Category Archives: book data

2018 Q1 Reading Updates

Time for an update!
I have read 28 books so far this year: 14 audiobooks and 14 books (8 ebooks + 6 books). That’s 3665 pages and 64.975 hours of books! I account for listening speed in my data too; I listen to most audiobooks on 2x, so a 12 hour books is really reported as 6 total hours. My goal is to always have my number of books greater than or equal to the number of audiobooks. And, I’m definitely on track to finish 100 books this year.

I’ve read far more YA books than any other category (22/28)! It’s definitely one of my favorite genres. I blame the influx of YA authors I’ve followed on Twitter in the last few months, leading me to buy and/or checkout their books. It has been a fun adventure, especially seeing all the book releases and book announcements.

I really enjoy collecting data on what I read. It’s fun to watch my trends and charts, and insanely gratifying to enter a completed book onto my spreadsheet. Because nerds will be nerds!

It’s so cool you have a book blog, Mari!
I’ve heard this quite a few times lately. This is a goofy little side project, just for funsies. In fact, I see it as so much fun that I don’t consider it to be work, thus I am allowed to write book blog posts on Sundays (read more about my work/life balance rules).

Blogging helps me better keep track of what I’ve read and reflect on why I liked a book. I always wanted to keep up a book blog, and I’ve had numerous failed past attempts–finally this one formed a habit!

Favorite Books from Q1
These favorites are in no particular order. I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve read this year, so these are some that stood out.

How do I have so much time to read?
How do you have so much time to binge Netflix shows? Or work out? Or garden? Or [insert hobby here]?

I usually read before bed. And, I often bring a book with me when I know I’ll be waiting for something, such as recently when I needed to get a smog check. Other times, it’s just my unwind or relaxation activity. Just like some people binge watch shows (just one more episode), I sometimes find myself up until 1am finishing a book.

I listen to audiobooks on my commute to work, at the gym, or while cleaning the house. Or, if I’m really in a lazy mood, while playing mindless games on the couch.

Recommend me a book!
I’m always taking book recommendations! Fill out this form to recommend me a book!



For the last few years, my dad and I have done Book BINGO together. The first year, I found one online and we used that. The last three years, we’ve created our own BINGO game with 24 categories + a free space. It has been fun to think up creative categories, share books we’re reading, and compare our BINGO cards at the end of the year.

My dad retired in summer 2016, and has had much more time to read. He is good about getting all his spots filled out, while I seem to only finish ½ – ⅔ of them. It’s more about the journey than the destination.

The best part about Book BINGO is that it encourages us to find new and different books that we wouldn’t have thought to read! I love the adventure and the challenge! For example, last year we added “audiobook” as a category because my dad hadn’t caught onto that game yet. This year, I challenged my dad to read a book on his iPad–he’s definitely a book traditionalist!

Some of our categories include: a book with a ______ color cover (we start with, “hey Mom, name a random color! — she’s onto us now, and this year she said chartreuse…thanks Mom!), book that won the _____ prize, book written before 1000 AD, book that includes mythology, and book about food.

I’ve created a Book BINGO for you to use, personally or with your students. I hope this helps encourage you to try new books and expand your library! Happy reading!

Do you have ideas for categories! I’d love to hear! Give me suggestions in the comments.

What I read in 2017

2017 was a good year for books. I finished a total of 55 books! Here’s the breakdown: 26 audiobooks, 29 books (8 books, 21 ebooks). The two major categories I read this year were YA (21) and Nonfiction (20). Surprisingly, I only read 3 edu-books this year.

This year I kept a bit more data than I have in the past. Previously, I just listed the books I read. Now, I’m keeping track of completion date, number of pages or hours (although I usually listen to audiobooks on 2x speed, which I take into account in my data), format, and genre. My favorite part of all this data is the graphs I create to go along with it. I like the visual trends for genre and books completed each month. Click here to make a copy of my book tracking spreadsheet for your own use.

