Hello bookworms!! Welcome to the 2020 wrap-up!!
I can’t believe we’re already in February 2021. I feel like by the time I get to doing to wrap-up for this year it’ll be June 2022… BUT, we’re here now and I’m ready and raring to go. Well… maybe not ‘raring’ per se. But I’m ready. I’m also expecting this to take me forever to write. So while I am starting to write this at the beginning of February, I can’t see it being posted in the first week.
Also, please forgive me for all the stats and data. This is one of the only posts per year where I can go full data nerd and look for trends, so I absolutely indulge in this. Oh, and FYI, this is going to be a long post, so apologies in advance!
2020 reading statistics wrap-up
I read a grand total of 111 books in 2020. It wasn’t quite as impressive as my total in 2019 of 122 books. Buuuuut, I still hit my goal of 100, so I really can’t complain.
Books read per month
In 2019 I had the best reading month in December. I think I read like 18 books in one month. And I had a slump in May/June, although the lowest amount of books I read in a month was 6.
Last year, 2020, I had my slump at the end of the year, reading only 2 books in December. I also read the most books in June… Which is basically the opposite. I was hoping to be able to compare and contrast, but all I can really tell from this is that my slumps and great reading months aren’t seasonal.
Books by genre
In 2019 my top 3 genres were fantasy, contemporary and romance, in that order. This year we’ve had a change of order with romance first, followed by fantasy, then contemporary.
While I certainly knew that I was reading more romance last year – we all needed a bit of happy escapism – and real life was certainly enough fantasy for me, I don’t think I recognised how much this would affect all my stats. You will be able to see the effects of this later with a higher number of ebooks and adult books in the below tables.
Additionally, while I didn’t read any historical fiction or thriller books, I decided to keep them in the graph to compare against for future years.
Books by age group
I have noticed that my reading of YA books has been steadily declining over the past few years. In 2018 78% of my read books were in the Young Adult / New Adult age group, and in 2019 it was 59%. In 2020 only 43% of the books I read were YA/NA.
However, due to the increase in middle grade books that I read (10 more than last year), Adult books also sat under halfway at 48%.
After a closer inspection, the majority of Adult books that I read were romances, so this is definitely aligning with that change in stats from above.
Books by page length
Total pages read in 2020 was 33,239, with an average of 302 pages per book. This is less than the 38,094 pages read in 2019 (as expected), with average page count being 312.
I have no idea what made up the 5 books under 100 pages though, as I don’t remember reading any comics in 2020. I’m also a little disappointed that I didn’t read anything over 600 pages – something I’ve already achieved in 2021. But again, I’ve kept the stats in to compare with over future years.
Books by rating
In 2019 I was slightly mad and recorded an initial rating, and then a secondary rating much later after reading to see if I still felt the same. I think it taught me how to rate better, rather than just riding the high of a good ending. 2020 was the year of simplicity though as I cut this right back to just one rating. I also got rid of half stars when I went self-hosted and changed the look of the blog.
My average book rating in 2020 was 3.7 – rounded to a 4. It’s pretty close to my final average for 2019 which was 3.8. Again, I would say this is related to the huge number of romance books that I read, but also to the fact where I didn’t enjoy fantasy as much in 2020. And since we were basically living in a dystopian world, that’s really not surprising.
Reread vs new reads
Well, at least I hit 1 goal of rereading more books in 2020. In 2019 I only managed to reread 6 books, but I doubled in 2020 with 13. Yes, it’s still a small number, but I found that rereading some favourites by audiobook when I was doing puzzles and arts and crafts while we were in lockdown helped.
I did my annual reread of The Scorpio Races, and I reread Nevermoor and Wundersmith in anticipation of Hollowpox coming out (although it was then bumped 6 months). I’m still continuing with my reread of the Shadowhunters Mortal Instruments series, as I haven’t read it since City of Heavenly Fire came out in 2014. I’m still part way through City of Lost Souls, but I plan on finishing soon so I can read the rest of the world.
Series vs Standalone
I almost didn’t report on this one because it’s something that I left out of my 2019 wrap-up, although I did talk about it in my 2018 wrap-up (where did it disappear to??). In 2018 I read 76 : 24 series vs standalone. In 2019 I read 73 : 27, and in 2020 the ratio was 80 : 20.
Given how little fantasy that I read in 2020, I would say that this has to be related to those romance series that more are “in the same world” as opposed direct sequels. This lines up when I go back and look at the 7 books that I read in the Pucked series by Helena Hunting, and 9 from the Signs of Love series by Anyta Sunday. There were still some direct sequels there, such as the 5 Soulbound books by Hailey Turner and the 7 Amulet books, but this was a lower number than other years.
