Hello hello!! It’s time for the last end-of-2021 post, which is my 2021 reading stats post! I love making these posts because they give me a chance to do some reflection on my reading habits and tendencies, which aren’t always obvious to me as I’m doing my reading throughout the year.

To begin, I read 146 books in 2021.

I wanted to get to 150, and I could’ve read some graphic novels or novellas to get to that number, but I was just too lazy and couldn’t really be bothered lol. Anyway, 146 is definitely not a number to be ashamed of, so I’m more than happy with it.

I also DNFd 58 books at anywhere between like 20 pages to 200 pages.

Im not sure how that number compares to my DNFs from last year, especially because my DNFs range so much in terms of the pages I read before DNFing, but my feeling is that overall I DNFd a lot less in 2021. In general I feel like I was much better at choosing the kinds of books that I’d like in 2021, which meant that I ended up enjoying a lot of the books I read (more on that below).

Here’s a breakdown of the books I read by genre, and to me, there are no surprises here. In my mind, my top genres are literary fiction, romance, historical fiction, fantasy, and nonfiction–what usually varies is how those genres tend to rank compared to each other. Literary fiction is my bread and butter as always, with 41 books. Then we have romance at 33 books (I binged a lot of romance books this year because they’re the only books I can read when I feel shitty lol), historical fiction at 23 books, nonfiction at 20 books, and fantasy at 19 books. I wouldn’t really change these stats, except that I hope I’m able to find more fantasy books that I like this year.

Onto my rating breakdown, which I’m really happy with! Most of my ratings are 4 stars, which is really great, and there are very few 2.5-star-and-below ratings, which I’m also really happy with. Overall my average rating is 3.55 stars, which is very high for me, so it’s a good sign that I was at least liking most of the books I picked up. A big part of that is because I just DNFd books that I knew were going to get 2.5 stars or less, and also because I feel like I was able to find more books that really appealed to me, and that I knew were going to be to my taste. Also EIGHT whole 5-star ratings!!! Last year I gave so few novels 5 stars, so I’m happy that I found so many ones in 2021.

My reading format stats are absolutely no surprise to me, and they’re also pretty much the same as my ones from 2020. Almost all the reading I do these days is either through ebooks (80 books) or audiobooks (59 books), and that’s what the stats show. Also lol I can’t believe I read exactly 7 physical books this year; every time I pick up a physical book these days I’m like ???? how do I turn up the brightness on this thing??? what do you mean I can’t just select a word to look up its definition?? hello tech support I think this machine is broken??

That being said, I think my audiobook stats would’ve been higher if I hadn’t stopped listening to audiobooks in the second half of the year (for various reasons, but mainly because the main thing I did while listening to audiobooks–colouring–got to be very bad for my neck/posture so I had stop lol). But as it stands, 58 audiobooks is definitely not a bad number. I’m going to try to find another way to incorporate audiobooks into my routines this year, because I really miss listening to them, and there are so many new ones that I’d love to listen to.

More stats that are also not a surprise to me: most of the books I read were published very recently, either in 2022 (13 books), 2021 (83 books), or 2020 (26 books). There are still quite a few backlist books farther back, though, so there’s a little variety at least. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

Now this is a stat I’m very interested in, especially since in 2021 I started to become much more aware of which publishers were releasing which books, and which publishers released the kinds of books that I typically tended to enjoy. Most of the books I read fell under 4 of the big 5 publishers, with Penguin at the top as always (38 books), then Macmillan (22 books), then HarperCollins (21 books), then Hachette (8 books). After that we have various indie publishers, with Grove Atlantic at the top with 8 books–which I’m so happy to see, to be honest. I absolutely love Grove Atlantic’s books (I have a whole post coming up about them πŸ‘€), and I will continue to read the books they put out every year because I just consistently enjoy them.

In terms of the countries the books I read were set in, we have US at the lead with 59 books, then the UK at 39 books, then Ireland at 12 books, and finally South Korea with 7 books. The US, UK, and Ireland are pretty much always my top countries, but I’m glad to see South Korea also at the forefront, especially since I’ve really gotten into translated Korean literature this year. I’m hoping that number gets higher this year as I pick up more Korean books (and there are already so many interesting 2022 ones that I have my eye on!).

And finally, my blog stats! I wrote 51 posts this year, which averages out to about a post a week, which I honestly can’t believe I did lol. Writing blog posts takes SO MUCH time, so I’m glad I was able to at least have some consistency throughout the year. (Honestly a lot of those posts came because I was VERY bored during class and thought I might as well make some recommendation posts for the blog to pass the time lol. So shoutout to my boring classes for helping my blog grow.)

