So 2020 has been…a year.
This is the part where we all nod and give a small hysterical laugh as we stare vacantly into the distance. I usually love writing my end of year posts because (a) pie charts and reading stats!! and (b) it’s nice to reflect on how the year went, look back at my goals lists, hmm thoughtfully to myself as I see what I’ve done over the last 12 months.
Except I read my recap from 2019 and my hopes and dreams for 2020 and I just… 😐
This time last year, I literally wrote the words: “…. was the longest year of my life and I’m just…vaguely kicking it out the door and hoping 2020 will be amazing.”
2020 really sucked — world events and personal life. I struggle to say this because it always could be worse and I have been so lucky in so many ways this year. But it’s also not the Suffering Olympics and everyone’s pain is valid. Still 😔 I don’t intend to spend this post complaining. I’ll cover a few things and then it’s reading stats time!
…So how have you been, Paper Fury?
Not great, but I’m still struggling on 🤨🙌🏻 Obviously my blog has dwindled this year to a thin little ghost. Earlier this year I wrote about how I was finding it hard to blog but how I intended to keep it up. Then I ended up posting reviews in 2020 and not much else. I think I just have to face I’m not in a blogging zone currently. There’ll still be reviews here, but anything else will be a whimsical mystery. (I do feel like a blogging failure, but I am always active on instagram if you want to chat.)
My author life has had its ups and downs. I have a new agent and am now repped by Tara Gilbert at Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency (who is honestly a dream to work with; signing with them has been the best thing that’s happened for my career in a long time). Buuuut it’s still been a year of rejections and I’m feeling low as an author. I’m still writing though. Cobbling words together. 🥺 I am writing some books I’ve longed to write for years and that’s motivating me a lot. And The Boy Who Steals Houses won the CBCA Honour Award so that was intensely special!
In summary: a few good things happened but my mental health is a wreck. To be succinct 😌👌🏻
I’m also stoked my instagram passed 70,000 followers! And a huge wonderful thing this year has been working hard with the most incredible Melissa and MTMC Tours 🥰 Am very lucky. Plus I finally got an iPhone and I’m obsessed with the camera. Also salted caramel ice cream?! Keeps me going.
So last year I pledged to only read 150 books and then…proceeded to aim for 200 anyway. ಠ_ಠ And you know, I am mad at me?! I stress read and it felt chaotic and GAH why DO I DO THIS. So next year (chokes) I actually am going to restructure how I approach reading. Particularly when I had a goal to write more this year and I barely wrote at all 😂 Someone needs …….help.
But finishing 200 books in 2020 is satisfying and I’m not mad about that.
Compared to last year, I definitely had more 1-stars in 2020. And my 5-star rating is at 16% now (when it used to be 20% in 2019) so that’s disappointing 😩 But as I’ve said, mental health was wrecked this year, and that DOES affects your reading. I also felt so tired, I put off reading books I knew would take emotional effort. I know that’s odd, but?! It is what it is.
I’m not surprised contemporary won for my top-read genre of 2020 because — it’s just a lot easier to consume than figuring out fantasy worlds 😂🙌🏻But I also do love contemporary and read SO many good ones.
I also read more sci-fi than usual! (I include dystopian in that too.) I always forget I actually do enjoy sci-fi…
Overall it’s 106 (out of 200) books in physical format while the rest are ebooks/audios! Also I read WAY more ebooks than usual, which keeps being a yearly goal that I never get to so?!? I take this soft win. (Last year I only read 12% ebooks.)
Audiobooks also were only at 9% last year, whereas now I’m at 17%. I love my audios 😩 I absorb and remember them so much better than physically reading.
Where Did I get my books?
Basically libraries and ARCs win 😂🙌🏻I’m absolutely unsurprised. I can’t afford a ton of books, though I am frustrated that when I DO buy them — they go to the bottom of my tbr in favour of getting ARCs read in time?! I need fix this. (Whisper yells at self to stop requesting eARCs.) Also due to covid, I did receive way less physical ARCS than usual. I’m not actually upset about it because my tbr is slightly terrifying these days 😪
By “slightly terrifying” I mean …very.
This also doesn’t surprise me 😂Although I swear I read more adult than usual! 35 adult books and some of them thick beasts too 👀👌🏻I am growing old and…look, I was going to say intelligent but let’s not be too unrealistic. Just OLD.
