Michelle Gable, Writer

Michelle Gable, Writer

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Big Data

July 7, 2013 , , ,

Data mining is a big topic in my world. I work for a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) Company and, as with any SaaS player, investors constantly want to know, if you’re hosting software for tens of thousands of people, and if millions of transactions are going through your system, how can you mine this data? How can you use it to predict or explain?

I was thinking about this over the weekend (see e.g. always) as I read two knock-your-socks off books in a row. The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan and Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann (great-great-granddaughter of Herman Melville, apparently). Truth be told, I have been called a harsh book critic at times. It’s not that I’m harsh so much as I read a ton and tend to have a lot of opinions about all manner of topics. It’s rare for me to be blown away, especially back-to-back. My average Good Reads rating (across 1100+ books) is 3.24. This made me wonder, what are my reading habits? Do I read more in summer? Do I rate books higher in the summer? I thought I’d mine my own data, using the books I’ve read since January 2011.

I wanted to see if my hypotheses were true: 1. I read more in the summer because my weekends are more open and I have fewer after school/evening/sporting events for the kids and for me. I think I read less during NFL season. When you’re sitting in Qualcomm Stadium watching the Chargers almost every weekend, and then you spend all night crying into your pillow, it tends to burn some good reading time. My other hypothesis is that 2. I tend to rate books higher in the summer. Of course #2 could drive #1. If I like more books, I read them more quickly, thus getting through a greater number of them.

Here are some of my trends.

Rating  Books Read

Looks like I do read significantly more in the summer, as well as during the holidays. However, it appears as though I am a harsher critic as the year goes on. Except for March. Why am I so grouchy in March? And July had a surprisingly low average rating.

Some other interesting tidbits I learned:

You don’t want me to read your book in November. It has the most 1-star ratings, is the only month with no 5-star ratings, and also has the lowest average rating of any month. Am I too occupied with Thanksgiving? Is this the point in the year the Chargers are officially out of the playoffs and I spend my free time listening to sports radio and reading angry blogs? I mean they used to call it NORV-ember but that really hasn’t panned out the last couple of years.

June has by far the highest number of 4- and 5-star ratings.

Until today I thought I’d never before given two 5-star ratings in a row. Turns out I had another back-to-back 5s last summer when I read Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed and Dare Me by Megan Abbott. (Cannot recommend these books enough!)

It was a fun little exercise and I encourage any other Good Reads user to do it, assuming you’re a huge numbers nerd like I am. Unlike Big Data this doesn’t tell us anything of reading habits as a whole but it was interesting to see my own personal trends.

What do you think?

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February 22, 2014

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