Reflecting on 2021: Reading

Although 2020 was a great reading year for me, I was hoping 2021 would be an even better one. But it wasn’t. Sure, I managed to pass my Goodreads reading goal of 50 books, but I only did so by reading 16 books over my goal. I was secretly hoping for much more than that.

It’s not that I was pressuring myself to read much more than 50 books. I try not to pressure myself about reading because otherwise the hobby won’t be fun anymore. It’s just that I was expecting (hoping) for a reading year that was similar to 2020, when I read 90+ things. But while I used reading to cope with 2020’s reality, I guess the stress and worries of 2021 were too much (especially when added to those carried over from 2020); so instead of reading helping me to cope, I slowly began to lose interest in the activity as a reading slump took over. The more stressful things became for me, the less I read until I wasn’t reading much at all in December. I’m just now turning back to books.

So 2021 wasn’t at all the reading year I was hoping for, but I’m still curious to see what my reading stats were for it. If you are interested in such stuff too, read on.

ALSO SEE

ZeZee’s Favorite Reads of 2021
ZeZee’s Most Memorable Reads of 2021
ZeZee’s Most Disappointing Reads of 2021


FAVORITES OF THE BUNCH

BOOKS

In the Garden of Spite
Kushiel’s Chosen
Cinnamon and Gunpowder
The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry
Paladin of Souls

Comics & Picture Books

Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile
Milo Imagines the World
DCeased
Ramayana: Divine Loophole
Park Bench

Articles

(I didn’t read many articles, so I only have one.)

Going In-Depth: A Seat at the Table: The Importance of Black Representation in Nerd Culture (blackgirlnerds.com)

An opinion piece on Black folks participating in nerd culture and the push-back they receive

“When the representation of your culture is prevalent, your existence is normalized, therefore eliminating the feelings of alienation or unconventionality. In simple terms, representation shows people, ‘We belong here.’”

Podcasts

Dateable (dateablepodcast.com)

Marlon and Jake Read Dead People (readitforward.com/deadpeoplepod)

Khadija Mbowe: Race-Baiting, Queer-Baiting, Colorism, Featurism, and Performative Diversity (youtube.com)

TV Shows

Bridgerton, season 1
Punisher, seasons 1 & 2
Kingdom, seasons 1 & 2
The Boys, season 2
Schitt’s Creek, season 6

Movies

Knives Out [rewatch]
Rush [rewatch]
Gladiator
Blood Red Sky
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before


Least Liked

Books

The Other Black Girl
Wrapped Up in You
Grave Mercy
The Beautiful Ones
The Colour of Magic

Comics & Picture Books

The Adventures of Rama
Marvel 1602, #1
Assassin Nation, Vol. 1: Number One With a Bullet

Did Not Finish

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
Kink: Stories edited by R.O. Kwan & Garth Greenwell
The Dangers of Smoking in Bed: Stories by Mariana Enríquez, transl. by Megan McDowell
My Heart Is a Chainsaw by Stephen Graham Jones
A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin (attempted reread)


BEST STORIES

Books

Kushiel’s Chosen
Paladin of Souls
In the Garden of Spite
Cinnamon and Gunpowder
The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry

Comics & Picture Books

Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile
DCeased
Park Bench
Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu
Conspiracy of Ravens

BEST WRITING

Cinnamon and Gunpowder
Paladin of Souls
In the Garden of Spite
Kushiel’s Chosen
Black Buck

Best Narration (audiobooks)

A Game of Thrones [reread] — narr. by Roy Dotrice
Eragon [reread] — narr. by Gerard Doyle
The Goblin Emperor [reread] — narr. by Kyle McCarley
Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow [reread] — narr. by Gemma Whelan
The Duke and I — narr. by Rosalyn Landor

Best Illustrations (comics & illustrated books)

Ramayana: Divine Loophole
1602: Witch Hunter Angela
The Widow’s Broom
Deadpool: World’s Greatest, Vol. 1: Millionaire With a Mouth
Moonstruck, Vol. 2: Some Enchanted Evening

Most Outstanding Character(s)/People

Phèdre from Kushiel’s Chosen
Delly from The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry
Sand dan Glokta from The Blade Itself
Chef Owen Wedgwood from Cinnamon and Gunpowder
Pirate Hannah Mabbot from Cinnamon and Gunpowder

Great Worldbuilding

Kushiel’s Chosen
Paladin of Souls
Before the Devil Breaks You
Renegade’s Magic
Raybearer

Most Fitting Titles

DCeased
In the Garden of Spite
Paladin of Souls
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires
The Secret Lives of Church Ladies

Most Unique/Impactful Stories

Black Buck [impactful]
DCeased [unique]
Park Bench [unique]

Awesome Covers

The Beautiful Ones
The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry
DCeased
1602: Witch Hunter Angela
Oona


Reading Challenges Hits ‘n’ Misses

**2021 reading challenges announcement**

GOODREADS CHALLENGE

Goal: 50
Read: 66
Success or Fail

Books I MUST Read in 2021

Goal: 8
Read: 0
Success or Fail

Read Some Comics/Graphic Novels

Goal: 20
Read: 18
Success or Fail

Read some picture books

Goal: 8
Read: 10
Success or Fail

Pick Up a Classic

Goal: 4
Read: 0
Success or Fail

Three Terrifying Reads

Goal: 3
Read: 3
Success or Fail

Where Are the Middle Grade Ones?

