quantitative assessment

when i started at westland in march 2004, i took a fiction reading assessment from the adult reading roundtable. it lists representative authors in 18 categories (westerns, mystery, literary fiction, multicultural, horror, fantasy, sci-fi, etc.) and asks that you check whether you’ve read, read about, heard of, or never heard of the author. i was okay in some areas (gen x, u.s. literary fiction, horror, thrillers) and really weak in others (westerns, multicultural fiction, fantasy). i’d read 40 of the assessment’s 404 authors (10%), and never heard of 187 of them (46%).

i’ve retaken the assessement, and after three years of 52 books in 52 weeks, i think i’ve made some progress. i’ve still only read 48 of the 404 authors, but my “never heard of” tally is down 44% to 104 (just 25% of the total), and both my “heard of” and “read about” tallies are up, too. my greatest leap forward was in u.s./world literary fiction, where i read five more of the listed authors than previously. of course, in the past three years i’ve read lots and lots of authors i’d never read before (three years ago, i was acquainted with only three of the 20 authors i’ve read so far this season) — they just don’t all appear on arrt’s list. but there’s an update of the assessment planned for fall 2007… maybe i’ll try again in a couple of years.

0 thoughts on “quantitative assessment”

  1. So, congrats on covering that much ground. That’s pretty impressive. What do you think the goal of such an assessment is? Is it an attempt to sketch out a new literary “canon”? Or a measure of someone’s “well roundedness” in reading? Or, more sinisterly, is it a subtle training for burgeoning literati?

  2. well, it’s got danielle steel on it, so i’m not sure about the literati part. i think it’s meant to help you determine where you are along the line of potential popular reading interests — how like the reading-public-that-has-made-these-authors-bestsellers you are. it’s a very public librarian kind of tool.

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