2020 Reading Stats and 2021 Goals

January 1, 2021

Happy New Year Book Worms!

2020 Reading Stats and 2021 Goals

Reflection: 2020 Reading and 2021 Goals (an open journal, a pen, a book, and a candle)

Image Source: Canva

Brace yourself for a nerdy post, bookaholics!

Have you ever set a reading goal or considered a reading challenge?

Reading in 2020

I’d love to hear from you if you analyze reading data at year’s end. Although I’ve always been analytical, I think my appreciation for using data to plan was heightened during my tenure as a teacher when I poured over student data to inform my teaching. Now, instead of looking at student achievement, I’m paying attention to my own numbers as it relates to reading achievement. I realize that while numbers are not that important in a rewarding reading life, they do reveal some trends and inform future reading choices. It’s important to me that I’m reading diversely, supporting women authors, and increasing my nonfiction percentage. While this post about the numbers is mostly a self-reflection, I hope you find it interesting and possibly motivating toward considering your own reading achievement during the past year and setting some goals for 2020.

If you’ve read ONE book this year, you’re a reader and I encourage you to celebrate that read and accomplishment!

Blog Feedback

I’d also like to know (in comments) what you’d like to see more of or less of on the blog for 2021. Has the variety thhasis year been satisfactory for you? I’d love to hear your thoughts! In fact, I may put together a survey in January.

2020 has been a challenging year, but I’m also so grateful for good books and good bookish conversation! Thank you to each of my followers and visitors! Thanks for the views, comments, and shares! I appreciate EACH one!

Best of 2020

See this post for a list of my most memorable reads in 2020.

Let’s Talk Numbers!

Total Books Read: 131

Remember….it’s really not about the numbers! It’s about the enjoyment of reading.

This is the highest number of books I’ve read since starting a book review blog and retiring….I averaged 25-30 books a year when I was teaching full time and the majority of those were read during the summer. For me in this season of life, 100 books is a comfortable number. I average two books per week and the weeks when I can only read one dense nonfiction or a 500+ page fiction are balanced out later when I can read 3 lighter, shorter books in one week.

Goodreads Challenge graphic

Books Abandoned (DNF): 7

I’m getting better at knowing my reading tastes and passing on books/genres that I know won’t be to my taste. I’m also not reluctant to abandon books that aren’t working for me. There are too many great books waiting to be read to make myself finish something that isn’t right for me at the time. Are you a fearless abandoner or a committed finisher

Women Authors: 120!

WOW! One of my goals in starting this blog is to support women authors writing about strong women and I feel like I’ve had success in this area. We’ve certainly come a long way since the days when women had to publish under a man’s name!

Diverse Reads: 16

For this number, I counted the books that take place in a culture other than my own, whose characters are ethnically different from me, and whose author is an author of color. It was my focus this year to intentionally read and promote authors of color. I have read other books in a broader sense of diversity, and it’s always my goal to read more diversely.

Library Books:

One stat I wanted to specifically track this year is the percentage of books I read that are from the library.

Library = 66 (50%)
ARC = 36 (27%)
Own = 29 (22%)

I feel great that half the books I read are from the library! Between library books and ARCs, 77% of my books are free! Great kindle deals help me buy books to own.

Fiction: (Broken Down by Sub-Genre): 113

The sub-genres add up to a bit more than 113 because a few books fall into more than one category.

Historical Fiction: 36
This is obviously a favorite sub-genre!

Literary Fiction: 4
This is a category that brings about some debate among readers….the most simple definition is that literary fiction is not genre fiction. Also, it’s known as literature written to explore the meaning of life and its issues….for example, most prestigious award recipients and national prize winners are categorized as literary fiction.

Women’s Fiction: 40
Wow! This is the first time I’ve ever read this much “women’s fiction”! There were months when these books were a balm to my pandemic brain! Again, a reader’s definition may vary….for me they are books in which most characters are women and the plot centers around women’s concerns and issues….some in this category are lighter reads that readers refer to as “beach reads” or “vacation reads.”

Mystery/Thriller/Suspense: 9
Clearly, I don’t read too much in this category because real life is scary enough….mainly, the books I read in this category are best sellers that I want to form my own opinion about. However, one of my favorite mystery series that I’ve deemed “just right” is the Inspector Armand Gamache Series by Louise Penny which is set in Three Pines.

Issue Centered: 11
The main purpose of these stories is to focus on a social or health issue. I usually enjoy these books unless they are heavily agenda driven by the author.

Middle Grade: 16
I love a great Middle Grade read! There’s some enjoyable and engaging literature in this category for adults!

