2020 is now thankfully behind us, and while it wasn’t the greatest year for most of us, I’m happy to say that at least for me it brought one of my best reading years to date.
I’ve broken down my statistics into ten categories- because I’m a nerd like that- to take a closer look at exactly what I’m reading. I really love taking stock and it makes it much easier to frame my 2021 reading goals around the results when the numbers do the talking.
Let’s dive in!
1. Total Books Read
The number books read in a year seems to be the metric everyone’s talking about- especially with so many bookstagrammers setting GoodReads goals.
In all honesty I don’t track my reading perfectly on GoodReads, but managed to count 116 books toward my initial goal of 75.
This is absolutely bananas. I’ve never read over 100 books in a year, but despite a slow start all that time at home reading really added up in 2020.
I know I missed a few, so the number is actually higher. Also, I don’t count cookbooks, nonfiction I skim, kids’ books, DNFs, or poetry collections toward my total count.
I’m glad I got to read so many great books, but for me a good reading year is far more in the quality of what I’m reading than the quantity.
2. Monthly Breakdown
This chart breaks down the number of books I read each month.
I started off reading a modest 6 books in January, then nearly doubled that number in February.
March started off strong, but as the pandemic hit my area my reading slowed for a few months.
By summertime the anxiety was mostly under control and the extra time at home reading lead to high numbers that continued to the end of the year.
My best reading months were October and December in terms of quantity- and I read lots of good books then too!
3. Looking at Genre
I enjoy reading from a number of genres and definitely wanted to make a point to branch out in 2020.
I read a few new to me formats- graphic novels and novels in verse- rekindled my love for the YA Genre and pushed myself to try some horror.
Thrillers were my most read genre of the year. About a quarter of the books I read were thrillers- partly for the escapism and partly because I got the idea to write one of my own. Go check out my favorite thrillers of the year for some recommendations!
If you combine Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, and Classics together for a “General Fiction” genre those would add up to equal the number of thrillers I read. Many of my favorite titles of the years were from these categories.
Overall I’m pleased with the genre diversity of my 2020 reads, though this does give me a starting point for my goals in the new year.
4. Author by Gender
Reading women is important!
I love that nearly 75% of my 2020 reads were written by people who identify as women. I would, however like to read more from nonbinary voices in 2021 as some of my 2020 standouts fell into this category.
5. Author Diversity
2020 brought many long-overdue calls for equality and diversity.
This is another thing I love about charts and numbers – It really puts things into perspective and you can’t argue facts. The publishing is predominantly white- everything from editors to publicists to authors. The statistics were eye-opening and definitely left me seeking out more diverse Own Voice stories, specifically in the second half of the year.
In 2019 13% of the books I read were by BIPOC authors, and it was a number that needed improvement.
This year I increased that stat to 33% and while there’s always room to go I’m glad to have read more than twice as many books from diverse authors.
6. Queer Representation
Just under 15% of the books I read had strong and positive queer representation, the vast majority of those books being written by Own Voice authors.
This is just another example of where representation matters, and I plan to improve this number in 2021.
7. Book Setting by Country
Of all my 2020 reading stats this is the one that means the most to me.
The countries in orange are the ones my books took me to last year, all while being stuck at home.
Books were the escape I needed during the lockdowns and anxiety of 2020 and I loved being able to lose myself in the pages and travel half a world away with the characters of the story.
Whether it was exploring the streets of Jaipur, India with Lakshmi in the Henna Artist, taking a walk with Vivek Oji in Nigeria, staying in Emily St John Mandel’s Glass Hotel in Vancouver, Canada or riding the Orient Express across Europe with Hercule Poirot, 2020 was filled with many bookish adventures and I loved each of them.
In total,I had 23 stamps in my literary passport in a year full of travel bans and canceled flights.
I know 2020 will be filled with many booksih adventures across the world as well, and look forward to seeking out new countries to “visit” by own voice authors.
8. Format Read
Clearly my best reading year ever in 2020 was brought to me by audiobooks.
Over 60% of my reads were on audio and I have no shame over that. I discovered some great narrators who I’m eager to hear more of and discovered Libro.fm– a great site that supports local bookstores!
Audiobooks let me multitask- I love listening while I’m making dinner, drawing, or working on a puzzle. They were also great for when this year made it hard to focus while stuck at home- and for commuting when I returned to work.
I do sometimes long for a physical book to hold, so I won’t be going purely digital any time soon!
9. How I Got the Books
As you can see, I was lucky enough to receive over 50 ARCs in 2020! I love being able to snag an early copy of a much-anticipate book and am very thankful for all of the opportunities.
The rest of my reads were split fairly evenly between books I purchased myself and books I borrowed. I have borrowed from the library, from Kindle Unlimited over the course of the year. Sadly, none of the books I borrowed were from friends because of social distancing. Thanks, 2020!
10. Backlist vs. New Releases
With reading so many ARCs it comes as no surprise that the majority of my 2020 reads were new releases.
Still, over 25% of my books were from the backlist. It’s a number that I plan on growing in 2020. I also reread 4 books in 2020- and the titles should come as a surprise to those who have been following for long. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, Furiously Happy, The Little Prince, and Matilda. I pretty much reread each of those books annually.
Alright, friends! There you have it!
2020 is in the books and this is how my reading year breaks down!
Overall I’m very pleased- both with the quality of the reading year overall and the individual numbers.
Remember, reading isn’t a competition.
Reading is about joy, escape, growth, and learning- and these statistics and charts perfectly show how much of those things the wild ride of 2020 held for me.