At the end of 2019, I was hopeful that the new year would bring more balance and less anxiety. That I would be able to shake the feelings of being overwhelmed and drained all the time. I think we all know how that turned out. Two thousand twenty came in and said, "You thought that was bad? Just wait!"
It really felt like my reading suffered this past year. But if you look at the total number, I read as many books as I did the year before. The difference though is in what I was reading. My personal mystery count was down this year. Cozies seemed to hold my attention more, and I could not stomach the darker themes of thrillers and police procedurals. As has been true for the past several years, half or so of my reading was dedicated to children's books or middle grade novels, most of which I read with my daughter. Mouse tends to be a reluctant reader, but if I suggest we read together, she's usually all in. I have enjoyed introducing her to my childhood favorites as well as discovering new books with her. I topped the year off with Debbie Tung's Book Love, full of humor and truisms for all us booklovers. It seemed a fitting way to end--celebrating my love for books.
page from Book Love, 2019
I think a lot of my reading this year was for escape, but there was also some time made for learning and self-reflection. Books helped me through this past year, and I look forward to seeing where this new year will take me in reading.
Some Fun Meaningless 2020 Reading Statistics:
Number Of Books Read: 101
Genre Read The Most:
(Some of what I read falls under more than one genre. Here, I count them under the genre I most identified with the book. Also of note, my categorization of each book by sub-genre using broad definitions).
Fiction - 41
- 17 Children’s
- 17 Middle Grade Contemporary
- 3 Adult Contemporary
- 2 Historical Middle Grade
- 1 YA
- 1 Short Story Collection
Fantasy/Science Fiction/Horror - 24
- 7 Fantasy
- 3 Science Fiction (1 Romance, 1 YA, 1 General)
- 3 Horror (2 Historical, 1 Contemporary)
- 3 Middle Grade
- 2 Historical Fantasy
- 2 Graphic Novel/Middle Grade
- 2 Children's Fantasy
- 1 Fantasy YA
- 1 Graphic Novel/YA
Crime Fiction/Mysteries - 22
- 10 Middle Grade (10 Paranormal)
- 8 Cozies (5 paranormal, 3 contemporary)
- 2 Historical
- 1 Thriller
- 1 Middle Grade (Contemporary)
Romance - 6
- 4 Contemporary
- 2 Paranormal/Fantasy
Nonfiction - 6 (4 Adult, 1 Children's, 1 Graphic Novel)
Poetry - 2
Of the book I read, 60 were print copies (hardcover or paperback), and 41 were e-books.
14 of the 101 books I read in 2020 were written by men.
85 of the 101 books I read were written by women.
2 of the 101 were written by both male and female writers.
54 of the books I read in 2020 were written in 3rd person point of view.
44 of the books I read were written in 1st person.
3 of the books I read were a mixture of both 1st and 3rd person.
Month I Finished the Most Books: January (13)
Month I Finished the Least Books: July (2)
Best In Books
Of the books I read in 2020 a few stood out above the rest. I tend to be led by emotions when choosing a favorite--how a book makes me feel counts for a lot. I also look for good writing, well-developed characters, a memorable setting and/or world building, and an entertaining and thought provoking story. Here is the list of my Top Ten Favorites for 2020:
(Click on the titles to be directed to my bookish thoughts; the covers take you to the books' Goodreads pages.)
All Around Top Five:
1. Wonder (Wonder #1) by R.J. Palacio
2. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
3. Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
4. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
* * *
Favorite Romance: Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis
Favorite Mystery: A Curious Beginning (Veronica Speedwell, #1) by Deanna Raybourn
Favorite Fantasy: Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1) by Rachel Caine
Best World Building: Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Favorite First in a Series: The Library of the Unwritten (Hell's Library #1) by A.J. Hackwith
I would love to know what your favorite reads of 2020 were! Please share a link to your favorite's list below if you posted one--or just tell me in the comments. Did we read any of the same books?
My Blogging Bookish Life
I published 109 blog posts in 2020. January was my most prolific month with 14 posts, and July and August tied for my slowest with only 3 posts each.
I really fell behind on my review writing this year. I hardly reviewed any of the middle grade novels I read and most of the reviews of books I posted in general came the second half of the year. Many of which I had read a month or two (or more) before. For quite a while there, just the act of getting on my computer for nonwork related stuff was a challenge. To use a phrase a friend and fellow blogger, Mystica, used, I felt like I was "drifting without any focus." Adjusting to working partially from home and helping with distance learning were among the biggest challenges that received most of what focus I had.