Young Adult: 7
A satisfactory number for me this year.

Nonfiction (broken down into sub-genres): 18

This is a definite area for improvement for me in 2021 (although it’s 5 more than last year!) ! My goal is to have a 20% nonfiction percentage.

Memoir: 10
Memoir is a favorite form of nonfiction.

Biography: 1

Narrative Nonfiction: 0
Nonfiction written in story format.

Essay: 6

True Crime: 1
I started another one but it was a DNF after I had a bad dream! Not my fav genre!

Let’s Consider 2020 Goals and New 2021 Goals

Here are my reading goals for 2021 (please share yours in comments):
(for blog recap and goals, see this post)

Goal 1:

Goodreads Reading Challenge (determine how many books you’d like to read and track them through the Goodreads app). This is the easiest of the goals/challenges as it simply involves setting a number. This number can be adjusted throughout the year if you are reading above or below your goal. I recommend setting a reasonable goal and then raising it if necessary. My goal is 100 books. I met this goal in 2018, 2019, and 2020, and it’s reasonable that I will meet it again. Retirement and pandemic isolation help tremendously! The 2021 Goodreads challenge will be available at the first of the year. Are we friends on Goodreads?

Goodreads Challenge graphic

Goal 2:

Modern Mrs. Darcy 2020 Reading Challenge (very broad, doable categories that might provide some stretch in your reading life). With the number of books I read, this goal is fairly easy for me to achieve. It doesn’t require a sign up (unless you want to receive emails from the site). She has changed the structure of the challenge this year and I may not participate or I may use this one again for 2021. Here are the results from the 2020 challenge:

  1. A book I missed reading when I was younger (I changed this from a book published in the decade I was born because I couldn’t find one to interest me): A Tree Grows in Brooklyn; Bloomability
  2. A debut novel: The Girl With the Louding Voice
  3. A book recommended by a source you trust: Writers & Lovers
  4. A book by a local author: Lovely War
  5. A book outside your (genre) comfort zone (graphic novels): Hey Kiddo; Roller Girl
  6. A book in translation: Anxious People
  7. A book nominated for an award in 2020: Hamnet (Women’s Prize for Fiction winner); The Girl With the Louding Voice (shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize)
  8. A re-read: The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry (I loved it even more the second time!)
  9. A classic you didn’t read in school: The Bell Jar (modern classic); A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  10. Three Books by the same author: Big Lies in a Small Town, The Silent Sister, and Necessary Lies all by Diane Chamberlain; the Harbor series (4 books) by Sheila Roberts

Goal 3:

Participate in other challenges such as:

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge (especially great for bloggers and reviewers who want monthly link-up opportunities)….My Goal: read twenty-five histfic books. ***I read 36 books so I met my goal!

NetGalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge (link-up opportunities for members of NetGalley and Edelweiss)..My Goal: read and review 10 Netgalley books (ARCs) ***I read 36 ARCs, so I exceeded this goal!

2020 Nonfiction Reader Challenge…My Goal: read three nonfiction books from any category. Here are the categories and what I read:

  1. Memoir: Born a Crime
  2. Disaster Event: The Only Plane in the Sky
  3. Social Science: Between Inca Walls
  4. Related to an Occupation: Rust
  5. History: Caste
  6. Feminism: She Come By It Natural
  7. Psychology: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
  8. Medical Issue: The Choice (PTSD)
  9. Nature: The Salt Path
  10. True Crime:
  11. Science:
  12. Published in 2020: Don’t Overthink It

***I almost read in every category! Many of the titles above can be considered Memoir and some were Published in 2020….so if I arrange these differently, I think I’ve read at least three in each of those categories. Shelley @ Book’d Out has created a Nonfiction Challenge for 2021 which I will participate in because of my goal to read 20% nonfiction.

Blog Audit Challenge: In January last year, I decided to participate in Jo Linsdell’s challenge in order to push myself to work on my blog. It was a great year of reflection and practical steps. My monthly posts here:

January Blog Audit Challenge–Mission Statement/Strengths & Weaknesses/Content Schedule
February Blog Audit Challenge–Information Pages
March Blog Audit Challenge–The Trimmings
April Blog Audit Challenge–Design
May Blog Audit Challenge–SEO
June Blog Audit Challenge–Links
July Blog Audit Challenge–Quality Content
August Blog Audit Challenge–Content Gap
September Blog Audit Challenge–Develop Readership
October Blog Audit Challenge–Social Networking
November Blog Audit Challenge–Media Kits and Collaboration
December Blog Audit Challenge–Stats

Jo Linsdell is offering a new blog challenge for 2021. I’m thinking about it!

