Looking through the books I read each year and figuring out my reading statistics is my favorite thing ever! I love remembering all the stories I’ve enjoyed throughout the year and I love that each of these books has changed me and shaped me.
This year I read 174 books total, equaling out to about 14.5 books per month and 3.3 books per week (which sounds pretty accurate). For context, I read 135 books in 2017; 153 books in 2018; and 154 books in 2019. I don’t set Goodreads goals; I just read at my natural pace and this is how it works out. Reading is like breathing for me. It just happens naturally. And I don’t want to create any stress or pressure around something that I enjoy so much.
I read the least books in February, coming in at 11 books (because I was very sick that entire month) and the most books in July, at 22 total (ironically, that was also because I was very sick that entire month, lol). The first book I read in 2020 was Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis, and I wrapped up the year with Christmas with Anne by L.M. Montgomery (which Brooke mailed to me because she thought I would like it–I did!).
I read 125 new books this year and reread 49 books. (It makes me laugh to think about how my mom used to think we’d one day run out of books for me to read. I’ll never have enough time to read all of the books in the world that I want to read!)
Funnily enough, I came out with the same numbers for fiction and nonfiction: I read 125 fiction books, and 49 nonfiction this year.
Out of the 125 fiction books I read, there were 33 children’s books, 11 middle grade, 78 young adult, and three adult novels (at least, as near as I can figure–sometimes I’m fuzzy on what counts as a children’s book and what counts as MG).
When it comes to genres, I apparently read the most fantasy and children’s literature this year (30 and 29, respectively), with a healthy dose of historical fiction (25), contemporary (25), and Christian nonfiction books (22) and/or memoirs (18) as well. Here’s the detailed breakdown:
In 2020 I read books at the beach and books on my balcony. I read books in the car and books at the infusion center. I read books on my parents’ couch and books on my own. And I read books in five different states–Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and South Carolina.
I did the large majority of my reading in bed at night before going to sleep, meaning my kitty was present for many of the books read this year–including the moments where I shrieked aloud or violently sat up in bed at a crazy plot twist, scaring her half to death.
When I think back over this year, a few specific reading experiences stand out in my mind. I read Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, Marissa Meyer, Maggie Stiefvater, Sabaa Tahir, and Katharine McGee for the first time; in August I was basically tied to my desk for a week with a very stressful work project, and I absolutely loved bingeing McGee’s The Thousandth Floor series (which is admittedly kind of trashy, but it was exactly what I needed that week as a mental break from work). Another book that sticks out is Esther Smith’s 31-day devotional Chronic Illness: Walking by Faith; I worked through that book in June with Kenna, reading and discussing it every day, and it absolutely changed my life.
I had been waiting for a couple of years for the right time to reread Nadine Brandes’ Out of Time series. That perfect time came around during quarantine in April. I also reread the Main Street series by Ann M. Martin and I can’t put into words what that did for my heart and soul. Finally, getting into a WWII mood around Christmas and reading about my all-time favorite historical event (the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising) for the first time in probably years was amazing and reminded me who I was and who I want to be.
I also want to touch on something I realized firsthand this year: how important access is when it comes to reading. It was March 13th when I learned my library was going to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I was picking up a few books that I had on hold, and when I overheard a librarian telling somebody the news, I went to the YA section and grabbed as many random books as I could carry.
It was almost two months before the library opened up again. During that time, I gained a new perspective. I’d always heard how important access to books was to get kids to want to read. But lack of access was something I’d never experienced personally. In quarantine I realized how privileged I’d been to grow up with such amazing access to books and stories. I wasn’t very motivated to read when I didn’t have easy access to new books (well, didn’t have access unless I bought them on Amazon–I joked that I either needed the library to reopen, or I needed my stimulus check ASAP). The library being closed really opened my eyes to the importance of access and to my privilege, and I was SO grateful when the library (which is literally across the highway from my house, two minutes away) opened again.
This is a photo from May 11th, when my library finally opened up again for curbside pickup–and it’s a photo of pure joy! Happiness in a brown paper bag (or, more accurately, two bags because I seriously needed some new books lol). It felt like Christmas morning and the last day of school and my birthday all in one to finally get to go to the library again.
I also missed going to author signings and book festivals and writing conferences and bookstores this year (the Chattanooga used bookstore pictured below was a balm for the soul). I hope that both COVID and my own health will allow these things to happen again soon.
What am I excited to read in 2021? I’m in a big historical fiction phase right now, and I’m excited to reread more children’s and middle grade books, too. I also like to always have a Christian nonfiction book going so I can read a chapter or two in the morning, but sometimes I accidentally go for a long stretch of time without one–so I want to be more intentional about always having a devotional-type book going. I am so thankful for all the books I read this year; I love books and reading so much and I can’t wait to get started on all the books I’m going to read in 2021!
To see the specific books I read this year, check out my monthly wrap-ups, beginning with January 2020. And my 2019 reading recap is here if you’re interested in how my reading changed or stayed the same year over year. How many books did you read in 2020? Which ones were your favorites? What genres did you read the most? Let’s chat about books in the comments!