My blog has continued to grow since I started blogging in earnest in 2020, and I’m hoping I can continue doing that this year!

I also just want to say thank you so much to everyone who takes the time to read and/or like and/or comment on my posts!! I appreciate it so much, and it honestly makes me so happy to see that people actually trust my reviews and read the books I love because they trust my opinions πŸ₯ΊπŸ₯ΊπŸ₯ΊπŸ₯Ί so thank you so much, and here’s to hoping 2022 is a good reading year for all of us!!

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A little while ago I wrote a post about some things I hate reading about, which then got me thinking about some things that I love reading about: some of the tropes and themes that draw me to certain books, and that I have a special affinity for. So here we are! I’ve compiled a list of 8 things I love reading about, as well as included some examples of books that incorporate those things.

#1: Love stories/romance

examples: Normal People by Sally Rooney (my review), The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney, The King of Infinite Space by Lydsay Faye (my review), People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry

I cannot overstate how easily you can get me to read a book if you just tell me it has a good romance in it. Like I am such a sucker for anything with a romance. I find that oftentimes I’ll come across a book and be like mmm i dont know about this it doesnt seem like my kinda book and then I’ll hear there’s a good romance in it and immediately add it to my TBR. What I especially love is when romances are woven into a more plot-oriented story with high stakes, usually a fantasy one. It just makes the romance feel that much more earned and angsty (in a good way). Plus aside from it being nice to watch people fall in love, I think romances are such a great way to get to know characters better. I am always a character-focused reader, and I find it fascinating to see how characters’ histories, vulnerabilities, personalities, etc. feed into their dynamics with their partners (“the mortifying ordeal of being known” and all…).

#2: Secluded settings/small communities

examples: Elmet by Fiona Mozley (my review), The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue, Euphoria by Lily King, Winter in Sokcho by Elisa Shua Dusapin (tr. by Aneesa Higgins), Emma by Jane Austen

There is something so compelling about putting a bunch of characters in a secluded or small setting and then seeing what happens. It’s just a perfect context for understanding characters and their dynamics: what makes them tick, what brings them together, what makes them butt heads. I also think it allows for more complex and deep character development, because the story’s focus narrows down to a smaller group of characters. In addition to learning more about the characters, I think these kinds of stories also allow for a more developed exploration of the settings those characters are in: the kinds of cultures those settings come with (e.g. the more medical setting of a pregnancy ward in The Pull of the Stars), the people that frequent those settings (the tourist-based location of Winter in Sokcho), the kind of lifestyles those settings seem suited to (the slow, more measured rural environment of Elmet).

#3: Fathers’ relationships with their children

examples: Abigail by Magda Szabo (my review), The Wild Laughter by Caoilinn Hughes (my review), Negative Space by Lilly Dancyger

I feel like every year I see approximately 5 million new releases about motherhood, but like zero about fathers and fatherhood more broadly. I personally don’t enjoy reading books about motherhood–I feel like I’ve just read one too many of them at this point–but I find books that examine relationships with fathers fascinating, specifically the relationships that fathers have with their children, whether young or old. And here I’m not talking about the cliched shitty deadbeat dad here, but the dads that actually make an effort, even if that effort doesn’t always succeed or translate into action. I don’t know what it is exactly about this theme that I find so fascinating, aside from the fact that books about relationships with fathers are so rare. It’s something I don’t usually read about, and it’s something I’d like to read about more.

#4: British historical fiction (especially Victorian)

examples: Things in Jars by Jess Kidd, Fingersmith and Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters, The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman, The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry, The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

I’m super interested in British history, Georgian, Regency, and Victorian history in particular, but I will read pretty much every British historical fiction book I come across that sounds good. I think a big part of this comes from my love of Jane Austen, but I also think British history, specifically Victorian era history, is just REALLY COOL. I especially love looking at the social aspects of history: families, work/class, marriage, and how all those things are influenced by the particular moral and cultural expectations of that time period.

#5: Diaspora/immigration & culture/identity

examples: The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel, Two Trees Make a Forest by Jessica J. Lee (my review)

Anything to do with immigration, bicultural/diasporic identity, I’M IN. I have a real soft spot for this theme. There’s the obvious “torn between two worlds” sort of thing when it comes to bicultural identity, but I also think it’s so interesting to look at how people who identify with more than one culture navigate that identification, especially when it comes to dynamics with their families. Also, FOOD!! Food is such a big part of culture and I love seeing how it plays into bicultural/diasporic identity too.