Here are some of my favorite books I read this year: (they’re in chronological order

1. Heartless (Marissa Meyer)

I love love love the Lunar Chronicles, and Heartless was just as awesome. This one is based on Alice in Wonderland, which brought in some of my childhood magic. I’m a bit sad it’s not part of a series, because I’ve loved everything she’s written!

2. Caraval (Stephanie Garber)

For my Breakout EDU fans, this book will be a hit! It has the magic of a full-scale Breakout EDU game, as the main character is trying to find her sister before Caraval is over.

3. My Not So Perfect Life (Sophie Kinsella)

I keep coming back to this book all year, thinking about how we portray ourselves online versus the reality around us. The reality is all too real!

4. Yes, And (Kelly Leonard & Tom Yorton)

This was recommended by my dear friend Jess Loucks, and her keynote is based on improv. This isn’t an improv how-to book, but rather the ideas behind improv and how they can make us better creators and collaborators.

5. The Inexplicable Logic of my Life (Benjamin Alire Sáenz)

This story is fantastic, complex, and heartwarming. It addresses the real issues around us, including life, love, and loss. He also wrote Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, which I read in 2015 — bonus for my Hamilton Nerds, the Aristotle & Dante audiobook is read by Lin-Manuel Miranda!!

6. Fueled by Coffee and Love (Mari Venturino)

I can’t blog about 2017 books without talking about this, I’m still so proud of myself for pulling together Fueled by Coffee and Love. It’s a collection of teacher stories written by teachers all around the world! Please pick up a copy for yourself and a teacher you adore–all proceeds go to classrooms!

7. The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas)

This book hit the world by storm when it was published in February 2017. I finally got a copy over summer, and binge read the entire thing in just a few days! It’s heartbreaking and eye-opening at the same time. It really framed police violence and BLM in a way that is accessible to a wider population. I highly recommend this book!

8. Hidden Figures (Margot Lee Shetterly)

I listened to the audiobook, then watched the movie (*gasp* I watched a movie!). So good! I’ve always been a huge space fan, and in middle school I wanted to be an aerospace engineer; however, why am I just now hearing about Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson et al now?! They were left out of history, and I didn’t even know to look for them.

9. Classroom of One (Doug Robertson)

Another gem by my friend Doug Robertson. One of the three edu-books I read this year, and it was by far the best! It prepared me for my first guide teacher experience, and helped me become a stronger and more reflective teacher overall. I highly recommend this to anyone in education!

10. Turtles All the Way Down (John Green)

This is my second favorite John Green book (first favorite is Will Grayson, Will Grayson). This new one definitely didn’t disappoint. I appreciate how much it dove into anxiety and how it affects Aza’s life–but, it’s not forced or overdone.

I’d love some recommendations on books you think I’d like. Please leave me a comment below!

What I Read in 2016

My goal for 2016 was to read/listen to at least 100 books, reading at least 52. I ended up reading 49 and listening to 17, for a grand total of 66 books. Normally I’d be disappointed about not meeting my goal, but I’m thrilled I read as much as I did! This year, I have the same goal. We’ll see if I can pick up the pace a bit.
For the last several years, my dad and I have done a book bingo together. We create 24 categories + 1 free space at the beginning of the year, then try to read a book from each category. These range from silly (book with an orange cover) to diverse (book that is a translation) to old (published before 1000AD). Last year, he finished his whole bingo–must be nice to be retired! I finished about ⅔. We have a new bingo game for this year, so I better get reading.