Goal 4:

Based on my 2020 reading, I know I want to increase my nonfiction reading percentage. Out of 131 books read, 13 were nonfiction (14%). My goal for 2021 is to increase that to 20%.

What reading goals do you have for 2021?

goal make things happen

Happy New Year! I hope you’ve experienced some pleasurable and challenging reading in 2020 and are eagerly anticipating the reading year ahead!

Good Riddance 2020!


Did you meet your reading goal for 2020?

What is your 2021 Reading Goal?

Do you use a method for tracking your reads during the year?

Have you considered your best read of the year? (see my most memorable reads in this post)

Happy Reading Book Worms!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text

In Movie News….

Did you see News of the World in the theater this week? Because of the pandemic, all our theaters are closed here. I’ll need to wait until it is streamed somewhere. It’s difficult to wait, though, because it’s my most anticipated movie (book to film adaptation) of the year!

Let’s Get Social!

Thank you for visiting and reading today! I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along (see subscribe or follow option), promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

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Winter 2020/2021 TBR

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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

Book Cover and author photo are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

© WWW.ReadingLadies.com


  1. Hi Carol! I love nerdy stats posts! Looks like you did a great job reaching your goals. I always find it interesting which goals I don’t reach. I think that often shows where my interests actually lie. Like you said, the stats don’t really matter regarding reading enjoyment, but it is fun to look at them.

    I usually set a Goodreads goal and did in 2020. My goal was 110 books and I read 113. For 2021 I am setting my goal at 104. Like you, I comfortably read about 2 books per week.

    In 2020 I participated in the following challenges:
    Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks
    The Literary Life 20 for 2020 Challenge
    The Visual Theology Reading Challenge

    I completed them all! This link to my December Reading Wrap Up post has links to those challenges and what I read: https://clearwaterdaybook.blogspot.com/2021/01/december-reading-wrap-up.html

    I also created my own challenge, which was a list of books I wanted to make sure and read in 2020. I am glad I did that, but don’t plan to do that for 2021.

    I plan to participate in the following challenges for 2021:
    Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge
    The Literary Life 19 for 2021 Challenge
    Cruizin’ Thru the Cozies Challenge

    Thanks for sharing your stats and Happy New Year!

    • Thanks for joining in the conversation Gretchen! Congrats on reaching your GR goal as well as the others! I’m hopping over now to read your post!

  2. Tracking genre more closely would be interesting, as well as own vs arc vs library/ free kindle. I kind of just glanced at the year and summized “mostly fantasy” lol

    • I keep a spreadsheet in addition to GR so that I can track more specific things. I’m also a bit of a data nerd! I’m also retired and have too much time!

  3. You did amazing with all your challenges Carol. Congrats on such a successful year.
    I’m so happy you enjoyed the Blog Audit Challenge. I’d love to have you join in again. I’ve also created a social media audit challenge for this year that you might enjoy.

      • I’ve never done that before but I track all my books for the year planned out with a spreadsheet – gifted ones anyway. I received a book journal and honestly I’m not sure what to do with it 😅 I don’t work that way. I hate revising things so it would have to be firmly permanent or in pencil lol

      • I’m confidant that if you experiment with various methods, you’ll find something that works perfectly for YOU!

  4. Well Done You!!! I can see how keeping track, can help you pick even better next year. I just do a super short summary on a back page of my old blog to keep track. This year way more reading than any other with all this time on our hands! 63 books, well short of your total, but good for me. And I’m anxious to see News of the World– looked it up just now and it seems Netflix bought the rights, so it should show up there sooner or later. Loved the book, even though I am not normally a “western” book fan. Plus- just finished The Henna Artist today. Really enjoyed the story and the setting. Just wish it had gone on a little more with her new vocation, the relationship with her sister and Dr. Kumar. Thanks for all your good book ideas! Happy reading ahead Carol!!

    • Do you ever miss blogging? This was my highest reading total, too! Thankful for books and reading this year! It’s so fun to share books recs with you Rhonda! Happy “hopeful and bookish” New Year! 🎉🥂when we receive vaccinations and it’s safe, we should meet and chat in person! We’re so close! We can have Cheryl join us! I bet you missed your traditional shopping day with your sister(?) this year! My husband loved News of the World, too. Did your husband read it?! Eager for the movie!

  5. 100 books is good for me too! I read 146 or so this year and I felt it was too much. I still have kids at home!

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