I know weekly/monthly memes get flack from some in the blogging community, but I appreciated them even more so this past year. In a time when many of us have been isolated, they gave me the opportunity to feel more connected with others and not feel so cut off from everyone and everything.
In 2020, I continued to take part in Michelle's My TBR List Meme at Because Reading, enlisting your help in choosing one book each month to read. I really enjoyed having you take an active part in selecting what I would read. It can be difficult to choose on my own with so many choices. You wouldn't believe the amount of time I can waste in deciding. Or maybe you can . . . I am grateful to Michelle for coming up with the idea. I plan to continue to participate in the meme in 2021, and hope you will join me!
Books Read Because Of You (My TBR List Poll Winners of 2020):
• January: An Easy Death (Gunnie Rose, #1) by Charlaine Harris
• February: Dear Martin by Nic Stone
• March: Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
• April: Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
• May: A Curious Beginning (Veronica Spellwell, #1) by Deanna Raybourn
• June: The Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock #1) by Sherry Thomas
• July: The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, translated by Philip Gabriel
• August: Ink and Bone (The Great Library, #1) by Rachel Caine
• September: The Rules of Magic (Practical Magic, #0.5) by Alice Hoffman
• October: A Deadly Education (Scholomance, #1) by Naomi Novik
• November: How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse (Thorne Chronicles #1) by K. Eason
• December: Royal Holiday (Wedding Date #4) by Jasmine Guillory
Outcome of My 2020 Reading Challenges & Bookish Goals:
1. Catch up with my NetGalley/Edelweiss reading ~ A continuing work in progress.
Poetry Reading Challenge hosted by Serena of Savvy Verse & Wit as inspiration. While I did not quite meet my personal goal, I did meet my goal for the challenge: to read one poetry collection during the year. I actually read two: Dog Songs by Mary Oliver and Girls Like Us by Elizabeth Hazen.
3. Keep a reading journal ~ My plan was to get back into keeping an actual reading journal beyond just the spreadsheets I keep with bookish minutia, a place where I jot down my thoughts on a book as I read or, at the very least, right after I finish a book, especially since I do not always get to review writing right away. Alas, it did not happen. Maybe in 2021?
4. Read more nonfiction ~ I signed up for the 2020 Nonfiction Reader Challenge hosted by Shelleyrae of Book'd Out with the goal to read at least three nonfiction books during the year, and I read six. I'm not sure any of them count though because I only reviewed one and another was a children's book and another a graphic novel. So while I may not have officially completed the challenge, I at least met my personal goal.
- Well-Read Black Girl by Gloria Edim (ed.)
- Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor by Layla F. Saad
- White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
- How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
- I Am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer & Christopher Eliopoulos
- Book Love by Debbie Tung
5. Goodreads Challenge ~ To read 13 books. I admit I do not always take this one very seriously. I try not to put too much weight on quantity. If I set myself a high goal, I would likely stress myself out trying to reach it. So, I generally set the number to something I know I can meet or aim ridiculously low. I usually will not adjust the number even when I meet it because I kind of like to see the percentage go over 100%. I reached 421% in 2020!
To see which reading challenges I am taking part in this year, visit here. I also made sure to set my Goodreads Challenge goal as well, of course.
It has been a difficult and frustrating year. I think most of us are glad to see its backside at last. Many of us have suffered loss and major lifestyle changes. I also realize how lucky I am compared to many others. I have a lot to be grateful for. I have no grand expectation for 2021. I do not expect it to be better or all that different than life is right now--at least not the first part of the year. I certainly do not want it to be worse. But what I do hope is for health and safety. For stability and to find joy wherever I can. To appreciate that which is in front of me. I wish this for all of us as we cautiously step foot into this New Year.
Thank you to all of you for your visits and comments this past year. It means so much to me. As my blog turns 15 this coming summer, I cannot be more proud to be a part of this wonderful community of book bloggers. I have enjoyed visiting with you and look forward to seeing what this year will bring us, both in books and in life.
How did your past year shape up? Did you accomplish your reading and blogging goals? Have you set any for the new year?
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