Despite being a truly horrible year, reading-wise it has been marvellous. Once again, I kept my reading challenge to read and review at least 100 books, which I achieved by reading 184 books with 155 full reviews written, though 23 have yet to be published.
I have read 111 books by female authors and 75 by men – the sharp-eyed among you will have notice that adds up to 186, but there were two books in this year’s list with joint authorship – Sacred Bride by David Hair and Cath Mayo and Sweep with Me by Ilona Andrews, which is a husband and wife writing team. I am happy with that ratio, given that male authors still get higher priority in bookshops and more prestigious reviews, especially in SFF.
In a related challenge I set myself the task of reading at least two books a month by female authors. I managed to read 35 books in this category, which is 19% of my 2019 reading list, while 9% of books were by male authors I hadn’t previously read, which means that 28% of the books I read last year were by authors new to me. This is in contrast with last year’s 37% – but I’m not going to get unduly worried about that. I was in survival mode for quite a lot of the year, and reading was one of my main ways of keeping stress levels at bay. I wasn’t in the mood to experiment – indeed I was expecting this number to be lower.
I had originally intended to cut right back of review copies during 2020, and focus on tucking into my disgracefully large TBR. But once Lockdown hit, that went out of the window. Apart from anything else, a lot of wonderful books from authors I already knew and loved suddenly appeared on Netgalley. And as you can see – I went a bit overboard with requesting new arcs, as I reviewed 81 newly released books. I also bought 59 new books and only read a measly 41 books from my TBR pile. As for library books – that was also a complete bust, but in my defence, our library has been closed most of the year. I am going to try and read more books I already own – but to be honest, until the pandemic subsides, I’m giving myself a pass.
As you can see, I read 157 ebooks, 3 print books and listened to 24 audiobooks. Again, I had intended to read more of our print books that we own during 2020 – another target that went out of the window during Lockdown. And yes… while I appreciate that I do need to knuckle down and read more of them, right now, I find it far easier to read ebooks. So until things ease up, that’s what I’ll do. The one surprise is the fact I read far fewer audiobooks than last year, but that is because I tend to select large, hefty tomes to listen to while I’m houseworking. Whereas last year, I was working my way through my young grandson’s audiobook list of children’s and YA listens which were a great deal shorter.
In 2020 I read 59 science fiction books, 68 fantasy books, 27 crime adventures, 1 contemporary fiction, 21 historical books, 1 non-fiction book and 27 children’s books. Science fiction includes sub-genres such as space opera, colony adventures, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic, time travel, alternate history, military, futuristic crime, literary and steampunk. Fantasy includes sub-genres such as epic, urban, swords and sorcery, musket and magic, sand and sorcery, underworld, historical, grimdark and coming of age. I am still working my way through Frank’s audiobook library, which was mostly fantasy, but decided to take those out of the equation by putting them in a separate category. Even so, fantasy still is my most popular genre, followed by sci fi.
I have read 37 books by small presses and self-published authors, which is only 20% of my 2020 reading list. I think this low number has been skewed by my increased numbers of review copies from Netgalley which are most usually offered by traditional publishers. And yes – this is a number I would like to improve upon, but I’m refusing to consider any such target until Life gets a whole lot easier.
Did you find the situation last year impacted your reading patterns, too?
I love these pie chart stats, I’m hoping to be able to do something like this next year:-) Congrats on your reading last year, I’m so impressed with the numbers!
Thank you, Tammy:). It speaks to the nerd in me and I’m delighted that I can play with pie-charts:)). I must admit, I was a bit surprised with my reading numbers last year – but it was the lockdown and not going out that did it!
I had to smile when I saw the proportion between new releases and TBR books, because it’s the same for me: no matter how I promise myself to draw my next read from the huge pile of my TBR, I am invariably distracted by some new title and oh-so-easily forget my previous good intentions… 🙂
*groans* Oh, I know! And last year was worse than ever… but as I said – I’m going to give myself a pass until the pandemic passes, along with other complicating factors that are currently blighting our lives. Reading is a hobby and an escape and if I choose to buy faaar too many books and not read them – that’s my business! (Did that come across as overly defensive? Hm – I think it might have done… oops!)
I really enjoyed reading your stats! I tend to read mostly on my kindle too and always end up reading a lot of new releases despite wanting to focus on my backlist titles… I don’t have issues getting my female authors in myself, but that is probably because my dominant genre is thriller/crime and apparently I prefer female authors for those even though I don’t actively pick books depending on the gender of the author.
Thank you for your reply, Yvonne – I’m always fascinated by how other readers approach their books. I started being mindful about the gender of authors I read, back in 2015 when I assumed I read more women authors – until I discovered that I didn’t. And that they were at a disadvantage within the SFF genre. It has now changed to some extent – particularly in Fantasy – but as a keen SFF fan and writer, I was determined to be mindful in my book choices.
Covid at least had one good side : I read more ! Last year was the first time I read all the books on my library card that ended up empty, and I mean the first time ever. In 2021, I hope I’ll be able to do the same with my physical TBR – you know, resisting new releases ^^
Oh, you are so much better than me!! I was so stressed and then became drawn to the new and shiny… Not that I’m shallow in any way. At all. Much…
I love seeing posts where people combine their stats for the year! I plan on doing something like this for 2021. I love that you read mostly ebooks this year! I wish I would stop overburdening myself with print and read more ebooks – they’re so much more convenient.
Thank you, Dani:)). It took a couple of years, but these days, there are only a handful of books I’d even consider buying in print. They are convenient – and also you can change the font to make it bigger. A major consideration for my tired eyes:). But there’s no doubt that reading an ebook is quite a different experience from reading a print version.
I should check my stats but I’m afraid to. I know I was way off on my reading, and even more with my reviewing.
I think you need to be kind to yourself – and that includes deciding NOT to check too closely on those stats if it will only wind you up, so wise choice, Laura:)).
This made interesting reading.
Thank you, Rae:)
Great effort! I’m finding it hard to make the time to read as I’m always writing!
Many thanks for stopping by my travel and photography blog – much appreciated.
You’re very welcome – and I know what you mean about balancing writing and reading… It can be a challenge.
It’s great seeing all these statistics in such a pleasing way – I’m hopeless and not organised enough to do so although I do promise myself every year that I’ll do better.
I have a rather nerdy list I keep of all my reads which I use at the end of the year to compile these pie-charts… Not sure what it says about me, except perhaps that I’m just a bit too focused on my reading hobby!
I LOVE statistics!
Yes… they can be useful in giving an overview of what is going on, which is difficult to do during the day to day reads and aspirations…
A good post! Your pie charts are great. I always think I’ll figure out how to do something like that, but I don’t get it done. And this year I haven’t even posted my end of year stuff yet. Hopefully, that will get done this next week.
Thank you, Jan! I look forward to reading your 2020 list:)).
HELLOOOOOO! I’m trying to get back to catching up with you and other lovely souls. 🙂 Reading goals? I’m eager to diversify my reading, too. It’s going to be exciting, I think!
Lovely to see you again, my friend:))). I hope all is well with you, too. There are so many marvellous books out there, right now!
So happy to be here! I have my stumbles finding my groove, but I WILL find it. 🙂
I’m sure you will, given your writing talent:))
Aaaw, shucks. You just gave me smiles in my heart for the whole day 🙂