#6: Estranged characters reuniting/reconciling

examples: Rules of Revelation by Lisa McInerney, Count Your Lucky Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur, Persuasion by Jane Austen (my review)

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I LOVE reunions/reconciliations in stories, especially if the characters were previously estranged or separated for some reason. IT GETS TO ME. It’s all about the angst: the fact that something caused a rift between characters, the fact that they think they’re never going to be able to bridge that rift, and then the fact that they DO. It’s why I love second-chance romances so much. Persuasion is such a good example of this!! Coming back to England and seeing the woman you loved who broke things off with you 7 years ago!!! Refusing to engage with her because you’re still hurt by the fact that she broke things off with you!! Realizing that you still care for her!! Realizing that you’re still in love with her and never got over her!!! Like I said, it’s all about the angst.

I think I love this trope so much, if you can call it that, because it’s all about relationships and forgiveness, how difficult it can be to work through conflict in those relationships, but also how rewarding it can be to reconnect with people who mattered to you and who you realize still matter to you.

#7: Money/class/privilege

examples: literally anything by Sally Rooney, White Ivy by Susie Yang (my review), One Hundred Shadows by Hwang Jungeun (tr. by Jung Yewon) (my review)

This one is pretty self-evident: I love reading about money as it relates to class and/or privilege. I think it’s especially interesting to me when a story focuses on a relationship between characters who are of different classes: White Ivy, for example, where the main character begins a romantic relationship with a guy who comes from a very wealthy background. This is also very evident in Rooney’s Conversations With Friends and Normal People, where one partner in a relationship is significantly wealthier than the other. It’s also why I love shows like Succcession: more than just depicting a bunch of rich people doing rich-people things, it’s about how wealth fundamentally changes who you are and the way you approach your world.

#8: Stories within stories/metanarratives/framed stories

examples: The Memory Theater by Karin Tidbeck, the Cruel Prince series by Holly Black, Cursed Bunny by Bora Chung (tr. by Anton Hur) (my review)

This one is less defined than the other things I’ve listed, but I absolutely love stories that have other stories inside them, or stories that are framed in some way (e.g. how in Cursed Bunny some stories begin with something like “I heard a story once”). I love this trope because I feel like it gives a story a real sense of heft; it makes it feel grand somehow, like it’s part of a much larger collective narrative that comes from fairytales or mythology. Holly Black does this really well in her novellas, which incorporate fae mythology, but Karin Tidbeck also does a great job of this in The Memory Theater, which is all about storytelling and fairies and found family.

I hope you enjoyed reading this! I had a lot of fun trying to think of themes/tropes for this post and browsing my “read” shelf to see what books incorporated them. That being said, I would love to know what are some things you love reading about!! Do you love reading about any of the things that I’ve listed? Is there anything I didn’t mention that you especially enjoy reading about? Let me know!! 😊

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A little while ago I wrote a post about a bunch of things that I hate reading about, and because I am a fount of positivity, I thought I’d do a part two to that post since I still had some things to talk about lol. SO HERE WE GO.

#1: Globetrotting/touristy stories

I really do not get along with stories that focus on globetrotting protagonists, especially in a tourist context. I feel like every time I read a book where this happens the author just throws a bunch of names of things at me that I never recognize because I haven’t traveled anywhere lol. It’s just so hard to get a clear sense of the protagonist’s surroundings when the narrative is preoccupied with naming every single tourist location and building and painting and food, etc. etc. Beyond not recognizing any of those things and so not being able to properly imagine them, I also just prefer to have the protagonist and their experiences grounded in a more limited set of locations, or in one location even. And I feel like globetrotting stories end up taking the focus away from the character in favour of waxing poetic about Touristy Things.

#2: Motherhood

Ohhhhh my godddddddd. I am so tired of reading about motherhood. These days if I have even the slightest inkling that a book might be about motherhood I drop it like a hot potato. Like truly, nothing gets me to not want to read a book faster than finding out that it’s about motherhood in any way. There are just SO MANY stories about motherhood, and I’ve read SO MANY of them already, and they all cover such similar themes and I’m just so done with it all. I have nothing against motherhood, but I just can’t stand to read about it anymore. My sanity depends on it.

#3: Americana

I can’t stand books that are about American culture. I just find it so boring and uninteresting. By “American culture” I mean books that are explicitly about Americana of some kind; most of the ones I come across tend to be about the culture and history of a particular state. The US dominates like pretty much everything so I’d rather read about the culture and history of literally any other country at this point.

#4: Politics

I don’t mind reading about things that are political or politicized (race, gender, etc.), but I absolutely hate reading about politics, especially American politics. Politics is already a big dumpster fire in real life, and I’d just rather not read about it in my books as well. That’s not to say that I only read for escapism, but politics is simply one thing that I have no patience for in my fiction. (This is a big reason why I didn’t like Casey McQuiston’s Red, White and Royal Blue.)

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