Country & Pub Year
I actually read more backlist books this year!! My 2020 published releases came in at only 114 which means (a) I’m actually getting to some of the older gems 🥰and also (b)……I’m so freaking behind on 2020 releases now 💀We can’t win here can we. And I still never read many AUS books 😪 alas my shame.
I say this every year but…I need a better way to track diversity! I swear I’ll work on it 😂 I will learn how to use spreadsheets properly someday. (Also: so I don’t track #ownvoices anymore because I find it’s too easily policed for queer authors.) I divided my stats into rep from the main character, vs rep from main and/or side characters. The side character also has to have an active part to count.
Overall? I’m disappointed it’s not higher — especially how scarce the mental health and disability rep is (they’re actually hard to find amongst the big releases 😔). But overall I read 156 out of 200 books with diverse rep. And this IS higher than last year.
All covers lead to Goodreads and/or reviews!
I can’t believe how absolutely obsessed I am with these books 😭Overall, 2020 wasn’t my best reading year (far too many low rated books for me) but the books I did like? They are phenomenal works of art, raw and full of emotion and beauty and heart and fierceness. The Ruin of Kings definitely is the standout as new favourite series. I haven’t been this IN LOVE with a new series for so long ahhhhh. But seriously read all these. They own my heart.
This might just be my worst ever year for sequels 💀 I don’t think I even tried?! These are my slim pickings, but okay they were amazing 😍One of Us Is Next particularly surprised me as I wasn’t a huge fan of book 1, but book 2?! EXCELLENT. Also Love Creekwood was so comforting, and The Name of All things is exquisitely excellent.
I say “surprise favourites” not meaning I assumed they’d be bad, but I just read them with not pre-judgments or preconceived notions and I just LOVED them. They feel particularly special. 🥰
Adding these authors to my “auto-buy” list basically!!! Their work is absolutely incredible.
I read… Maggie Stiefvater = 7 books (all rereads).
Holly Black = 5 books.
Jenn Lyons = 2.5 books 😂 Look I’m counting it because I’m nearly finished book 3 and altogether it’s got to be over 2000 pages.
Tiffany D Jackson = 3 books! Only the best thrillers 😩👌🏻
Okay next year I HAVE to give the backlist more love…there are so many gems and I need to get to them all!! I’d wanted to read Pet for ages and it was SO GOOD. And I read The Ten Thousand Doors of January actually in January so I am pleased. Also the Saga graphic novels were a surprise delight. I read about 6 in December and they’re gritty and wild and quite good. 👀
I reread 18 books this year…which is less than I wanted 😩I missed my annual reread of The Raven Cycle. And I also made a goal to reread The Hunger Games and the Mortal Instruments and I….did not even attempt to. But I DID reread a ton of Holly Black blacklist books and this was so comforting. I also reread An Ember in the Ashes which I didn’t love the first time but I DID love this time. And my annual Foxhole Court reread keeps me alive.
I always have too many other books I loved, so spotlighting some more fantasies here! These are excellent and I highly recommend 😍 I’m still thinking about A Song Below Water (sirens and Black Girl Magic and sisterhood) and The Tea Dragon Tapestry (these are always so wholesome) and White Trash Warlock (the gay Supernatural we always needed).
As my most read genre, you KNOW I have more to love on here 😪🙌🏻Although I’ve squished several thrillers in here, but eh they’re still sort of contemporary 😂I also discovered I really love thrillers and must read more.
I’m still figuring out what my exact new year goals will be (chill ones?! 🥺) but as always I want to stop pressuring myself and read for ME (and for writing research).
I looked back at my list I did for last year for this category and I read….5 out of 14 🤨 A fail. ANYWAY. Let’s see if I can do better getting to these in 2021:
I am sad I didn’t get to these and they should have been a priority!! But also, I can’t read everything and at some point I will have to admit to mortality 😪
As always, I’m anticipating SO many books…it isn’t looking good for my pledges to read my backlist next year. But look how gorgeous they are?! There are also SO many queer books with excellent premises that I don’t even know how to prioritise them (!!!). Here’s to hoping I inherit a mysterious fortune next year. 😪🙌🏻
Happy new year!
Not to put any pressure on 2021 and freak it out, buuuut….I hope 2021 treats us all a little bit kindly. And I’d love to hear about your reading year in the comments! Let me know if you had lots of good or meh reads? do we have any of the same favourites?