2021 wrap up, and looking forward
wow it sure has been a while since I wrote! Things of course got busy this month, and you may be shocked to know that I (unintentionally) basically haven’t read a single book—even made progress on one—in about two weeks. I want to get back to it—I have SO many things to read, as always—but I’m also aware that it’s been slow for me for reading for a bit here, thanks to the way that work goes and how much energy it takes from me, and frankly, I think after two straight years of reading five books at a time (or more!) I’m a little burnt out, or not reading stuff that’s interesting to me, or just have too many things happening.
So I’ve been taking a break! Like I said, not on purpose, but on my break I was getting up in the morning and crocheting instead, chatting with family, trying to rest. I’m back in Minnesota after a week at home, and two days of traveling back from my mom’s house (hi Mommy, miss you!) I’ve talked about books a lot, especially with friend of the newsletter Jaime, but haven’t read.
And that’s okay! Because I did a LOT of reading this year! So let’s move onto
2021 Reading Statistics
In 2021, I finished 107 books, seven more than my goal of 100. I read just under 28 pages a day, on average, and was split 51%-49% on fiction/nonfiction, in that order. 50% of the books I read were by women, 44% by men, and 6% by nonbinary authors. Only 36% of the books I read this year were by authors of color, which I think is a real dip this year, and for which I blame my run of series by white male authors—reading lots of Discworld at the beginning of the year, reading a lot of works by Terry Eagleton, reading multiple books in the Aubrey-Maturin series. 91% of books I read were for adults, 9% were YA—I read no middle grade or children’s books this year.
A whopping 70% of the books I read this year were from the library, which seems incredible. I think I need to use the library LESS often this year and focus on the books I own—only 12% of books I read were books I have purchased, and 13% were ARCs.
Interestingly, 53% of books I read this year were print books; 47% were digital! So I read way more print books this year; in 2020, only 42% were print books, and in 2019, 47% were print. So this was the year of returning to print books, which seems like it tracks for many people who were exhausted by reading mostly or only digital from the early days of the ongoing pandemic.
Going to my other reading challenge for the year, the Author Identity Challenge, I only completed 15 out of 18 prompts, or 83%. The categories I did not finish were books by: a Latinx woman, Latinx nonbinary person, and Asian/Pacific Islander nonbinary person. I read books the most by white men, at least partially because of the earlier series problem. I don’t know that I will Make a Commitment again this year; I might do another experiment and just see what happens without it. (Sometimes when I set out to accomplish something, having it as a Thing to Do makes me less likely to do it!)
I have two reading-related goals for 2022, laid out in my resolutions list. They are to once again try to read 100 books (I love consistency!) and, maybe more curiously, to only read 2 books at a time.
“ai that’s a hugely significant cut” “ai what about all the books you’re simultaneously reading right now” “ai how will you balance books from the library and books that you own” all great questions and comments. the answer to the questions is: I don’t know! this is more of an experiment. I’m still going to read print books and books on my kindle, hence my 2 books instead of just one. But I’m interested to see how it impacts my reading—if I read more, with just the one book to focus on instead of switching, how it impacts my relationship with reading from the library or reading my own books, things like that.
I also don’t know exactly what I’m going to do with THIS, the newsletter, in 2022. I’ve been writing on it for three full years (2019, 2020, and 2021,) fairly consistently, and it’s fun, but I’m not sure what it means for the future. It might be less frequent, or shorter, or both—it might be stuff that isn’t about books, or isn’t triggered by books. I want to write more this year, loosely, but get the thoughts I just repeatedly spit out on twitter but can put into a different form here. So we’ll see! I don’t think I’ll disappear, but it might be different, different format, we’ll keep it fast and loose!
Thank you so much to everyone who engaged with me this year, through reading this, responding to me in any capacity (even if I am so terrible at responding!) or anything else. I’m so grateful to have this space, and I’m excited about what cam come in the future for me, and for all of us.
Take care of yourselves, and each other. We keep us safe, and we learn from one another, and I’m so grateful to so many people I’ve learned from and with this year. Here’s to another year!