We are several weeks into the new year, but those weeks have been rather…eventful. Perhaps that’s why it’s taken a bit longer than usual for me to complete my 2020 reading wrap-up? Or maybe it’s because I just haven’t been that excited about sharing my reading stats and goals recap?
I think the ongoing pandemic plus the frustrating political situation (in the U.S.) has been taking its toll on me (like it has on everyone). Most days it feels like: “reading goals? who cares. what’s the point?” I suppose the point is that I will not let existential dread get the better of me. So, even though I considered just skipping this post, I’m going to put it up anyway.
How I did on my 2020 reading goals:
- Read at least 52 books (or book-like things). — Done! I read a total of 68 books in 2020. That’s less than I read in 2019, but above average based on the past ten years.
- Finish at least 5 series that I’ve already started. — Done! I completed seven series this year, including:
- Read all purchased books within six months of purchase. — Nope! This did not happen. I think I have nine that I purchased between early 2019 and end of June 2020 that I should have read by now and haven’t. Nine isn’t terrible, but it is still a lot more than zero.
- Read at least one owned book for every book I purchase. — Nope! And, as expected, this was a pain to keep track of.
- Read more books by marginalized authors (measured by % of total books read).
- At least 33% books by “non-white” authors with a stretch goal of 50%. — Almost but not quite… 28% (nineteen) of the books I read were written by non-white authors. Of those, eleven were written by Black authors. If I hadn’t been tracking this reading stat for the past four years, and I didn’t know that this is the lowest this stat has been since I started tracking, maybe I’d feel better about almost hitting my goal. But, I have been tracking it, and this is the lowest this stat has been in four years, so I’m disappointed with myself.
- At least 15% books by queer authors with a stretch goal of 33%. — Almost but not quite… 12% (eight) of the books I read this year were written by an author who does not identify as “straight. This is best as I can tell. As I’ve said before, I’m not always sure how an author identifies, and I don’t think that I need to be. To that end, I will note that 19% (thirteen) of the books I read had at least one main (POV) character that was LGBTQ+.
- At least 10% books by indie authors with a stretch goal of 25%. — DONE! 15% (ten) of the books I read were indie published books. However, I feel compelled to note that the only reason I hit this goal was because I read the Innkeeper series this year, which appears to be indie published even though (I think) Ilona Andrews’ other books are traditionally published.
- At least 50% of books written by female-identifying authors. — DONE! 81% (fifty-five) of the books I read were written by female-identifying authors. Another six were written by a team of writers that included one male-identifying and one female-identifying person. And I read one book by a non-binary author. (Note: I have to make some assumptions for this stat because not all authors are clear about their pronouns.)
In general, I’m not super thrilled with how I did on my reading goals this year. Sure, I read more books than I planned to read. But I didn’t read as many books by marginalized authors as I have in previous years. And all my attempts to read the books that I purchase keep failing.
Based on this, I’ve decided to make some changes for 2021. The first is that I’m going to stop focusing on reading my backlist or keeping up with the books I’ve purchased. Buying books supports authors. I’ll read them eventually, or I won’t, but regardless, I’m happy to be supporting authors so they can keep creating. So enough with making myself feel guilty for buying books that I want to read and creating stats that are annoyingly complicated to track.
In general, I’m keeping my 2021 reading goals simple. I have only two, as I mentioned in my post on setting up my reading journal. The first is my “Goodreads goal” to read at least 52 books. The other is to make sure I’m reading marginalized authors every month.
I want to read at least twelve books by Black authors, at least twelve books by other non-white authors, and at least twelve books with queer main characters and positive queer representation (ideally written by a queer author). Twelve books and twelve months. The queer rep can be in a book written by a BIPOC author. So this means at least two books I read every month should be by a marginalized author. I hope that tracking it this way will help me meet (or exceed) this goal.
Other Fun Facts about my 2020 reading:
- I had one DNF in 2020. This may be a book I come back to later, but it just wasn’t holding my attention like I thought it would. So, I set it aside.
- Seventeen of the books I read (25%) were published in 2020. Two were published on 31 December 2019. So, if I count those two, that brings my total to nineteen (or 28%).
- Sixty of the sixty-eight books I read (88%) were fiction.
- I read fifty-one (75%) ebooks, eleven (16%) print books, and six (9%) audiobooks.
- I only read twelve young adult books this year (18%) and no middle grade or children’s books. Everything else (82%) was adult.
- Genre breakdown as follows:
- Sci-Fi/Fantasy = 53%
- Romance/Erotica = 19%
- General/Contemporary Fiction = 13%
- Self-Help/Business = 5%
- Historical Fiction = 4%
- Current Affairs / Politics = 4%
- Science / Nature = 1%
- Memoir/Biography = 1%
And that’s it. I’m finally done with all my 2020 wrap-up posts. Unless there’s something else you’d like me to write about? If so, let me know in the comments.
I’m curious, do you track your reading stats? If so, do you track these same types of metrics? What do you like to keep tabs on, and why? I’m always looking for ways I can improve my process, so I’d love to know your thoughts.