Goal: 12
Read: 5
Success or Fail

Turtle Recall

Goal: 5
Read: 2
Success or Fail

Read My Own Stuff

Goal: 30
Read: 18
Success or Fail


READING STATS

Read = 66
Reread = 10
DNF = 7
**“Read” includes rereads.**

LONGEST | SHORTEST

A Clash of Kings = 1010 pages
Oona = 32 pages
**These picture books were also 32 pages long: The Widow’s Broom, The Tea Party in the Woods, The Way Home in the Night, The Storm.

Most Popular | Least Popular
**According to Goodreads**

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (MinaLima edition) = 10,405,868 people have shelved it
Grand Isle = 28 people have shelved it

Format

Physical = 41
E-books = 14
Audio = 11

Genre

Fantasy = 41
Contemporary = 6
Romance = 6
Horror = 3
Mystery = 2
Nonfiction = 2
Thriller = 2
Historical = 1
Humor = 1
Paranormal = 1
SciFi = 1

Age Group

Adult = 39
YA = 8
MG = 10
Kids = 9

Protagonist Gender

Female = 28
Male = 25
Ensemble = 12
Unknown = 1

Author Gender

Female = 35
Male = 28
Both = 2
Nonbinary = 1

Ownership

Mine (bought before January 1, 2021) = 18
New (bought on/after January 1, 2021) = 15
Library = 25
ARC = 7
Free = 0
Other Loan = 1


OTHER STATS

BOOKS BY MONTH

These numbers reflect well my reading struggles in 2021. The numbers for January to April show my typical reading numbers, while the sharp increase in May of 15 books read reflect my participation in Wyrd & Wonder. I always have a great time with that reading event. But after that, things got shaky.

June was another typical reading month, but July was a slump and the 3 books read reflects that. Things began to look up in August so that by September I felt as if I was back on track when I participated in the Magical Readathon, but struggles in my personal life seeped into my reading, so I only managed to read one thing in October, not much in November, and barely hit my average in December by rereading comfort reads via audiobooks.

66 isn’t a bad number. That’s still a lot of books read, but it’s been a rocky year reading-wise, so I kind of feel like I didn’t achieve much.

Book Type

Novel = 36
Graphic Trade = 17
Picture Book = 10
Comic Book = 1
Novella = 1
Anthology = 1

I’m plenty proud of myself that I managed to read 10 picture books. I own so many that I’d like to put a dent in that bit of my TBR and this is a start, although maybe half of that 10 are books from the library.

I now consider a single issue of a comic books as “Comic Book” and bounded volumes as “Graphic Novels.” I only read one single-issue comic last year. I hardly read those, however, because they are often so short. Although I didn’t hit my goal to read 20 comics, I’m happy that I read 18 of them. As with the picture books, I own many and would like to read a bunch of those I own.

Regarding series… I started many new ones in 2021 and completed only two.

Page Length

I mostly read books of average or short lengths. I hadn’t realized that until now (although StoryGraph kept telling me this was my preference, which I refused to believe… until now). These days, it seems that the longer books I read — those over 900 pages — are usually rereads. I’d like to change that and read more longer works.

As for the years the books were published, I read only one thing that was published in the 1980s, and that’s as far back as I went. Eight books were published in the 1990s, and everything else was published in the 2000s, the majority being in 2010 (33 books published then) and 2021 (18 books published then).

Rating

5 stars = 18
4.5 stars = 0
4 stars = 8
3.5 stars = 7
3 stars = 24
2.5 stars = 5
2 stars = 4
1.5 stars = 0
1 star = 0

It seems that I favored giving out 5 stars or 3 stars, so the books I read last year were either great or average reads. That’s good. I guess I read a decent bunch of books. I didn’t read any that was so horrid that I’d have to curse with just 1 star.

Author Countries

As is typical, I mostly read books by authors from the U.S. and the U.K. I seriously need to diversify more. I also read books by authors from these countries:

Canada
Australia
France
Belgium
Norway
Japan
Ireland
Mexico
New Zealand

That was a lot stuff. I don’t expect anyone to read it all, but whether you did or just skimmed, thank you. 🙂


READING PLANS FOR THE NEW YEAR

Spend less.
Read more of my own books.


THE BOOKS OF 2021

8 thoughts on “Reflecting on 2021: Reading

  1. What a great reading wrap-up. Sometimes I think I need to break down my own reading stats like you did here. That way I can figure out what I’m reading the most and what I could read more of. I definitely had some major reading slumps in 2021. I’ve also noticed over the past couple of years it’s harder for me to read larger novels. I think it’s a combo of being busier but everything that going on in the world too.

    Like

  2. It seems like you still had a good year but i totally feel that reading slump. I was hoping to catch up with so many books in December but my reading just went to pieces.
    Lynn 😀

    Like

  3. Wow, that’s a lot of stats you keep track of! How do you manage them? Spreadsheet, online? Here’s hoping 2022 is the beginning of something better, both in the world and your reading. 🙂

    Like

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