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2021 in Review – Stats and Goals

“Some people are born under a lucky star, while others have their misfortune telegraphed by the position of the planets.”

First line in Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

We might have reached the end of January 2022, but I’m still reviewing 2021, although, this is my last post about it (finally). We’ve made it to all the stats, so I’m gonna be throwing a lot of numbers at you, and for that I’m sorry but here we go.

First of all, I had an amazing year in terms of the number of books and pages read. I beat my own personal record by reading 67 books (the previous record was 65), and I read 29,779 pages which I also haven’t reached since I started tracking it. Out of the 67 books, 7 were rereads.

Some quick facts:

  • Average rating was 3.7
  • Shortest book I was read Deeds of Men by Marie Brennan (59 pages)
  • Longest book I read was Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson (1,232 pages)
  • Average lenght of the books I read was 437 pages
  • Most popular book was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (reread)
  • Least popular book was Daniel by Anne Christine Eriksen
  • Highest rated book I read was Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson (4.59) (that rating is way too high)

2021 might not have been my best reading year in terms of quality, but my average rating still comes out the same as always. Despite rating more books 1 or 2 stars, I actually had quite a few 4 stars as well and very few 3 stars, so it makes sense.

Moving on to genres, my chart looks like this:

The most interesting thing here is that I usually end up on exactly 75% fantasy, but I pushed it to 76% in 2021! I actually thought I’d read way more than that because I remember telling myself to read other genres as well several times throughout the year and then not doing it. I have quite a few books on my TBR that aren’t fantasy that I keep putting off because there’s always a fantasy series or two that take priority.

Then we have the gender of the authors I read:

Oops. I kinda spotted this trend halfway through the year where I just wasn’t reading male authors. I tried to read some more but the truth is they don’t exactly dominate my TBR, so I’m not really able to change this. I think I’ve fallen more and more out of love with those big, epic fantasy series (that men often write) and turned to the atmospheric and low fantasy stories (often written by women) instead. There’s not much I can do about that.

Then there is my ratio of Adult, YA and MG books:

Those 6% MG were all rereads, so I actually considered leaving them out, but I figured I still read them so they’re there. Other than that, this looks exactly like I want it to. Compared to previous years, I read more and more Adult every year, but I’m actually thinking that could stop now. I still have loads of YA books on my TBR so I see no reason why it shouldn’t.

I have Storygraph but I’m not including any of their stats because if you read my post about Storygraph reviews, you know I don’t exactly trust them. Fun challenge for anyone who’s read that post: Which mood do you think 53 of my 67 books were?

Did I Complete My Reading Goals?

My goals for 2021 consisted of a list of series and standalones that I wanted to get to last year, so I figured I’d go through the list and see what I managed and what I forgot.

  • The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb ✅
  • The Winnowing Flame by Jen Williams ✅
  • Shattered Realms by Cinda Williams Chima ❌ (DNF’d after the first book)
  • The Age of Darkness by Katy Rose Pool ❌
  • Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman ❌ (DNF’d after two books)
  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow ✅
  • The Book of Hidden Things by Francesco Dimitri ❌
  • The Betrayals by Bridget Collins ✅
  • Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia ✅
  • Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson ❌
  • The Absolutist by John Boyne ✅

Well, if you ignore the two series I DNF’d, then it’s not that bad. It’s funny, though, that the ones that I did read ended up either as my favorite books of the year or the absolutely most disappointing ones, so now I don’t know whether to be excited or scared about reading the remaining ones.

I also participated in the year-long Beat the Backlist reading challenge which was meant to help me read books published in 2020 or earlier. As it is with year-long challenges, I kinda forgot about it but I did manage to hit most of the prompts anyway, so here comes a list of the prompts and the book I read for each.

📚 Genre you never/rarely read: Lost Boy by Christina Henry (Horror)

📚 First line is less than 10 words (my kind of prompt): Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson (“Of course the Parshendi wanted to play their drums.”)

📚 Multiple points of view: The Ninth Rain by Jen Williams

📚 Non-binary protagonist: All Systems Red by Martha Wells (not sure if this counts, but the protagonist doesn’t identify as male or female)

📚 WTF plot twist: The Betrayals by Bridget Collins

📚 Person of the cover: Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima

📚 On the Indie Bestseller list in 2020 or earlier: The Martian by Andy Weir

📚 From your 2020 backlist TBR: The Archive of the Forgotten by A. J. Hackwith

📚 Cover features your favorite color prominently: A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir (purple)

📚 Character lets out a breath they didn’t realize they were holding: Call of the Bone Ships by RJ Barker

📚 Standalone: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

📚 Has a map: The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

📚 Good book, bad cover: Daniel by Anne Christine Eriksen (proof below)

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📚 Picked by a friend/trusted reviewer: Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (picked by friend)

📚 Banned book: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

📚 Set in a major city: The King of Crows by Libba Bray (New York)

📚 Caused a major book hangover: Any Way the Wind Blows by Rainbow Rowell

📚 Kept you up late reading: Assassin’s Quest by Robin Hobb

📚 A book with illustrations: The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

📚 Black and white: Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman

That left four prompts that I didn’t get to: Anthology, second book in a duology, book you forgot you had and more than one author. I did read an anthology and the second book in a duology but they were both published in 2021 and therefore I technically can’t count them for this challenge. But like with the other two prompts, I didn’t have anything on my TBR that could fit (and I don’t forget books I own), so this is as good as it was ever going to get. Which I’m still quite proud of. Mainly proud of how I managed to keep track of this throughout the year, to be honest, but it was fun.

