Reflecting on 2020: Reading

2020 wasn’t a great year, but there were some positive moments and my reading was one of them. Although I suffered from bouts of reading slumps, especially at the beginning of the year, I managed to read a lot more than I anticipated.

To go easy on myself, I set my Goodreads goal at a manageable 50 books, just as I did back in 2019. But because I was stuck at home like many others with little else to distract me, I managed to read more than I expected and ended the year having read a combination of 94 books, comics, mangas, and picture books. That’s 16 more things than I read last year. I was hoping to hit the 100 mark (which I hope for every year), but that didn’t work out. Maybe I’ll do so this year, 2021.

I began 2020 in a reading slump that didn’t get much better as the year wore on. Sometimes I’d escape the slumpiness only to plunge back into it weeks later either because I took on too many reading events and engagements or because what was going on in the world affected my mood and reading experiences. Still, I managed to read some good books and even binged on a genre I hardly ever read — romance. I also managed to partake in some great readalongs and buddy-reads too.

Of course, I didn’t attend many literary events last year due to the pandemic, but I managed to tune in to several online and even attended two in-person events to see Neal Schusterman and, later, Esmé Weijun Wang and Zack McDermott before the pandemic rolled in and shut everything down. It sucks that I couldn’t attend live events, but the positive here is that many online events took place instead and authors, and attendees, could simply attend events from the comfort of their homes. I try to see the upside to the disruptions in 2020.

Well, let’s focus on the positive that is my reading stats. I enjoy going over these to see how I read in the previous year. I think I did pretty good. I’m impressed by my 94 books read and would like to celebrate in some way.

Also see

Zezee’s Favorite Books of 2020
Zezee’s Most Memorable Books of 2020
Zezee’s Most Disappointing Books of 2020


Favorites of the Bunch

Books

Witches Abroad
Shaman’s Crossing
The Goblin Emperor
First Frost
The Tell-Tale Heart

Comics & Picture Books

The Book With No Pictures
Ocean Meets Sky
Nimona
The Boys, Vol. 1: The Name of the Game
Hello Lighthouse

Articles

The Fight to Redefine Racism (newyorker.com)

This was published in 2019, but it’s still a timely read. It’s about racism in America but also digs into Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped From the Beginning and How to Be an Antiracist and Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility. I highly recommend the article if you are planning to read, or have read, these books.

If Your Book Presumes an Entirely White World, It’s Not Universal (lithub.com)

The writer talks about the presumption that White means universal.

“Literary novels about black people don’t have to serve as homework for well-meaning activists just as they don’t have to stand as political statements for the black community as a whole. Literary fiction featuring the life experiences of a black woman can be pitched, marketed and read as universal, because (news flash) everyone in the universe isn’t white.”

‘A Conflicted Cultural Force’: What It’s Like to Be Black in Publishing (nytimes.com)

An article about what it’s like to be a Black person working in book publishing. The article features people from a variety of areas in book publishing: an editorial director, author, bookstore owner, publicity director, literary agent, marketing director, and a senior executive.

“Publishers are now in the ironic position of making money off books by authors that they once held in disfavor.”

Smorgasbords Don’t Have Bottoms: Publishing in the 2010s (nplusonemag.com)

A long-form article about the evolution of book publishing in the 2010s: from the rise of Amazon e-books to the resurgence of indie bookstores; from conglomerate publishers to the abundance of Trump books and memoirs by YouTubers and other social media influencers; and also, the state of Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and book publishers now.

How Seanan McGuire Perfected Her Fictional Zombie Virus (wired.com)

An interview with Seanan McGuire (Mira Grant) back in 2012 about her zombie book series Newsflesh, which is about how a genetically engineered strain of a filovirus combined with a genetically engineered coronavirus to create a zombie virus. I read the first book, Feed, in 2020.

“No one respects quarantine anymore! Nobody comprehends quarantine, and absolutely nobody comprehends the fact that sometimes your “rights” and “liberties” do not have any place in this conversation.”

