MY 2020 READING STATS



I! love! reading! stats! and today that’s what I’m gonna be talking about: some surprising and not-so-surprising trends from my 2020 reading. The amazing reading spreadsheet I use is made by Brock from Let’s Read–I highly recommend it it’s super versatile and comes with so many useful and beautiful graphs!!


So in 2020 I read a total of 160 books, which is the most books I’ve ever read in a year. This is due to a number of factors, but mainly it was because a) I was at home all the time due to The Pandemic and b) I wasn’t in school for most of the year, so I didn’t have any classes to do work for. Honestly reading was like the one thing keeping my mental wellbeing together last year so I’m glad it worked out lol.

As for genres, this isn’t super surprising to me, but there are some new additions compared to my genres from 2019. My top genres are: literary fiction with 35.6% (it’s my bread and butter, so not surprising), non-fiction with 18.1% (also not surprising, I like to sprinkle in some non-fiction reads every now and then), and then after that it’s a smattering of other genres like romance (9.4%), fantasy (7.5%), and classics (6.9%). Romance was definitely a new genre for me in 2020, and I loved getting to explore so many delightful new romance reads. I expect the romance percentage to be much higher in 2021 since I’ve now fully committed to reading romance. I’d also like to read more fantasy this year, since I loved reading The Poppy War trilogy so much last year.

This is by far my most noteworthy reading stat from last year. In 2020, 77.5% of my reading was digital (124 books) and only 22.5% was physical (36 books). The library was closed most of the time due to The Pandemic, and then I was paranoid about reading library books for Pandemic-Related Reasons, so I pretty much only stuck to ebooks and audiobooks unless I was sent a review copy from the publisher. As you can see, 55.6% of the books I read were ebooks, and 21.9% were audiobooks. If it weren’t for my e-reader I would’ve read like nothing last year lol.

My average rating in 2020 was 3.29 stars. Most of the ratings I gave were 3 stars (28%, 45 books), which is not super surprising to me since that tends to be my default rating when I feel like a book is just okay or mediocre. I think there are also a lot of 3 stars because those tend to be the books that are good enough to finish, but not so good that I actually consider them a favourite. You’ll also see that there aren’t many books that I’ve rated 2.5 stars or lower because if I dislike a book that much I tend to save myself the trouble and just DNF it. Finally, I’m SUPER STINGY with my 4.5 and 5 star ratings so not many books there either. I’ll also say that a lot of the 5 star ratings in this graph include rereads–mainly my Jane Austen rereads–so that number is actually slightly inflated.

Most of the books I read were new releases, which is, again, not super surprising I guess. I just get so caught up in the hype and I like shiny new things lol. I find it’s also hard to be excited by books that have been on my TBR for years. So maybe I need to rethink how I approach my TBR a little bit. (Also the books that were published pre-1920s are pretty much all Jane Austen rereads lol.)

This graph is super interesting to me because 2020 was the first year in which I started to track the publishers whose books I was reading. Four of the big five publishers feature the most here, with Penguin leading at 33.8%, followed by HarperCollins (11.3%), Simon and Schuster (11.3%) and Macmillan (9.3%). After that, it’s just a bunch of mostly indie presses, which I’m super happy to see. Reading books from indie presses is something that I definitely wanna prioritize and keep an eye on this year, especially because I tend to end up really enjoying their books.

The US and the UK are pretty much always the countries that I read the most from, taking up 39.3% and 26.7% of my reading, respectively. I’m super happy to see Ireland with 10.7%, since I love Irish lit so much. And then after that there’s a bunch of other countries including Japan (4%), China (4%) and South Korea (2%)–definitely not very high numbers. One thing I want to do this year is read more translated fiction, so that should introduce some variety into these stats. Also more Japanese lit!

Blog Stats:

And last but not least, a little section for my blog stats!! 2020 was the year I started blogging in earnest, so it’s wild seeing how much I actually ended up posting. I didn’t feel like I posted that often, but apparently I did, with 79 total posts (I feel like that’s a lot for me), almost 600 comments (??????), and 60k words written across those blog posts. I have no idea what other people’s blog stats look like, but I’m honestly really proud of myself for, like, actually committing to this blogging thing. I’m gonna try to be consistent this year too, though I have classes now so I’m not sure how that’s gonna go…



I just wanna end this post by saying thank you to everyone who interacts with my posts in any way 🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺 I can’t believe people actually read my posts and like actually trust my opinions on books ??? I’ve made so many lovely book blogger friends over the past year and I’m gonna do my best to try and support yall and hype you up because you’re all great and I always love seeing your posts in my feed!!! 🥺




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THE JOYS OF READING ROMANCE (discussion)


