of 50 plus books a year, congratulations! If you are one of the people who reads maybe 12 books a year, congratulations to you too! If you are part of the 27% maybe the authors below will entice you. You can find more reading stats here -

Jenny Colgan - When I do read Romance (very rarely) I pick Jenny Colgan who is a Scottish writer. Her books are full of interesting characters, probable events (no Duke picking a virtuous waif from the gutter), and terrific relationships. Some of my favorites include The Bookshop on the Corner, The Bookshop on the Shore and 500 Miles From You.

Kate Quinn - Kate is one of my go to authors for Historical Fiction. Her latest book The Rose Code is about women working in Bletchley Park in England as code breakers during World War II. I also recommend The Alice Network and The Huntress. Quinn has been involved in a number of collaborative books with other authors but I have not read any of them yet.

Erik Larson - When I'm craving just straight history I turn to Larson who writes each of his books as if they were novels. My favorites of his include The Splendid and The Vile, about Churchill's first days as Prime Minister, and Isaac's Storm about the 1900 Galveston hurricane.

Jodi Taylor - I don't read much Science Fiction or Fantasy but when I do, I usually turn to Jodi Taylor and one of her new books. Taylor's books encompass history, mystery, time travel and good vs evil.

She is all over the board on what she writes but I love her Chronicles of St Mary's series. The first one is One Damned Thing After Another.

Pat Conroy - If Southern literary fiction is your jam, you can't go wrong with a Pat Conroy book. He has a very nuanced way of capturing the South which neither demeans it or glorifies it or the people who live here. I recommend The Water is Wide and South of Broad as your first forays into his literary style.

Dorothea Benton Frank - If Southern women's fiction is more your thing, I strongly recommend you read Dotty Frank. She has a large collection of stand alone books that are funny, thoughtful, and always a good read. Start with Sullivan's Island and go from there. Mary Kay Andrews would also be a good choice.

Daniel Silva - Daniel Silva is my go to author for action and spy stories. His character Gabriel Allon is an art restorer/Mossad assassin who always defeats the bad guys. I also love Nelson DeMille's John Corey series and David Baldacci's Camel Club series.

Who are some of your favorite reads? Please share.


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