Surprising absolutely no one, my highest read year of publication was 2020. Which is just weird, because whenever I go to vote for books in the Goodreads and Jazz awards, I always feel like I haven’t read any of the books.
What probably was surprising was that the oldest books I read came out in 2007 – only 13 years earlier. I read Seven Days and City of Bones that both came out that year. I do need to start reading older books again, and I really need to read from my backlist more.
Format is where we keep seeing that romance shift in stats. Because I primarily read romance through my Kindle Unlimited subscription, eBooks for 2020 are the highest format. And because I was rereading a lot via audiobook that is also higher than normal.
But I think what’s more surprising is how low physical copies are, leaving out graphic novels. In 2019 50% of the books that I read were either hardcover or paperbacks. In 2020, this number dropped to 37%. Even if I added physical graphic novels back in (they were all physical in 2020), that only increases the number to 54% which is surprisingly low. What this really means is that I’m not reading my backlist books at all, and digital books got me through 2020.
Author by gender
This is where my simplicity went out the window. In 2020 I decided to look at author gender by both, per book, and per author. To break this down, I read 4 Cassandra Clare books in 2020. When calculating gender per book, Clare gets 4 points in the female column. When I break it down by per author, it means that she only gets counted once. The purple graph is per book, and the green is per author.
Surprising absolutely no one, I read more female authors than anything else. What is interesting (to me), is how much the male author percentage goes down when you compare by per author. I actually went back and looked because I thought I couldn’t figure out how this changed so dramatically. However, while I read 20 books by male authors, I only read from 7 male authors. This was primarily from me reading the graphic novels. For example, I read 7 Amulet volumes, all by Kazu Kibuishi, 3 Avatar: The Last Airbender volumes by Gene Luen Yang, and 3 Rat Queens volumes by Kurtis J Wiebe. In terms of doubles for novels, I read 2 books by L. C. Rosen.
New author vs previously read
Following on from above, I read 59 individual^ authors in 2020. This is far down from the 72 that I read in 2019. Of the 59, I had read books by 27 of them previously, meaning that 32 of them were new (to me) authors. This is actually a really high percentage as it’s over 50%. I read a number of debut authors which accounts for some of this, but I also read a number of backlist books that were from new (to me) authors.
^ ‘individual’ can also mean duo if they wrote as a team. I just mean individual as in, I didn’t count any authors twice.
In 2020 I hauled (purchases, gifts and review books) 215 books. So much for my keeping to 10 or less books per month in 2020. My average books per month was actually 18 – disgraceful!! I think there were two months during the year where I actually hit my target: January and November; but the rest was shameful.
June and December cover my birthday months, which means that July and August also get boosted from leftover postage (international during COVID has been awful). March was due to my huge second-hand book spree. But yeah, there’s no excuse for this since I only read 111, which is only slightly over half of what I received.
Already owned vs newly bought
This is new graph for 2020, and one that I was really interested in trying since I wanted to compare how many books I was reading that I had started the year owning vs how many I was reading that I purchased / received in 2020.
Once I took out Kindle Unlimited and reread books, I was left with 60 physical books on my read pile for 2020 (hardcover, paperback and graphic novels). While just over half (31 of 60) were ‘backlist books’, only 5 of the physical books that I read in 2020 were books that I had purchased prior to 2020.
This is actually the worst stat of all of my stats. Because it means that I’m not reading books that I bought in previous years. I’m focusing on all the new and shiny things, and that’s not helping my TBR at all.
2020 top books wrap-up
Yes, I have already done by Top 5 books of 2020 earlier this year, but I wanted to recap this again, and maybe throw in some extras.
I don’t include rereads in my top books of each year, otherwise The Scorpio Races would be in my list every year, I do want to acknowledge that these books played a significant part in my 5 star ratings of 2020. I rated 20 books 5 stars in 2020, and of these 5 were rereads. That’s 25% of my top books of the year, which is fairly significant.
Top 5 fantasy / sci-fi
As much as I didn’t read a LOT of fantasy in 2020, I did manage to read some fantastic stories. I don’t often merge these genres, but I only read 2 sci-fi books in 2020, and I had to include 1 on the list. And then I really only had a top 4 fantasy (excluding rereads), so it all works out!! The below aren’t in any order as such, as I find it really hard to compare and rank books that I love.
Hollowpox: The Hunt for Morrigan Crow – Jessica Townsend
I am so unbelievably happy that this series continues to deliver amazing stories. Just in case you are new here, I read Nevermoor and Wundersmith in 2019 and feel in love so hard with this series.
Hollowpox was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020, and even though it got pushed back from a February release to August, and then September, it didn’t take away any of the enjoyment I had reading it. I still haven’t written a review for it, but it IS coming, I promise!!
