20 years of books and cakes: a book group’s data story

A fascinating look at all the books the book group I’m part of has read over the 20 years we’ve been in existence…

Lucy Janes

My book group is 20 years old this year. Something that I’m pretty sure none of us imagined would happen back at the very first meeting in autumn 2002.

Since then we’ve had at least 18 members, read at least 167 books and eaten at least 110 cakes.

Sadly, it didn’t occur to us to keep a record of what we were reading until I tried to reconstruct it from memory in March 2012. It’s definitely incomplete and the dates are often guestimates. From then, I kept a note of the books, but it wasn’t several years later that I started to systematically record other details: the person who had made the selection, the date and the cake we ate with the book.

But with all those caveats, here’s what our (slightly flaky) records reveal.

Who are the readers?

Here’s the members and the percentage of choices for each person.

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5 thoughts on “20 years of books and cakes: a book group’s data story

  1. That is impressive Emma. To be part of something that has gone for 20 years and sustained interest in books and reading.

  2. That’s so impresseive that you have been in a book group for 20 years! All those books and all that cake. Plus 🍷 Wine. What are your top 5 books that you have read with the group? And do you remember the corresponding cakes? X

    • Ha! Good question. I don’t know if I could narrow it down to five books, but I loved Wolf Hall (I don’t think my friend Lucy was at the one so we didn’t have cake), Voyageurs by Margaret Elphinstone (maple syrup and parsnip cake), The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (an eggless sponge with mashed potato icing to reflect the Second World War setting), Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (can’t remember the cake) and Hamnet (rosemary and lavender sponge with lemon icing, with blackberries in the centre). X

      • The only ones of those I have read is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie society, the cake sounds very appropriate, hope it was good! I might try Hamnet on eday, though perhaps I would prefer the cake, sounds delicious! X

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