Image is generated by Stable Diffusion A.I. based on the prompt ‘a photo of a cyber punk library with neon lights and futuristic elements’.

All graphs in this article are generated by StoryGraph.

My reading goal for 2022 was to read 40 books. It took me until 23:54 on the 31st of December on the plane back to Malta to finish the goal. But I did it! Jippie! Now, let’s have a deep dive into my sub-goals and my lessons regarding my reading habits.

Here you can inspect the full list of books I read in 2022.

sabbatical jaer reading goal 2022

This graph beautifully shows my end sprint in December. I read 8 books in December in a desperate attempt to reach my goal of 40 books. All things considered, you might say: ‘Well if you just set your reading goal a bit lower for 2023, you won’t need to rush at the end.’ That might make sense to many people, but the lesson I learned from this situation is that I can easily read more books next year.

If I can read 8 books in one month, what is stopping me from doing that every month?

And wtf happened in the summer months? Why did I hardly read?

If the December month has taught me anything, is that there are many more useless hours that I can spend reading instead of scrolling through the internet. Many more hours.

reading themes 2022 sabbatical jaer
Amount of books read per genre. Zoom in to read the words better.

Genre analysis

Looking at the different genres I read in 2022, I don’t really have much to say. The genres in the top 5 correspond with the genres I am most interested in. And I’m reading for my own enjoyment (sometimes also to learn something). When I look at my goals and upcoming projects for 2023, then I expect growth in the genres: ‘nature’, ‘mathematics’, and ‘economics’. Perhaps even ‘speculative fiction’ and magical realism’ because I quite enjoyed reading those genres this year.

Fiction vs non-fiction 2022 sabbatical jaer reading journey

Fiction vs non-fiction

I often get accused of only reading non-fiction books. I don’t really understand why, but this graph clearly shows that the distribution is basically 50/50. I very much enjoy reading non-fiction books because I love learning and studying. But I’m reading those books for that specific reason: to study and learn. Those types of books are not really to relax and enjoy as fiction books do.

I love reading fiction to relax, get inspired, and escape into different worlds. Those are all elements I don’t get from reading non-fiction. One thing I want to add is concerning reading speed. Fiction books are so much easier to get through. Especially when they are written in the Dutch language. This last point seems very obvious, but for some reason, it only clicked for me recently.

Of course I’ll finish a Dutch book faster than an English book, right? How could I think otherwise?

I’m not sure why I didn’t think of that before.

Different languague

I probably didn’t realise this before because I don’t experience extreme difficulties reading English books. That probably made me believe that it doesn’t really matter if I read English or Dutch books. But when I started reading a couple more Dutch books by the end of the year I was amazed at how quickly they were finished.

That’s not very surprising of course, Dutch is my mother tongue after all. But I thought it was quite interesting that my brain had tricked me into believing that it doesn’t really matter what language I read. But it obviously does. And I used this new gained knowledge to my advantage by reading mostly Dutch books in December to help me reach my reading goal.

language reading challenge 2022

Financial analysis of reading

How much does it cost me to read 40 books a year? Let’s deconstruct!

TypeBooksTotalPrice per book
‘Online Bibliotheek’-subscription (Dutch national library)8€42,-€5,25
eBooks (read)4€44,39€11,10
eBook (free download)24FreeFree
Physical copy (found / loan from someone)2FreeFree
Physical copy (bought)2€36,50€18,25

As you can see, I get most of my books for free from the internet. 65% of the books I read were free and 20% were from the library. Only 15% of the books I read were books that I have paid for. Which is crazy to think about, because they amount to 65% of my total costs this year! Crazy!

Anyway, I don’t really mind paying for books. I don’t think it is absolutely necessary to support writers by buying their books. In fact, I think writers should write because they want to write and not as a mean to get money. I wrote a rant about that last year on this blog.

Anyway, it is usually easier to get a book for free. Less hassle. Usually, my process looks like this:

  1. Search for the free ebook version. Available? -> Download. Not? -> step 2.
  2. Check ‘Online Bibliotheek’. Available? -> Download. Not? -> step 3.
  3. Check online shops for the ebook version. Available? -> Download. Not? -> step 4.
  4. Check (online) shops for a second-hand physical copy. Available? -> Buy. Not? -> step 5.
  5. Check (online) shops for a new physical copy. Available? -> Buy. Not? -> well… that sucks.


Next to simply reading a certain amount of books in 2022, I had also set a few subchallenges. Some interesting side-quests. I have to admit, these subgoals were really awesome! They made me read outside of my comfort zone. I’ve fallen in love with South American literature and I’m hyped to read more! Even though I was not able to reach all of the goals, I have learned a great deal from them. And I’m excited to use them again in 2023.

In conclusion: I read 14/40 (35%) books that were not written by cis-white-male writers. Still not super representative of how the world looks like. But also not super surprising considering how society functions. But I’m happy that I have made an effort to read outside of my bubble and I will continue to make an effort next year.

Non-cis-male writers

  1. ✅ In lichtjaren heeft niemand haast – Marjolijn van Heemstra
  2. ✅ Discipline, leven in overvloed – Marli Huijer
  3. ✅ Het Achterhuis – Anne Frank
  4. ✅ Het aanbidden van Louis Claus – Valentijn Hoogenkamp
  5. ✅ I’m glad my mom died – Jennette McCurdy
  6. ✅ A very nice girl – Imogen Crimp
  7. ✅ I Know What I Am: The Life and Times of Artemisia Gentileschi – Gina Siciliano
  8. ✅ My Year of Rest and Relaxation – Ottessa Moshfegh
  9. ✅ Tree Story: The History of the World Written in Rings – Valerie Trouet
  10. ✅ A Long Petal of the Sea – Isabel Allende
  11. ✅ Tender is the flesh – Agustina Bazterrica

African writers

  1. ✅ A man of the people – Chinua Achebe
  2. ✅ I will try – Legson Kayira

Asian writers

  1. ✅ After Dark – Haruki Murakami

South American writers

  1. ✅ A Long Petal of the Sea – Isabel Allende
  2. ✅ Tender is the flesh – Agustina Bazterrica