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?