Friday, December 31, 2021

2021 Reading in Review


This year, for the first time ever, I didn't count picture books, board books, or books for beginning readers toward my Goodreads goal, and I set myself the challenge of reading exactly 200 books, neither more nor less. I reached that goal just a few days before the end of the year and decided to stop reading rather than go over 200. 

I averaged 16 books per month, with the highest number (20) read in October and the smallest number (13) read in February. 

Here is the breakdown of books by intended audience, accompanied by my annual pie chart:

  • 63.5% adult (127 books:  33 romance, including 6 Regency romances; 35 mysteries or thrillers, including 5 cozy mysteries; 29 nonfiction, 16 regular fiction, 7 classics, 4 fantasy, 2 science fiction, 1 poetry)
  • 31% middle grade (62 books: 26 realistic fiction, 16 fantasy, 11 historical fiction, 4 nonfiction, 4 mysteries, 1 adventure)
  • 5.5% YA (11 books: 4 realistic fiction, 2 romances, 2 nonfiction, 1 short story collection, and 1 historical fiction)

Among these 200 books there were: 
  • 29 read-alouds with my kids 
  • 42 children's and YA titles from our home library
  • 37 books from my physical TBR
  • 18 books from my digital TBR 
  • 100 books that I read at least partly in audio format
  • 100 books that I read exclusively with my eyes


My goals for 2021 wound up being kind of a bust, but that hasn't necessarily turned out to be a bad thing. Here's a recap of what my goals were and a quick summary of how each one worked out. 

  • Goal #1: Stop tracking picture books and board books.
    This was surprisingly easy for me to do. I did still review a few of the picture books that were sent to me by publishers, but I didn't add a read date for them on Goodreads to prevent them from being added to my challenge number. I read so many picture books in a week, it's just a relief not to have keep track of them anymore.
  • Goal #2: Read exactly 200 books, and no more.
    I accomplished this, and I think it was good for me to give myself permission to not always be reading. I was able to listen to podcasts or take some time to write without feeling like I was supposed to be reading. For 2022, I'm going to lowball my Goodreads challenge number and then just not worry about the numbers.
  • Goal #3: Read 50 e-books.
    Goal #4: Cut back on audiobooks.
    These two goals kind of show how obsessed I was with format last year. As this year wore on, though, I realized that I like the freedom to switch back and forth between formats. A good number of books I read this year were titles that I started in ebook format and finished on audio, or vice versa.  I still like to make a note when I listen to even part of the audio because I like to keep track of narrators that I like and things like that, but the breakdown by format just isn't something I feel the need to focus on going forward.
  • Goal #5: Keep up with Goodreads reviews.
    I think I stuck with this longer in 2021 than I did in 2020, but I still wasn't perfect. I'm not putting this goal on my list for 2022 but I will still try to keep my Goodreads up to date if I can.
  • Goal #6: Write down more quotes from books.
    I gave up on writing these down pretty early on. I have added some quotes to my Goodreads, and in this season of my life, that's probably the best I'm going to do.
  • Goal #7: Host a read-a-thon.
    I have learned that it's just not in the cards for be any kind of leader in the bookish world. I'm perfectly happy to let other people host and will be sticking with that for the future. This read-a-thon didn't happen, and I'm not disappointed.
  • Goal #8: Read the Bible in a year.
    I'm almost done with this, but most likely I'll actually finish a day or two into the new year. It was difficult to commit to listening daily, but I was always able to catch up and I really enjoyed having explanations from a priest to accompany Scripture. 
  • Goal #9: Fill in Literary Listopia journal. 
    I looked at this a few times, but I felt like I couldn't come up with anything to add to each list. I'm still planning to use it, just trying to figure out how. 
  • Goal #10: Write 1200 words per week. 
    When I set this goal, I said that I hoped to have written 62, 400 words by the end of 2021. I basically didn't write a single word until November, when I did NaNoWriMo, but then I did a writing prompt challenge in December and now I'm less than 2000 words away from that goal. Clearly, I need to be motivated by something other than word count. I'm working on a more practical 2022 goal.


I only planned to do two challenges in 2021: the Modern Mrs. Darcy create-your-own challenge and the Unread Shelf Project. The host of the Unread Shelf kind of abandoned the challenge after a few months, so I decided not to continue with it. I did stick with my self-created Modern Mrs. Darcy challenge and  I mostly enjoyed it. These are the titles I read for it: 

  • Three Newbery Award winners: When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller; Sounder by William Armstrong; The 21 Balloons by William Pene du Bois 
  • Three books that are the last/most recent in a series: The Love of Friends by Nancy Bond; The Heart of the Family by Elizabeth Goudge; Majesty by Katharine McGee
  • Three books of more than 500 pages: Heart and Soul by Maeve Binchy; Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry; Fox's Earth by Anne Rivers Siddons
  • Three books by the same author: The Late Show by Michael Connelly; The Black Echo by Michael Connelly;  Dark Sacred Night by Michael Connelly
  • Three audiobooks with the same narrator:  The Duke and I by Julia Quinn; The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn; An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn
  • Three Catholic nonfiction books: Mother Angelica by Raymond Arroyo; Be Bold in the Broken by Mary Lenaburg; Motherhood Redeemed by Kimberly Cook
  • Three general nonfiction books: Romance is My Day Job by Patience Bloom; Upstairs at the White House by J.B. West; And Then They Stopped Talking to Me by Judith Warren
  • Three books under 200 pages: Lucy Gayheart by Willa Cather; Dream Work by Mary Oliver; The Bridge of San Luis Rey by Thornton Wilder
  • Three books about books or reading: How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster; We Are the Babysitters Club; Steeped in Stories by Mitali Perkins
  • Three books about writing: The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr; Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott; Save the Cat!: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by Blake Snyder
  • Three books published in 2021: Just Like That by Gary D. Schmidt;  Treasures: Visible and Invisible by Catholic Teen Books; Sunshine by Marion Dane Bauer
  • Three re-reads: Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien; Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh; Charlotte's Web by E.B. White 
Check back tomorrow for my 2022 reading plans! 

No comments:

Post a Comment