An Ember in the Ashes – Sabaa Tahir
This was one of the books that knocked my socks off in 2020. I read it back in January with the intention of reading the rest of the series slowly over the year until book 4 was due to come out in December. But on reading this one, I knew that I would want to binge read the rest of the series, and I didn’t know how long it would take to get a matching paperback cover for the final book. Spoiler, I still don’t have one.
Tahir has created this amazingly detailed world, full of intricacies and real characters that you could just reach out and touch. I think this is going to become one of my all-time favourites, with the likes of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and the Iskari trilogy.
The Bear and the Nightingale – Katherine Arden
I had a very high expectation of this book, which is part of the reason that I put it off for so long. This Slavic folklore inspired story has some of my favourite myths in it, such as the Domovoi (house spirits) and Morozko (the frost demon).
It’s such a beautiful story, although it paints a very grim (and likely realistic) view of living in a medieval village in 14th century Rus which I know a lot of people who read this weren’t prepared for.
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories – Holly Black
Yes, yes. We all know that I am Jardan trash, but I genuinely loved this story. Holly Black has this masterful way of turning what I thought was going to be extra chapters based on Cardan’s point of view, into a whole other story.
Yes, we get to see some of this, but the primary story thread running through this novella is about Cardan and his run-ins (for lack of a better word) with a troll named Aslong over the course of his life. It shows how lessons you are taught as a child can impact your way of thinking as you grow older. It was a really beautiful story.
Aurora Rising – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Yes, I finally read this book, a year later than everyone else. To be honest I was planning to read this AND Aurora Burning, but after seeing everyone else screaming into the abyss after reading book 2, I decided to leave it until we were closer to book 3.
As usual, Amie and Jay can do no wrong together. I’m not entirely certain that I will love this story as much as I do The Illuminae Files, but I really hope that I am surprised!!
Top 5 contemporary / romance
While I acknowledge that I read a lot of ‘good’ (3 star) romance books in 2020, I am also aware of how many exceptional ones that I read – which was a fair few. I do usually bundle contemporary and romance books together (although I know I shouldn’t), because it’s so much easier when they usually combine elements of both.
The Switch – Beth O’Leary
Firstly I just want to say that I also read The Flatshare in 2020. I loved them both, but ultimately for me, The Switch just edges in front. I don’t want to duplicate authors here, so yes, The Flatshare should also be here, but it’s not.
Secondly, I could not have loved The Switch any more than I did. This book stole my whole heart with its characters. The drama was wholesome in a way that a lot of books aren’t, and the settings were so vivid. Would 100% adopt Eileen as my grandmother.
It Sounded Better in my Head – Nina Kenwood
OMG my heart just absolutely surges when I think about this book. It gave me Looking for Alibrandi vibes, and took me right back to the feels I had in high school. I honestly felt like Kenwood really captured the essence of not knowing who you really were in that between high school and university.
I plan to read this book again in 2021, just because I loved it so much. Also partially because I still haven’t written my review for it, and this book absolutely deserves me to scream about it.
Jack of Hearts (and Other Parts) – L. C. Rosen
You are probably sick of listening to me scream about this one, but… too bad. I fell in love with this book in 2020, and I fell HARD. I picked this up after reading a review copy of Camp by the same author, and Rosen is now an auto-buy for me.
Both books are queer contemporary YA fiction, and Rosen is an #ownvoices author. There are strong themes of bullying and harassment, blackmail and the effects of these on mental health in this book, so please be careful of triggers. But I also think it’s a really important story, and it’s written so beautifully. If you have or know a young queer kid in your life, or are one, I could not recommend this book more.
Loveless – Alice Oseman
I also had Heartstopper Volume 3 on my list, but decided to go with Loveless instead. I am also aware of the controversy surrounding this book, but I think it has important messages too.
Yes, Georgia, the MC absolutely fucks up in this story. She does some really mean things to her friends in the name of figuring out who she is. But to me, the point of the story is that she learns from this, and she tries to make amends. No one is infallible, and to put fictional characters on a pedestal that we wouldn’t be on takes away from how you can learn things through empathy. And I believe this story has a lot of important messages.
Date Me, Bryson Keller – Kevin van Whye
Am I 100% here for all the queer contemporary books? Yes, I am. I’m also here for all the controversial ones too, it seems. I’m going to discuss the controversy around this one in a separate post. It’s something I’ve been working on (albeit slowly) since I finished Seven Days in October.
However, I absolutely adored this book. I thought I would based on the premise, but it was easily one of my fave review books of the year. The story is amazingly wholesome, and I’m glad it took a different path to books like Autoboyography. I genuinely hope that van Whye writes many more books in years to come.