I check out the majority of my ebooks and audiobooks from the public library via Overdrive. I’m usually good about managing the number of books I have and the number of books I have on hold. Pro tip: add books to your holds, then suspend the hold. You’ll move up in position, but the book won’t be checked out to you until you unsuspend the hold or your suspension time is up.
Here are my categories from 2016. As you can see, I mainly read education, young adult, and fiction books. Naturally, Harry Potter gets it’s own category. I used inspiration rather than self-help because it drops the negative connotation.
My book genre breakdown for 2016

I kicked off 2016 by reading
Ditch that Textbook by Matt Miller. It was an inspiring edu-read, and I enjoyed occasionally participating in the #ditchbook twitter chat on Thursday nights. I love anything published by Dave Burgess Consulting, and I think I own about 75% of the collection. Thanks Dave & Shelley for letting me spin the Burgess stop and giving me some wonderful books!
Here are some of my favorite books I read/listened to in 2016*:
Creating Classroom Magic by Shauna Pollock (book) – I love Disneyland and Disney, and I was completely inspired to add in a little more magic into my classroom. Shauna is filled with great ideas and stories.
Gut: The Inside Story of Our Body’s Most Underrated Organ by Giulia Enders (ebook) – My science nerd self was fascinated to learn so much about the human digestive system. This book is written to be accessible by all, and there is a lot of practical knowledge for the why’s and how’s.

How Google Works by Eric Schmidt & Jonathan Rosenberg (ebook) – So fascinating to hear more about the Google backstory, their vision and growth process, and their philosophy behind how they treat their employees. Reading this inspired me to dream bigger (10x, not 10%).

We are all Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen (book) – A friend recommended this to me, and I preordered it on Amazon. When it arrived, I had forgotten I had ordered it. It was a quick read, but absolutely heart-wrenching and sweet. I loved it so much that I am using it for a read aloud in my 7th grade science class. It’s not about molecules, and technically it’s a fairly weak science content tie; however, the ideas and themes in this book fit the personal development of my 7th graders, and tie into a few topics we cover (molecules, health, bullying, healthy relationships).
Harry Potter books 1-6 by JK Rowling (audiobook) – I’ve read them multiple times, and friends kept telling me how amazing the audiobooks are. Truth. Jim Dale is incredible. He has a different voice for each character. Plus, it was nice hanging out with my old friends. I was 10 when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone came out, and just graduated high school when the Deathly Hallows was released. I’m most of the way through the Deathly Hallows audiobook, but it expired before I finished it so I’m waiting to get it again.

So off we go in 2017. I’m excited to read more books, listen to more audiobooks, and go on new adventures. You can follow my book journey on my book blog ( I’ll cross-post some of my favorite books to my main blog.
What books did you love in 2016? And what are you excited to read in 2017?
*I categorize books & ebooks (on my Kindle) separately, but count them together as physical books in my data.

Books! Books! Books!

Passion projects are fun, so are hobbies. Reading is one of my passions and hobbies, so I’m going to blog about my reading journeys this year. (I blog semi-regularly about teaching and education here.)

I’ve been keeping track of what I read since 2011, and it’s been incredible to look back at all the wonderful adventures. In 2011 and 2012, my lists are on paper. Starting in 2013, I kept a list in Evernote. Unfortunately, Evernote has become less functional–it doesn’t automatically sync, and they always want me to upgrade to premium. At the end of 2016, I switched my lists over to Google Sheets, with a new tab for each year. I’m slowly importing my data, making fun graphs, and keeping track of my own analytics. Now in 2017, I’ll have some robust reading data (nerd alert!). 
2011 – 18 (?)*
2012 – 32 (?)*
2013 – 54 (54 books, 0 audio)
2014 – 82 (52 books, 30 audio)
2015 – 58 (41 books, 17 audio)
2016 – 66 (49 books, 17 audio)
My 2017 goal is the same as 2016. Read 100 books, including audiobooks. Of this, I’d like at least 52 to be books, and no more than half to be audiobooks. Really, that’s 1 book + 1 audiobook per week, which is very manageable. 
I’m not entirely sure what this blog will become in 2017. Here’s to new adventures! 
*Gotta double check the numbers. My paper lists are 500 miles away. Will update when I’m back home.