2020 End of Year Book Survey

It’s that time again for the very long, very detailed book survey created by Jamie, the Perpetual Page-Turner. I enjoy doing this each year. It’s just a fun way to reflect on one’s reading. There are a lot of questions, so I’ll most likely skip some of them (and you’ll most likely not read all of them, lol).

2020 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 94

Books: 44
Audio: 22
E-books: 28

Number of books reread: 24

Number of books I Did Not Finish: 4

Genre I read the most: Fantasy

Best book I read in 2020:

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

It’s a children’s picture book that has no pictures in it, and it’s the best book I read in 2020 because it was light and simple and the best companion to have during such a tumultuous year.

Other top favorites of the year are The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, which is adult fantasy, and Ocean Meets Sky by the Fan Brothers (illus.), another children’s picture book.

Book I was excited about and thought I would love but didn’t:

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen

It’s the fourth book in the Steampunk Proper Romance series, which are paranormal romance novels with some steampunk influences that are inspired by fairytales. I was really looking forward to this one because I liked the previous books, but it was a huge disappointment. The fairytale influence was very minor and I didn’t like the protagonist.

Most surprising (in a good way or bad way):

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts by Nancy Campbell Allen

Good surprise: Nimona — It’s hugely popular but since it’s YA, I thought I wouldn’t like it much. But it was a sweet, heart-warming story that I ended up loving and wanting more of.

Bad surprise: Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts — I really didn’t expect to dislike it as much I did.

Book I “pushed” the most people to read (and they did):

Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

I don’t think I pushed many books on people this year due to focusing on other things, but I mentioned Kushiel’s Dart quite a lot and got a few people interested in it. It’s adult fantasy with some erotica bits set in a land where the people are descended from angels.

Best series I started; best sequel; best series end:

Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb
Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett
The Wicked + the Divine, Vol. 9: “Okay” by Kieron Gillen, illus. by Jaime McKelvie

Best series start: Shaman’s Crossing — There were many to choose from for this category (including Vicious, Witch Hat Atelier, Vol. 1, and Kushiel’s Dart), but I went with Shaman’s Crossing since it’s on my favorites list, and I do think it’s a strong start for the Soldier Son trilogy… even if the other books seemed to divert from the plot setup in this one. (I’m still salty about that.)

Best sequel: Witches Abroad — Oh man! This book was so much fun! It’s the third novel in the Witches subseries of the larger Discworld fantasy series. It was a good read about the Ramtop’s witches’ travel abroad, and I loved the fairytale influences in it too.

Best series end: The Wicked + the Divine, Vol. 9 — Lol! I hardly ever complete the many series I start, so I finished only one in 2020 and that’s the WicDiv fantasy comic book series. I think it wrapped up well.

Favorite new author I discovered:

Penny Reid

That would be romance author Penny Reid. I started her Winston Brothers series in 2020 and was so hooked that I read two more of her books before the year ended and am considering to read the rest of the Winston Brothers series this year.

Best book from a genre I don’t typically read/was outside my comfort zone:

Grin & Beard It by Penny Reid

I don’t often read romance so I was surprised at myself when I started bingeing on such books toward the end of 2020. The best I read was Grin & Beard It, the second novel in the Winston Brothers series.

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book:

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

It’s one of the most talked-about books of 2020, I think, but it was so good. It starts out pretty slow-paced, but after a while I got hooked and was unable to part from it for long. I was even sneaking peeks at it while working.

Book I read in 2020 that I’ll most likely reread in the new year:

Witch Hat Atelier, Vol. 1 by Kamome Shirahama (illus.), transl. by Stephen Kohler

I’ll certainly reread this manga in 2021 because I want to continue with the series. This first volume really captured my interest. I like the story and love the illustration style.

Favorite cover of the books I read in 2020:

Sobek by James Stokoe (illus.)

