2021… was a year. Last January feels like it happened about five years ago, but also like it happened a few weeks ago. Time, y’all. It moves weirdly.
But 2021 is over now, and we made it, and now it feels like we have a chance to reset and make things better this time around.
Last year was, quantity-wise, the best reading year I’ve ever had. I completed 181 titles, ranging in length from 19 pages (‘Home: Habitat, Range, Niche, Territory’ by Martha Wells) to 1,248 (The Lord of the Rings, illustrated edition, by J.R.R. Tolkien) for a total of 56,241 pages. The average book length was 310 pages. Quality-wise, it was pretty good, too, with an average rating of 4.02/5. The worst books I finished last year were ARCs, so I’m being evermore selective with ARC requests as I go along. Especially with longer books. I’m getting better about it, but I still hate not finishing ARCs. So the best solution is to only request shorter ARCs and to be much pickier about the titles I choose. So far, I’ve requested a whole five books for 2022, and been approved for three of them. I’m still waiting to hear back about the fourth and was declined for the fifth. I’ve been on NetGalley since 2018, and the shine is wearing off a little. It’s fun to get books before they come out, but there’s also a pressure to get them finished and reviewed by a certain point in time, and that makes reading them less fun.
- 59.7% of what I read was written by women, 37% was written by men, 2.2% was written by various authors, and 1.1% was by unknown authors
- 47.5% of the authors I read were American, 34.1% were English, 4.5% were Canadian, 2.2% were Icelandic, 1.7% were Japanese, and the rest were Irish, Australian, New Zealanders, Algerian, Northern Irish, Mexican-Canadian, Chinese, Malaysian, Austrian, Swedish, Welsh, Scottish, and Roman. I really could do better about reading non-Western authors, though so far in 2022 I’ve made a decent start with that.
- 7.7% of what I read was translated. The rest was written in English. Hm.
- 43.7% was physical books, 33.1% was audiobooks, and 23.3% was ebooks.
- 33.1% was fantasy, 19.3% was nonfiction, 12.7% was mystery, 9.9% was science fiction, 5% was YA fantasy, 4.4% was historical fiction, 3.9% was general fiction, 2.2% was horror, 1.7% each were poetry or sagas, 1.1% was gothic, and remainder was travel, art, memoir, fabulism, children’s fantasy, noir, and thrillers
- 51.4% of what I read came from the library, 35.9% was from my own shelves, 11.6% was from NetGalley, and 0.6% each were from Project Gutenberg or Tor.com.
- Publication dates ranged from 8CE to 2021.
I’ll list my favorites of the year in posts later this week.
My least favorites of the year were The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley and Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastien. In both cases, I had issues with the verisimilitude of the worlds the authors had built. There were practical and historical problems that kept throwing me out of the story. Sebastien’s characters were wooden and there wasn’t much plot going on, and I found the constant anachronisms jarring. In The Kingdoms, I didn’t buy the part about the ship just sailing along apparently without a crew that close to the rocky Scottish coat. Also, there is a primary character who murders a child, and the MC witnesses this, and is like, “well, whatever, they’re pretty”. I am definitely not on board with that. Verisimilitude is important to making a world feel cohesive, and both of these books lacked it.
But overall, I enjoyed what I read- mostly because I’m not afraid to not finish books I’m not enjoying (unless they’re ARCs, and I feel obligated, but even there I’m getting better about not forcing myself to read an ARC I don’t like).
So 2021 was a great reading year, and I’m looking forward to what books 2022 brings. I’ve already got a great start, and thanks to a couple of reading challenges I’ve set for myself I think it will be an even better year for books.
So here’s to a great new year!