A Year in Reading: 2021 Book Stats

At the start of 2021, I decided to try tracking my reading in a new way — via a reading spreadsheet from Book Riot, which takes your bookish input and turns it into interesting charts and graphs about your reading habits. 

Midway through the year, I checked in on how it was going. More on that here: The Big Mid-Year Reading Check-In

Since then, I’ve ticked off a few more Read Harder challenge boxes (up to 11, from the 8 I’d checked by July) and finished my updated Goodreads goal of 75 reads. Now that 2021 is coming to a close, I’m doing one final recap of my reading stats to see how they’ve changed.

Would I use the spreadsheet again? Absolutely! I haven’t seen a 2022 edition pop up just yet, but I’m really hoping one is on the way. If not I may try to clone and update for 2022 on my own (we’ll see how that goes with my limited knowledge of Google Sheets). 


Genre 

Reading Log screenshot by the author

I’m pretty pleased with how many different slices this pie has. Romance definitely wins the day, but is anyone surprised by that? 

I think the line between Romance and Women’s Fiction is pretty wobbly these days, since Romance is selling so well. I’ve definitely read some titles this year that publishing tagged as Romance but which really felt more like women’s fiction to me, since love stories weren’t central. But, so it goes. 


Page Count

Reading Log screenshot by the author

Not much has changed here, in terms of my preferred reading length. It’s just become a bit more pronounced that the books I read tend to fall in the 300–400 page range. I honestly don’t give any thought to a book’s length before diving in these days, so I think this has more to do with publishing conventions for my preferred genres than anything. 


Format

Reading Log screenshot by the author

I’m not surprised to see that my format has swung a bit back towards print since I joined Bookstagram. Print books definitely reign supreme there, and I snagged quite a number of titles in physical form this year for the ‘gram. 

I am a bit surprised to see audio taking such a huge chunk of the pie, but it makes sense when you consider the great Princess Diaries reread, which had me spending credits like they were going out of style. 


Final Thoughts & Looking Ahead

This is the first year I’ve had such easily quantifiable book stats to review, so it’s a bit hard to say how getting back to book blogging and joining Bookstagram have impacted my reading, exactly. I do know that I read more this year than in prior years, and I’ve had a ton of fun connecting to bookish friends online. 

In 2022, I’m hoping to do the spreadsheet again. I’ve also purchased a physical book journal (the Novel Companion from Little Inklings Design) to try my hand at that way of tracking reads, as well. 

In addition to tracking reads, I’ll swing and miss again on the 2022 Read Harder challenge and my Goodreads number to 100 for the year (a stretch from this year’s 80, but manageable, I think). 

Another exciting bookish project I’m working on is… (drumroll please)… an IRL Little Free Library! I’ve wanted to do this for a while, since moving in with my homeowner partner and acquiring a stack of books that need to move along to their next reader. 

So, I used my Christmas money from my parents to buy a build kit and can’t wait to share the process of building, branding, and stocking my Little Free Library, which will of course be called Your Book Friend. I’m eager to share books with my neighborhood and learn all about being a LFL steward in the new year. But first… using tools and doing an art! 

Do you track your reads? Or are you planning to start in 2022? Let your book friend know! 


Thanks for reading! Follow us into the new year here, on Medium, and on Bookstagram to stay up-to-date on the latest bookish goodness. 

Two Months to Go! 2021 Reading Stats Check-In

After pretty much unanimous feedback on my previous post about whether rereads should count towards reading goals, I decided to update my reading stats spreadsheet for 2021 to include the audiobook re-listening springs through The Princess Diaries and The Mediator series.

That, plus the fact that we have basically two months to go in the year, prompted me to reflect on my reading progress for the year to see how my goals are sitting, and whether there’s anything I want to make sure I check off before we ring in 2022.

I wrote about this new spreadsheet system for tracking my reading earlier this year, courtesy of Book Riot, and I am happy to say I’m still very much enjoying it (though, going back through and adding 20 audiobooks to the list in one go was a bit on the taxing side). Now, let’s see how a few of my key stats stand as we round out the year.


Total Books Read

Originally, I set out to read 50 books this year. When I hit that a few months ago (!), I set a higher goal of 75.

When I plugged in my audio rereads, I hit this goal, too. I’m not sure I want to set a new goal at this point, but rather just keep reading through the rest of the year and see where I get.

I don’t think quantity is the end-all, be-all goal of a reading year. I feel like I’m a fast reader, and yet some book bloggers and bookstagrammers leave me in the dust! Rather, setting a goal helps me remind myself that reading is something I enjoy and that I want to make time for, and it’s fun to see how many books I can read in a year.


Format

One of the things the fancy reading spreadsheet tracks is format. Before I plugged in my rereads, audio had a much smaller slice of the pie. Typically I only read one audiobook a month and patiently wait for my next credit before buying more because I’m disciplined like that.

But my usual audio habits are no match for Meg Cabot and childhood nostalgia, apparently, and thus, audio has claimed a larger slice of my pie this year. I suspect this percentage will tick back down a bit prior to the year’s end, since I’m on Book 6 of the Mediator series now, with only 1.5 to go (Proposal is a novella, and I don’t think I’ve actually read that one before).


Publication Date

Another chart that shifted pretty significantly once I slotted in my audio rereads. Prior to adding in these books from the early aughts, my pie was largely books published in 2020, since I seem to lag about a year behind when I’m not reading arcs. The chart doesn’t have a good way to reflect the handful of future publications I read as a book blogger, so the percentages aren’t really the full picture of my reading this year.

I think the only change for this stat from now to the end of the year will be that the newer books will edge closer to the lead, as I’ve got a lot of holiday reads planned that came out this year.


Genre

The last chart I’d like to share for today’s post is my genre breakdown. It’s funny that I hadn’t read an adult romance novel at all when I first started this blog’s former self back in 2015. Now, romance takes the primary bulk of my chart, probably because publishing romantic comedy books has become more popular in recent years (I prefer my love with some lols and still don’t read many romances that aren’t also billed as funny).

I will say, I think the genre options for this spreadsheet are a little limited, as there isn’t much space for books that are a little more wibbly wobbly in their genre. I had to have a think about whether the paranormal romance, ghost-buster business that is Mediator series should fall into fantasy or romance, since both aspects are key components of the books. Were I skilled enough at Excel to make the spreadsheet stats include subgenres like paranormal romance, women’s fiction, and romantic comedy, I would so so. Alas, I am not.


There’s plenty of other interesting stats on offer, but these are the key ones that are interesting (at least to me) at this point in time. In all, I’m pretty satisfied with the variety of books I’ve read this year, even if I did indulge in a lot of feel-good romances as my pie chart attests. I also tried out some thrillers and mystery/crime novels, which were both genres I don’t normally read. Heck, I even accidentally read a horror novel (thank goodness it was YA).

I’ve asked it before and I’ll ask it again because I never stop wondering–do you track your reading in any way? If so, do any of the stats or patterns in your reading life surprise you?


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