Lol! I actually managed to choose just one this year. Sobek is a short comic book about the crocodile Egyptian god that is beautifully drawn with detailed illustrations. It’s so gorgeous.

Most memorable character:

Nanny Ogg

I can’t ever forget Nanny Ogg from the Witches books in the Discworld series that I’ve read so far. She’s a lot of fun and knows how to enjoy herself. Also, I just love all the innuendoes she comes up with, mostly, I think, to annoy Granny Weatherwax, lol!

Most beautifully written book:

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

It was a hard choice this year, but I lean more toward the three short stories by Poe I read this year: Tell-Tale Heart, Fall of the House of Usher, Cask of Amontillado. It was my first time trying Poe’s work and I immediately fell for his writing and storytelling.

Most thought-provoking/life-changing book:

Ocean Meets Sky by the Fan Brothers (illus.)

I think it fits this category since I strongly related to its subject matter — a kid coming to terms with his grandfather’s passing. It’s beautifully illustrated and just a great children’s picture book to read.

Book I can’t believe I waited until 2020 to read:

Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey

If not for the Wyrd & Wonder readalongs, these novels would have continued to sit on my shelves unread and I wouldn’t have discovered how amazing they are.

Favorite passage/quote from a book I read in 2020:

“My word,” she said, taken aback. “That’s the biggest cock I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a few in my time.” — Nanny Ogg in Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

Shortest and longest books I read:

Sylvania, #1 by Kristin Kemper (illus.)
The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan, narr. by Kate Reading & Michael Kramer

Shortest: Sylvania, #1 at 28 pages — a comic book

Longest: The Shadow Rising at 1007 pages — not a comic book

Book that shocked me the most:

The Boys, Vol. 1: The Name of the Game by Garth Ennis, illus. by Darick Robertson

Probably the Boys comic book because of how dark and gritty and violent it is. Despite all I’d heard about it, I wasn’t expecting that.

Favorite book I read in 2020 from an author I previously read:

Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb
Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

I’ve mentioned both before in answers above, but I really enjoyed reading these fantasy books and will continue with both authors’ works.

Best book I read in 2020 that I read based solely on a recommendation from someone else/peer pressure:

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Actually, I have many books that fit this category, but I’ll go with Vicious instead since I haven’t yet mentioned it (I think). I bought it years ago because of how popular it is and read it this year after me and two of my coworkers formed a little book club and someone recommended it. I was so hooked on it.

Best 2020 debut I read:

When Life Gives You Mangos by Kereen Getten

I think this was the only 2020 debut I read in 2020. It’s middle grade contemporary set in Jamaica and I enjoyed it. It was a sweet, quick story.

Best worldbuilding/most vivid setting:

Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb

Despite the ups and downs I’ve had with the Soldier Son trilogy, of which this is the first book, one of the things that remained constant for me is the worldbuilding, which is one of the most interesting things about it, especially in this book.

Book that put a smile on my face/was the most fun to read:

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

I don’t see how it could work as a bedtime story. It’s just too much fun to read.

Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen (illus.)

This was also a fun read because of its silly but highly relatable moments.

Book that made me cry or nearly cry:

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson (illus.)
Ocean Meets Sky by the Fan Brothers (illus.)
In by Will McPhail (illus.)

I think I may have choked up on these three. Nimona and In are graphic novels and Ocean Meets Sky is a children’s picture book.

Hidden gem of the year:

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall

Well, I couldn’t think of a book for this category so I chose another book I read and loved and that’s this children’s historical fiction picture book about lighthouses. The illustrations are beautiful.

Most unique book:

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

One more time for The Book With No Pictures, which made this category because it’s a picture book with no pictures.

Book that Made me Mad the most (doesn’t mean I didn’t like it):

Forest Mage by Robin Hobb

It’s the second novel in the Soldier Son trilogy and it went off on a seemingly totally unexpected path from the first book, which really frustrated me.

Best book title:
(This is a category I added to the survey.)