So last month uni started again (online classes!) and my brain, for obvious reasons, could not handle reading anything because my schoolwork left it with zero processing power to spare. I’d sit down to read and my brain would just be like ” . . . . . . ” and then I’d be like ok i guess we’re not reading anything today… BUT THEN–but then I read Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert and it Changed Everything. I’ve always dabbled in the romance genre by reading the occasional romance here and there but had never really properly delved into it. But I LOVED Get a Life, Chloe Brown SO MUCH and after finishing it I was like I CAN’T BELIEVE I’VE BEEN MISSING OUT ON THIS FOR MY WHOLE READING LIFE. So then I of course added Talia Hibbert’s entire body of work to my TBR, read a lot of it, and then moved on to explore a bunch more romances as well.

Here are the romances that I’ve read last month:

FAVOURITES:
– Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert (4 stars)
– Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert (4 stars)
Act Your Age, Eve Brown by Talia Hibbert (my favourite of the three; I ADORED this one) (4.5 stars)
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle (4 stars) (this was TOP TIER romance)

THE NON-FAVOURITES (for lack of a better term)
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (3.5 stars)
– Damaged Goods by Talia Hibbert (3.5 stars)
A Girl Like Her by Talia Hibbert (3.5 stars)
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang (2 stars)
The Bromance Book Club by Lyssa Kay Adams (2 stars)

That being said, I wanted to write this post and talk about some of the joys of reading romance, because it’s just such a joyful genre. there are so many things I loved–and continue to love–about romances and I wanted to use this post as a way to kind of think about what makes them so compelling to me (though I’m sure I’m not the first one to talk about this).

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#1: fast to read

romances go by SO QUICKLY. when I knew my next read was gonna be a romance I’d start reading at like 6pm knowing that I would 100% have finished the book by midnight. even if the romance I was reading was on the longer side, I would still just read it all in one go. because romances aren’t just fast to read, they’re also such COMPULSIVE reads. you kind of know what plot beats to expect (characters meet, spend time, start to like each other, etc.) that you just can’t wait to get to them and see how they’re gonna unfold. so even if the romance was long or it was 1am and I needed to go to sleep I just didn’t care 🤷‍♀️ if i was enjoying the romance then nothing could stop me until I finished it.


#2: always character-focused

romances are, by design, built on character development. a romance will ALWAYS focus on the people in the romantic relationship and their relationship, so you will (assuming this is a well-written romance) never have to slog through boring plot to get to the character focused bits. and because romances emphasize character, they by extension emphasize growth and introspection and relationships. and I LOVE IT.


#3: the banter/dialogue

related to #2: because romances are so character focused, they get to have A LOT OF DIALOGUE. for characters to get to know each they have to TALK, so you can always expect romances (at least the good ones) to have great dialogue (funny, moving, sincere, etc.). and I LOVE dialogue. it’s always what my eyes move to when I’m reading anything, and it helps establish characters so effectively. if the characters in a romance have chemistry, then the dialogue will always be top notch.


#4: the ROMANCE

not exactly insightful but: i love the romance part of romances!! I’m the kind of person who LOVES romance in whatever content I’m consuming (shows, movies, books, etc.) and am always impatient to get the plot stuff over with so we can focus on the romance (if there is a romance involved and I’m invested) so the fact that I just get to have a whole book focused on the romance and the characters involved in it has completely Changed the Game for me


#5: the tropes!

omg TROPES!!! enemies to lovers! oh no there’s only one bed! forced proximity! fake dating! protagonist needs to do something that only the love interest can help them with! it’s so much fun when you’re reading a romance and a trope pops up and you just KNOW it’s gonna be a great time seeing it all unfold 👀


#6: the guaranteed happy ending

this one speaks for itself. happy endings are wonderful, especially now during these not-so-happy times.


#7: the different character dynamics

grumpy character with cheerful character! hardass character with chaotic character! quiet/shy character with loud/bubbly character! there are so many different dynamics that romances can have and I love seeing how different authors put their own spin on them and give their characters nuance within them.

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I loved reading romance this last month so much and I can’t wait to find more romance favourites (there are a bunch I’ve got my eyes on that release in the next few months as well as next year…)!!

If you read romance, let me know what you love about it and what your favourite romances are!! if you don’t, I’d love to hear why!! As you can see from this post, I am a Changed Woman re: romances, so I’m really interested to hear what yall think of romance as a genre 😊


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LET’S TALK ABOUT BOOK COVERS, PT 2 (discussion)

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hi everyone!! so a while ago I wrote a post called Let’s Talk About Book Covers where I…talked about book covers. I really enjoyed writing that post and looking more closely at why I liked certain covers, so I thought I’d do that again with a fresh batch of beautiful books!

also I don’t know why but something about colour swatching these covers is SO satisfying

PS: I will leave Goodreads links for all the books below in case you wanted to check them out!