Podcasts

Marlon and Jake Read Dead People (readitforward.com)

For Harriet (youtube.com): What Happens to Black Women and Girls in a World Without Police? with Dr. Brittney Cooper

Everybody Hates Rand (everybodyhatesrand.com)

TV Shows

Schitt’s Creek
Umbrella Academy 2
The Boys
Never Have I Ever
The Order

Movies

All the Dave Chappelle stand ups I saw
Black Panther
Old Guard
Bad Boys for Life
Holidate


Least Liked

Books

Brass Carriages and Glass Hearts
The Twisted Ones
Black Witch Magic
The Madness of Cambyses
The Magic Thief

Comics & Picture Books

Watersnakes
Oddly Normal, bk. 1
Assassin Nation, #1
Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy
Django/Zorro, #1


Did Not Finish

The Inn at Rose Harbor
American Gods
The Lost Book of Adana Moreau
The Way Back


Best Stories

Books

Shaman’s Crossing
Witches Abroad
Mexican Gothic
The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince
The Tell-Tale Heart

Comics & Picture Books

Wicked + the Divine, Vols. 1-9
Ocean Meets Sky
Sex Criminals, Vol. 1
The Boys, Vol. 1
An Embarrassment of Witches

Best Writing

The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince
Shaman’s Crossing
Goblin Emperor
Kushiel’s Dart
Mexican Gothic

Best Narration (audiobooks)

The Curse of Chalion – narr. by Lloyd James
The Monstrumologist – narr. by Steven Boyer
The Curse of the Wendigo – narr. by Steven Boyer
Farseer trilogy – narr. by Paul Boehmer
Tawney Man trilogy – narr. by James Langton

Best Illustrations (comics & illustrated books)

Wicked + the Divine, Vols. 1-9
Prodigy, #1
Sobek
Klaus
Ocean Meets Sky

Most Amazing Character(s)/People

Nanny Ogg from the Discworld series
Epiny from the Soldier Son trilogy
Maia from The Goblin Emperor
Hedy Lamarr and Elijah McCoy from The Way I Heard It

Great Worldbuilding

Shaman’s Crossing
Wyrd Sisters
Mexican Gothic
Unnatural Magic
Feed

Most Fitting Titles

In
The Book With No Pictures
Mexican Gothic

Most Unique/Impactful Story

Ocean Meets Sky (impactful)

Awesome Covers

Sobek
Ocean Meets Sky
Brightstorm
Unnatural Magic
Grin & Beard It


Reading Challenges Hits ‘n’ Misses

**2020 reading challenges announcement**

Goodreads Challenge

Goal: 50
Read: 94
Success or Fail

Books I must read in 2020

Goal: 8
Read: 0
Success or Fail

Read some comics/graphic novels

Goal: 20
Read: 28
Success or Fail

Read some classics

Goal: 2
Read: 2
Success or Fail

Read some horror

Goal: 6
Read: 6
Success or Fail

Turtle Recall

Goal: 5
Read: 3
Success or Fail

#StartonYourShelfathon

Goal: 20
Read: 27
Success or Fail


Reading Stats

Read = 94
Reread = 24
DNF = 4
*“Read” includes rereads. “DNF” does not include those I paused reading.*

Longest | Shortest

The Shadow Rising = 1007 pages
Sylvania, #1 = 28 pages

Most Popular | Least Popular
**according to Goodreads**

The Da Vinci Code = 2,681,426 people have shelved it
Picky Eaters = 14 people have shelved it

Format

Physical = 44
E-books = 28
Audio = 22

Genre

Fantasy = 57
Horror = 6
Romance = 6
Contemporary = 5
Nonfiction = 4
Humor = 3
Mystery = 3
Sci-fi = 3
Thriller = 3
Historical = 2
Magical Realism = 1
Western = 1

Age Group

Adult = 67
YA = 12
MG = 9
Kids = 6

Protagonist Gender

Male = 36
Female = 30
Ensemble = 26
Unknown = 2

Author Gender

Female = 49
Male = 43
Both = 1
Unknown = 1

Ownership

Mine (bought before January 6, 2020) = 31
Library = 21
New (bought on/after January 6, 2020) = 18
Other loan = 16
ARC = 6
Free = 2


Other Stats

Books by Month

I’m so proud of myself that I managed to read 94 books in 2020. 94! I’ve never hit that high since starting this blog. I’ve always wanted to hit the 100 mark and was hoping to do so in 2020, but I also didn’t want to force myself to read that much either because that would take all the fun out of it. So I’m okay with my 94 books read but am hoping that I manage to read 100 this year.