In by Will McPhail (illus.)

It’s a contemporary graphic novel about a young man trying to connect on a deeper level with the people he interacts with. I think the title fits the story quite well.


New favorite book blog/bookstagram/booktuber I discovered in 2020:

This was hard to figure out because I couldn’t tell when, exactly, I started following certain things, but I know for sure I started following these three this year and I like their content:

Let’s Talk Picture Books

A blog all about children’s picture books that features a variety of them

The Rum Ration

A blog all about rum that features a variety of them from all over the world

The Artisan Geek

A booktuber who discusses a variety of books and bookish content in a very engaging way. I also love her IG. Check it out.

Favorite post I wrote in 2020:

Book review

Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

I had fun writing it due to remembering Nanny Ogg’s antics and Granny Weatherwax scamming the dudes on the cruise ship at poker.

Discussion

Weekend Reads #106: On the Assumption That White Means Universal

A discussion post prompted by two articles I read on the topic

Other

Book Recs: 20 Picture Books by Black Authors

A list of picture books by and about Black folks

Weekend Reads #101: Bookshelf Tour!!

This is where my bookshelf tour began, which was a lot of fun to do.

Best bookish event I participated in:

On my blog:

I didn’t participate in many bookish events in 2020, but Wyrd & Wonder and its readalongs were fun, and so too the OWLs and NEWTs Magical Readathons, which were both discontinued in 2020 due to comments J.K. Rowling made about the transgender community.

In my bookish life:

I attended several online author/book events, mostly ones held by the PEN/Faulker Foundation. Authors I’ve seen speak (online) this year include:

Caroline Kepnes, Steven King, Emma Donoghue, Nisi Shawl, V.E. Schwab, Neil Gaiman, Christopher Paolini, Brandon Sanderson, Margaret Atwood, Rion Amilcar Scott, Lauren Beukes, P. Djèlí Clark, and Victor LaValle.

I managed to attend two in-person events and saw Neal Shusterman and then Esmé Weijun Wang and Zack McDermott in conversation before the world went to shit and everything locked down.

In my personal life:

All plans fell apart in 2020. The most interesting things I did were probably going to my first pumpkin patch and corn maze and getting into Dungeons & Dragons.

Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2020:

Starting a little book club with coworkers and going bookstore hopping with them and just hanging out and talking books when we can.

Most challenging thing about blogging or my reading life in 2020:

The many reading and blogging slumps that assailed me because the world was going to shit.

Most popular post on my blog in 2020:

It’s weird, but it’s this myth I wrote about why the sun rises and sets. I assume it’s because whoever is going to the post wants the prompts for the myths to write.

My 2019 OWLs Magical Readathon TBR was also popular (probably because of the prompts and link to the video) and another myth I wrote about why the sky is blue, which doesn’t have the prompts in the post so I have no idea why it was popular.

Reading challenges or goals I set for myself at the beginning of 2020 and completed:

I managed to complete a few and am very proud of myself for doing so. I plan to do a reading wrapup, which sounds exhausting to think about after writing (and reading) this long post.


A book I didn’t get to in 2020 but will be my #1 priority in 2021:

The Conductors by Nicole Glover

It will be published on March 2nd. I want to read it very soon.

Book I’m most anticipating for in 2021 (non-debut):

The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner

It’s set in the same world as Unnecessary Magic and will be out on January 12.

ONE THING I HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH OR DO IN MY READING/BLOGGING LIFE IN 2021:

Read 100 books, if I can manage it.


Oh my gawd! That’s long as fuck. I complain, but I do enjoy doing this post. I don’t expect everyone to read through it all, but if you did, I appreciate it. For reals, thanks.

Well, toodles.

20 thoughts on “2020 End of Year Book Survey

  1. We read The Book With No Pictures last year, too, and my kids love it so much they have parts of it memorized. Definitely a fun way to get them into books and reading!

    Liked by 1 person

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