Last Updated on January 16, 2021 by ThoughtsStained
I harbor a guess that, with all of the new years posts or end of the year wrap-ups, all of us might be reflecting upon how shit of a year 2020 was. For me, it definitely had its ups and downs, but in reading in particular, it…sorta sucked? Not the books I read themselves; those, I generally enjoyed! But, reading was something that went on the backburner a lot, in favor of video games to help me relax or just because my depression spiked, um, a fuckton last year (surprise, surprise!).
Also not a surprise: I only read 30 books last year, when I read almost 80 in 2019.
Yet, I’m not going to beat myself up for it (she says, as she continually beats herself up about it). Even though this post is going to highlight some stats about these reads and some challenges I attempted–many reflecting how poorly I did on those–the context is important. My day job went from manageable to completely draining and overwhelming; my mental health spiraled and my stress skyrocketed; my freelance editing grew and I took on double the number of clients from 2019 (yay!); and I just spent a lot of time on my PS4.
Still, I want to explore what I read and attempted in 2020 and look at how I did, reading challenge wise, before I shift gears and look at goals for 2021 (which you’ll be able to find in my 2021 intentions post).
First, let’s look at what I read in 2020, with some quick stats.
Out of the 30 books I read, 25 were fantasy books, so the love for that is definitely not gone. Romance and science fiction were split two apiece, with one non-fiction craft book for writing.
For the first few months of 2020, I was finishing up my obligations as a judge for SPFBO 5, so it makes sense that almost a third of my reading came from that group alone. I also had a few client books to read before I could work on their manuscript, one review request from an author and seven ARCs that I managed to cross off my list, leaving nine books that I read just for me.
One of the things I want to do is read more diversely and YIKES, did I completely fail to do that in 2020. Despite a third of the white authors I read being assigned to me through SPFBO, I didn’t realize that, even despite reading much less than what I usually do, my reads were still very much white.
Definitely not letting them happen in 2021.
Likewise, I’d love to read more books by women and I did do that this year! However, I didn’t read any transgender, bigender or non-binary authors this year (at least, according to their author websites, which is how I made this chart), which is really disappointing to me. So, another area to work on! I also know, out of the authors I read this year, only one was queer, so I have a lot of work to do actually diversiying my reads like I want to!
2020 Reading Challenges
As you can see on my announcement post summarizing my reading challenges, I signed up for quite a few at the beginning of the year, feeling quite ambitious, not realizing what kind of year 2020 was going to be. It’s no surprise that I didn’t meet any of them (haha, oops), but I think they were all really cool challenges still, so I want to highlight them and we can cry together.
2020 Book Discussion Challenge — Hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight!
Goal: 11-20 – Creative Conversationalist
Reality: 12 posts!
So, I actually completed this one, which is super exciting! *throws balloons* Discussion posts are some of my favorites to write and I want to do a better job this year at finding and engaging in bookish discussion posts, because they are some of my favorites to read, too. Also, shout to to Rukky @ Eternity Books and Dani @ Literary Lion for hosting Let’s Talk Bookish, which, honestly, is the only reason I was able to complete this goal at all!
Year of the Asian Readathon — Hosted By Lily @ Sprinkles of Dreams, Shealea @ Shut Up Shealea, Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads and CW @ The Quiet Pond
Goal: Indian cobra: 11 to 20 books read
Reality: 4 books
I still didn’t get anywhere close to where I want to be with this goal, BUT I did read a few books by Asian authors this year (and I loved almost all of them), so even though I didn’t get the Indian Cobra, I did complete the first tier of the Phillippine Tarsier, so I hope to do better next year, regardless of whether Year of the Asian goes for on for a third year or not.
Start on Your Shelfathon — Hosted by CW @ The Quiet Pond
Goal: Read the 143 owned books
Reality: 12? I’m honestly not sure.
I am really bummed I didn’t stay on top of this more. Firstly, because CW did such an amazing job putting this readathon together and I did a horrible job tracking my progress and an even worse job actually reading books that I owned and were on my backlist. Another goal to carry over into the new year!
ARCApocalypse 2020 — Hosted by Destiny @ The Howling Libraries
Goal: Catch up on my 67 ARCs
Reality: 7 ARCs
I…forgot I signed up for this challenge, to be honest. And while I did get a handful of ARCs crossed off my list, I also acquired a few more, too, so really hope to get a better grasp on ARCs this year!
Goal: 150 books
Reality: 30 Books
Yeah, we all know how that ridiculously ambitious attempt went. 😂
So…that’s what my 2020 reading looked like in a nutshell! While I didn’t read nearly as much as I wanted to, nor complete any of the challenges I hoped, OR read as diversely as I wanted/thought I was (this was a good wake up call!), I am trying (really hard) not to beat myself up over it. Reading was one of my first joys in life and while I definitely want to strive to do better in terms of goals and creating a better habit, because I am happier when I’m reading.
An intention in 2021 is to definitely recapture my love for reading and actually make time for it again. Let’s hope that, despite how many or how much, we all find amazing reads to enjoy this year.
30 is still better than 0! Honestly though, I think it’s a pitfall for those of us who thrive with goals and lists – we have a tendency to make them, change focus/forget about them, and then feel defeated for not checking it off. Definitely give yourself a break for not meeting all challenges in 2020…what a year! Not to mention you doubled your clients – way to go Nicole!
I actually started during quarantine making myself a monthly reading plan with the goal of keeping my reading more diverse – and if I went back and actually counted up the number of books I read from the plan vs books read of a random sub-sub-sub genre of fantasy that I’d never heard of before and got sucked into a rabbit hole for 2 weeks straight, it would be a bit scary. Turns out I love making plans…and not sticking to them. You’ve definitely inspired me to go back and look at my author diversity though – that’s a great goal and something I’d like to do for 2021!
Ooof, you really nailed it on the head there, Olivia, especially in your first paragraph in regards to goals. I love them, because they give me something to work towards, yet I fall into that trap you described; something to work on!
Hahah, I love how, even despite the best laid plans, mood reading took over and won the day. 😛 Yay! We’ll both read more diversely for 2021 and it’ll be amazing! <3 Can't wait to hear about some of the good books you read!