What helped me have that many books completed was reading a bunch of comics and listening to a lot of audiobooks. I read the most in April, completing 22 books, many of which were single-issue comics because I’d rediscovered my Comixology account and binged on all the free comics they had available. The OWLs Magical Readathon also took place that month, so I read a lot for that. I read a lot in November, completing 16 books. I spent that month listening to a good bit of audiobooks and running through the entire Wicked + the Divine comic book series, which was fantastic. August comes in third with 12 books read. I think I hit such a high number then because I was participating in the NEWTs Magical Readathon.

It may seem like January, February, May, and October were my worst reading months — I completed 4 books in each of those months — but that’s average for me if all I’m reading is novels and audiobooks aren’t included. So 2020 was a great and very unusual reading year.

Book Type

Novel = 51
Comic Book = 14
Graphic Trade = 14
Picture Book = 6
Novella = 4
Short Story = 4
Novelette = 1

Seeing that I managed to read 94!! books, it’s no surprise that many of them were comics (meaning single-issue comics) and graphic trades (which includes comic book volumes, graphic novels, and mangas). I got through 51 novels thanks to audiobooks, which I use to reread books these days.

I confused myself when considering what should be listed as “short story” and messed up the numbers there, but I didn’t realize it until after I made all these pretty graphs and I damn sure wasn’t going to redo them, so I’m keeping the messed up numbers. It doesn’t change that I read 94!! things. But basically, I listed some books as “short story” when they were actually an anthology, so I should have either placed it in the novel category (because all the stories together amount to novel length) or have made anthology a category.

In case you were wondering (which you probably weren’t but future me certainly will be), I started 23 series, have 30 ongoing (based on books I read in 2020), and completed 7. But I don’t trust these numbers because I reread a lot of stuff in 2020 and know for sure that I only completed 1 series and started many, so I have a bunch ongoing.

Page Length

The majority of things I read were of average to short lengths. But (because I’m in the midst of working my way through the Wheel of Time), I managed to complete one book that’s over 1,000 words (hint — it’s the longest book I read this year) and a few other long ones (which were probably all the Robin Hobb books I reread).

I didn’t do a graph for it (because I got tired), but if you were wondering (future me, I KNOW you are), the majority of stuff I read were published in the early to current 2000s. I read 10 books that were published in the 1990s and two that were published in the 1980s. I also managed to read two books that were published before the 1900s, and I bet they are the only two classics I managed to read this year (a short collection by Edgar Allan Poe and a snippet from Herodotus’s book). (Future me — read more dusty books.)

Rating

5 stars = 22
4.5 stars = 6
4 stars = 17
3.5 stars = 14
3 stars = 20
2.5 stars = 10
2 stars = 5
1.5 stars = 0
1 star = 0

Well look at that! I didn’t give out any 1-star ratings in 2020. That’s even more evidence that 2020 was just a great year for reading (despite all the slumps). I gave out a lot more 5-star ratings than I did in 2019, and same too for the 4-, 3.5-, and 3-star ratings. A couple books displeased me, so they got 2 stars, but none were so horrible that I give it a 1-star rating. How great is that?!

Author countries

No surprise here that I read a bunch of books by authors from the U.S with the U.K. coming in second. I also read books by authors from these countries:

Australia
Canada
Greece
Ireland
Jamaica
Japan
Mexico
Nigeria
Trinidad & Tobago

Okay. I’m done. If you read or skimmed all that, thank you! I appreciate you. You are wonderfully awesome! 😀


Reading plans for the new year

Spend less.
Read more of my own books.


The Books of 2020

14 thoughts on “Reflecting on 2020: Reading

  1. loved this post! I enjoy seeing everyone´s stats haha!
    I totally agree, the Robin Hobb audiobooks have amazing narrators!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    Like

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