2020 goals wrap-up
I had a lot of goals for 2020. The year went so sideways for most of us, that it’s part of the reason that I haven’t really formalised my goals for 2021. I mean, who needs that kind of pressure?!! However, I do want to see if I achieved any of them, as this will likely decide on how many I put in place for 2021!! (Yes, even though we are now halfway through February…)
- Read 100 books ✅
- Clear the ARC backlog 🚫
- Re-read Austen (or more classics in general) 🚫
Oh, wow… Ummm… can we skip this section?!! While I think my goal of clearing the ARC backlog was admirable, I really didn’t even get close. In fact, I think I only made it worse.
I did watch a lot of Austen adaptations. I know it’s not quite the same, but I’ll take my period pieces where I can at the moment!!
- Publish 20 posts per month 🚫
- 1,250 followers 🚫
- Average monthly views of 2,500 🚫
- Figure out which type of posts I enjoy most / try something different each month 🚫
- Re-vamp a bit. Get that header you’ve been meaning to do ✅
LOL. I mean, some of it was achievable, but 20 posts per month definitely did not happen!! I am not upset about any of this though. 2020 was a hard year, and to be honest, I’m pretty proud that I didn’t just give up on things.
One thing that I am really proud of doing with my blog, which isn’t listed here, is that I went self-hosted in March 2020. And with the massive help of Kat @ Novels and Waffles, the whole blog got a makeover. So I definitely got that header, but I also feel like I ‘exceeded expectations’ on that one.
I also took over Top 5 Tuesday from the amazing Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm when she decided to move to booktube, so that has been a wonderful and rewarding experience.
- Post 156 times on bookstagram (equivalent of 3 times per week) 🚫
- 2,000 followers 🚫
- Post minimum 1 story per week ✅
Again, the posting is out the window as I only posted 56 times in 2020. However, I got really caught up on how my aesthetic looked in 2020, and it wasn’t what I wanted, so I decided to try some things. I have to say that I absolutely LOVE my new theme. I felt like ALL rainbow was too much for me, and I missed my flat-lays, so I really feel like this is great mix of the two.
Also, I actually posted a story every week, and most weeks I posted a minimum of 5 stories. I am shocked!! And, after finishing 2019 with a total following of 1,274, I’m pleased to say that I finished 2020 with 1,560. So it’s not like I didn’t grow my followers.
But most importantly, I met some really beautiful people who have since become an amazingly close-knit group of friends and support network. When the world went to shit, and Australia along with it, we came together to form a virtual bookclub, and they are now people that I talk to every day. I don’t think I could have gotten through half of 2020 without them, and that’s better than any statistics and follower growth.
- 500 followers 🚫
- Start a books read in 2020 thread (and maintain it) 🚫
- Engage more 🤷🏻♀️
LOL. Just no. As much as I want to like it, I really am finding that Twitter is not for me. I mean, it’s where I get some of my news from, and the people I engage with there are beautiful souls. But I also find that they seem to be exception to the rule. So much of that space is negative, so I don’t often find myself spending a lot of time there.
I did finish the year with 254 followers, which is higher than last year. Although I have no idea what by because I didn’t post it in my 2019 wrap-up.
- Paint and re-carpet the apartment 🔄
- Put up photos and shelving 🔄
- Get actual outdoor furniture ✅
- Stop putting off doctor appointments ✅
- Be healthier 🔄
- Do 1 (minimum) fitness thing per week 🚫
So, this one isn’t a complete throw-away which is nice. We bought a gorgeous outdoor setting that turned the balcony into an extension of the lounge room. We also painted half the apartment, but there’s still 3 rooms to go and the staircase which we will need to get professionals in to do. And I don’t want to carpet until we finish painting, so that’s on hold. I was also inspired by The Home Edit to redo the entire pantry. So while I didn’t finish with the photos and shelving, we definitely made progress.
I also stopped putting off specialist appointments, so that’s great. I see my GP more regularly, and we have plans in place for future health stuff as well. Although, I didn’t get out for fitness activities as much as I should have in 2020. That was partly due to the smoke from the bushfires, and then we were in lockdown for COVID. But, I did buy a treadmill in December so keep your fingers crossed that I’ll be good this year.
All in all, 2020 wasn’t the year that I hoped it would be. But I think that’s fairly true across the board for humanity, so I’m not beating myself up about it. I have a job and a home, and more books than I can read in a single year, so it wasn’t a complete disaster. I have a lot to be thankful for.
This has been the most ridiculously long post ever, so thank you for being here if you made it this far. I wish I could offer you some baked goods IRL, but since I can’t, please accept these virtual cookies, fresh from the oven.
How was your 2020 wrap-up?