2022 Goals

I’ve decided not to have any reading goals in 2022 except for my Goodreads challenge of 60 books. It had long been a goal of mine to beat that record of 65, so now that I’ve done that, I’m going to be much more chill about it. There’s no way I’m ever going to beat 67 unless I change my reading habits drastically, so there’s no use in trying. It’s not that important. Maybe even 60 will be too much for me because I haven’t had a promising start to the year so far.

Anyway, I’m not listing a bunch of books I want to get to this year because despite how much it helps me pick up some books that have been on my TBR for a while, it also felt a bit restraining and even stressful towards the end of the year. So I’m trying a year of mood reads. Who knows, maybe the planning will make a comeback next year.
And just to be clear, this also means I won’t be taking part in any year-long reading challenges like Beat the Backlist.

It might sound like a cliché but I want to spend 2022 on myself. In September, I started seeing a therapist who specializes in social anxiety, and now five months in, I can tell it’s actually working. I don’t think I can fully explain how both crazy and scary that is to me; ‘crazy’ because I thought it was permanent and ‘scary’ because who the fuck am I without anxiety? Still, it’s a lot of work and I want to be able to focus on the tasks my therapist gives me and not “trying out a new genre” or whatever I could come up with.

That was a bit of everything, so I’m going to stop talking now. Do you have any reading goals? What do you think of those year-long challenges? How was your 2021?

8 thoughts on “2021 in Review – Stats and Goals

  1. AHHH CONGRATULATIONS ON BEATING YOUR READING GOAL!!! 67 BOOKS IS GREAT!! Also, all those stats look amazing 🤩🤩 AND SO MUCH FANTASY 🤩 Congrats on all of your challenges, YOU DID SO GREAT, and all of your goals too! I ended up failing in all of the ones I’d set haha 😅😅 hope 2022 will be amazing for you and you will be able to find loads of amazing reads! LOVE THIS POST! ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved your stats analysis. I’ve heard a lot of female readers say that they hardly ever read anything by male authors at the moment. I don’t read much fantasy and I’m just the same.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I guess I understand what you mean about 43% fantasy being very little now 😂 But I loved reading this! As a math-inclined person, seeing everyone’s stats at the beginning of the year is always so satisfying 🥰

    And after analyzing this, I don’t think your reading year was as bad as you kept complaining about! Inspite of all the five-star and lack of one-star books I read last year, we actually have the same average goodreads rating – so I guess I read way more in the mediocre category while you focused on extremes 😄

    I never particularly care about the gender of the authors I read from – I only focus on what a story is about when I decide whether I want to read it – but it’s interesting that you think women tend to write fantasy you enjoy more. Maybe I should have a closer look at my statistics in that department after all 🤔

    And you did so well on your challenges! The Marlin in you is definitely showing 😜 The way you approached the Beat the Backlist Challenge by forgetting about it is definitely more my thing – and that “Character lets out a breath they didn’t realize they were holding” prompt had me snorting. And it doesn’t matter that you didn’t read Warbreaker because that means we’ll just experience it together this year! Who knows, after all the stuff we’ve disagreed on lately, maybe you’ll think it’s amazing 😁

    Finally, it’s wonderful to hear that your sessions with your therapist have been helping you so much! I’m sure Line without anxiety is at least as awesome as Line with anxiety, so you have nothing to worry about 💙 Though I do also see why such big changes would be scary!

    (Also, just as a side note, I’ve been reading A Star Shall Fall, and can we just talk about the German snippets in there? THEY’RE TERRIBLE! Never have I seen such grammatical atrociousness and half of the time, I’m not even sure what Marie Brennan meant to say 🙈 I’m liking the rest of the story more than Deeds of Men though, at least so far 😉)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 43% isn’t much at all!

      And yes, I definitely was more in the extremes last year. I don’t think I’ve ever had that few 3-star reads, and while 4 stars is a good rating, they aren’t books I’m going to think about much a year from now, so I still felt I was missing a few of those I-can’t-function-because-I-need-to-read-this-book experiences 😅 Also, that average rating includes my rereads because it was too much work to remove them, but then again, I didn’t rate all my rereads 5 stars.

      Marlin is already becoming my spirit animal 😂 And I was actually worried I wouldn’t find a book with that breath-holding prompt because what if I didn’t notice it? And then it came in the unlikeliest of books, Call of the Bone Ships, but the way it was done wasn’t cheesy at all, so it actually just made me more impressed with that book.

      And thank you 🥰

      (I’m now going to assume that the reason I had trouble understanding the German in A Star Shall Fall is because of grammatical errors, and definitely not because of my limited knowledge of the language 😅 Seriously, I didn’t notice but I’m glad you’re liking it 😁)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I did have a lot of those I-can’t-function-because-I-need-to-read-this-book experiences last year 🥰 And my average rating also doesn’t include my rereads, so I suppose you have a point…

        I’m very intrigued by how it is possible to write an uncheesy version of the breath-holding sentence, though 🤔 Maybe I’ll need to have a look at that series myself sometime 😂

        (Oh, and trust me, I have no trouble at all believing that you didn’t understand the German due to grammatical errors 🙄 The sentences were so littered with them that I’m sure even modern-day google translate could do a better job! I’m still not sure whether I’ve understood everything, either 😅)

        Liked by 1 person

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