Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 Reading in Review


This year, as I have since 2012, I counted every book I read, including board books and picture books,  toward my Goodreads goal.  With this in mind, I set my goal at 365 books and my final total is 382. Goodreads claims this equals 67,911 pages, with an average book length of 177 pages.  This is the lowest number of books I have read in a year since 2010. 

I read the highest number of books (69) in August, largely because I did a month of American History read-alouds with the girls, and also because I just really enjoy summer reading. My second largest number of read books (45) was in March because I was sitting around waiting for the twins to be born and it was Middle Grade March so I was reading short books. My slowest months were September (18 books), when we started our new homeschool schedule, and November (17 books), when I did NaNoWriMo. 

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

42% Adult (159 books:  41 Nonfiction, 39 Mysteries of which 25 were cozies, 35 General fiction,  20 Romances, 18 Classics,  2 Humor, 2 Science Fiction, 1 Poetry, and 1 Historical fiction)
2% Young Adult  (9 books: 1 science fiction, 1 historical fiction, 1 romance, 5 realistic fiction, 1 biography)
21% Middle Grade (79 books: 12 historical fiction, 12 fantasy, 3 mystery, 19 realistic fiction, 27 nonfiction, 1 poetry, 1 classic)
2% Chapter Books (6 books: 5 nonfiction, 1 fiction)
2% Easy Readers (7 books: 5 nonfiction, 2 fiction)
27% Picture Books (103 books)
4% Board Books (17 books)

And for fun, here is another pie chart of just my adult books broken down by genre. 


At the beginning of 2020, before anyone knew what kind of year this was going to turn out to be, I set several reading goals for myself. Many of these did not end up coming to fruition, but I think it's still worth looking at them before the new year begins.

My first goal was to read 365 books for the Goodreads challenge. This was a good target number for this year. I kept pace with it for most of the year and ended up surpassing it by a reasonable number of books rather than dozens or hundreds. 

Goal number two was to post something on Goodreads for every book read. As in 2019, I kept up with this really well in the first half of the year and dropped the ball entirely by the end of the year. The problem is that it's not enough to set a goal if I don't have the time to actually write the reviews. I'm working on some goals for 2021 that will build the time to do this into my reading life.

My third goal was to take one day off from reading per week. As soon as we were ordered to stay home, I decided not to pursue this goal. All the days were the same, and reading was one of the only sources of entertainment available.  I do like the intention behind this goal, though: making time for things besides reading. I'm going to work on that in 2021.

Next on the list was to read one book per format at a time. Again, as soon as we were ordered to stay home, I threw caution to the wind and decided to read whatever I felt like reading in whatever format I could get my hands on. If I'd had access to the public library maybe this would have gone differently.

Goal number five was to blog more. This didn't happen in the way I was imagining it, but I did start blogging for Catholic Mom and I also posted weekly homeschool updates so there was some progress.

My next goal was to read 6 vintage middle grade novels from our shelves. I said in my goals post that I really wanted to read 12 or 24 but that with the twins coming I wanted to be gentle on myself. In the end I read 27 of these, so I not only exceeded the goal, but I also exceeded the reach goal I had in mind. 

I also wanted to read 6 adult books that are at least 20 years old. (Not counting classics.) In January, I called this the goal I was most likely to abandon, but it ended up being the one I enjoyed the most. I read 16 of these, and ended up buying a bunch more pre-2000 titles to read in 2021 and beyond.

The last two goals were more like rules: no monthly TBRs and no open-ended read-a-thons. I stuck to both of these and instead focused on end-of-month wrap-ups and read-a-thons with specific time or page number goals.


My challenges were kind of a mess for most of the year, and I think that was largely because there were just too many of them. Here's how I ended up doing with them. (The list of prompts for each one can be found here.)

  •  A Year of Flannery O'Connor
    I meant for this to be a personal challenge like my Year of Harry Potter, but somehow it became really popular and the next thing I knew I was hosting it as an Instagram read-along and I felt like I needed to be posting questions and interesting trivia, and I no longer wanted to read the stories. I like the idea of being the host of a read-a-thon or a challenge, but discussions? No thank you, and never again.
  • 2020 Classics
    I finished this challenge pretty early on in the year and sort of stopped counting after that. I really appreciate the way it has gotten me to feel more confident reading classics.
  • The Unread Shelf Project
    Being stuck at home with stacks of books really set me up for success with this challenge. I read 67 of my unread books and unhauled a bunch of others from my shelves. It was my most successful challenge of the year.
  • The Modern Mrs Darcy Challenge
    With the number of books I read, it didn't end up being much of a challenge to find a title for every category on the list. I'm more excited for the 2021 challenge, which takes a "choose your own adventure"  approach to the reading life.
  • Scholé Sisters 2020 5x5 Challenge
    Clearly, this was meant for paid members of the Scholé Sisters group, and I was probably kind of an imposter to be doing it without being part of that organization. Still, I liked the idea and I did read at least a few titles in each of my chosen categories.
  • Catholic Reading Challenge: A Year of Short Stories
    I abandoned this one instantly and never looked back. Flannery was enough to keep up with. 
  • Craving for Cozies
    I read exactly 25 cozies, and I don't think I'm doing this challenge anymore after this. I think the number of cozies I genuinely want to read in a year is closer to 10. 
  • Cathlit 2020
    This was a later addition to my challenge list after I made my initial post, and the categories were not all that appealing. I only read 6 books that counted for this one.

 Check back tomorrow, New Year's Day, for my top 25 books of the year! 

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