#1: BOLD COLOURS

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Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

I just love covers with vibrant colours, especially ones that use them effectively. And this cover uses its colours so well! And like all good covers, it’s an excellent representation of the book. It evokes how the book’s short stories are all “sketches” of characters at certain points in their lives, a concept that the collection foregrounds in its first and titular story, “Heads of the Colored People,” which is itself inspired by a book of the same name that also features sketches, but of a visual rather than literary nature. I also love that you can see the beautiful texture of the brushstrokes in the paint on the cover. (PS: I just read this collection of short stories, btw, and it was SO GOOD. Highly recommended.)



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Friendship for Grown-Ups by Nao-Cola Yamazaki (translated by Polly Barton)

THIS COVER. I haven’t read this short story yet but PHEW, THIS COVER. The colours! The typography! The distorted, stretched out letters mixed with the almost psychedelic nature of the art behind it is just *chef’s kiss*

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#2: SLEEK & SIMPLE

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The Emissary by Yōko Tawada (translated by Margaret Mitsutani)

I am obsessed with this cover. It’s so simple but SO compelling. It somehow seems very innocuous and yet also slightly unsettling? The book itself is a mix of the unsettling and the quaint–it’s a story set in a dystopian setting, but one that’s very quiet rather than catastrophic in tone–and I think this cover captures its spirit perfectly.



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Bina by Anakana Schofield

HELLO VIBRANT COLOURS. Again, simple but effective. I love the serif font in this one, too, as well as the little “a novel in warnings” that’s under the dot in the “i.” That’s smart design right there.

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#3: EVOCATIVE

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The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld

This is easily one of my favourite covers of the whole year. It’s just absolutely stunning, and so evocative, even if you know nothing about the novel. The fragmented bits of the cover, the animals poking out in each fragmented piece, the Bass Rock in the background and the golden light?? Beautiful. It almost looks like a collage of paintings, like the artist grabbed elements from various paintings and then put them together to create this cover.



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Tokyo Ueno Station by Yū Miri (translated by Morgan Giles)

I haven’t read the novel yet, but I’m in love with how eclectic this cover is. There are just so many things on this cover, and they all come together to create a cover with a lot of visual interest rather than one that seems cluttered or visually confusing. The colours are vibrant and the detail is beautifully rendered. Also the person at the bottom of the cover with no head but a floating beanie??? SO GOOD, especially considering the narrator of this novel is a ghost.



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The Last of Her Name by Mimi Lok

The colours in this one are gorgeous. They’re very muted, but they’re all so gentle and match each other so well. Plus this cover has some amazing texture. The almost rolling waves of colour, with the illustrated, almost cut-out figures superimposed on top, and that lil tree on the side? Beautiful. And I’ve been dying to read this collection of short stories, too!! (It just won a PEN award!)



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Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession

I AM IN LOVE WITH THIS COVER. I don’t know what about it speaks to me so strongly, but IT JUST DOES. If the synopsis is anything to go by, then this cover is a perfect representation of this quirky book. And also, I LOVE THIS FISH SO MUCH. It’s so cute?? And the “Hungry Paul” in Scrabble tiles?? Such a lovely detail. I can’t wait to read this one.

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#4: PUNCHY

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Little Constructions by Anna Burns

This is one of those covers where as soon as I saw it like I was like wow. It’s so incredibly striking. I love covers done in this style, where the design of one element simultaneously allows a silhouetted profile to appear in another element of the cover. This, plus the expression of the silhouette (almost as if it’s gasping for air or screaming), the colours, and that intricately designed gun come together to make such a stunning cover.

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#5: MOODY PAINTINGS

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An Unravelling by Elske Rahill

You know I love me some painted book covers!! This one is just gorgeous. It’s almost all in blue but it uses so many shades of blue so effectively. I also love that the painting and its texture evoke water/waves, especially in the woman’s face. That, along with the cryptic expression on her face, is just beautifully done.



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Say Say Say by Lila Savage

More beautiful paintings! And this one is blue too! Where An Unravelling had a regular serif font for its title, this one has a painted title, and I love that in the ends of every letter you can almost see the strokes of the paintbrush that created them. Also, the tilted borders around the painting are such an excellent way of elevating a painting that is not super dynamic in terms of lighting or colour. The borders gives the cover an unexpected pop of colour, and the fact that it’s a colour that you wouldn’t really expect to go with blue makes it all the more effective.

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Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this second installment in what’s (hopefully) going to be a series of posts about book covers!! Let me know if you’ve read any of these books, and if there are any books you know of that would fit really well in any of these categories!


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