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2021 Wrap-Up: Statistics and Top Books

After the slump that was 2020 (and I’m sure I’m far from the only one), 2021 was again a fairly normal reading year. I finished Bingo earlier than ever, in November, and then easily reached my goodreads stretch goal of 69 books.

Now onto the stats and recommendations!

Statistics

New vs. rereads vs. DNFs

read

In 2021 I read 69 new books (compared to 44 in 2020) and 9-ish rereads. Might have been a couple more, but I was not exactly great at counting them, especially the many partial rereads of my favourite parts of books. My most reread book was probably Mindline, but since I didn’t keep careful track of rereads, there could be others.

I quit 11 books or 14% of all the books I attempted (compared to 4 in 2020). 6 of those, over half, were in December. Let’s call it bad luck.

I posted 36 full-length reviews (compared to 26 in 2020, yay for 10 more!), and 6 mini review posts.

Genres

genre

56 (81%) of the books I read were SFF, 7 (10%) were other fiction, and 6 (9%) were nonfiction, mostly biographies. The year before, 32 of the books I read were SFF (73%), 9 non-SFF romance (20%), and 3 nonfiction/biographies (7%).

I’m slightly surprised that I read more SFF in 2021 than in 2020, ratio-wise.

Gender

gender

As far as I can tell, I read 44 (64%) books by female authors, 14 (20%) books by male authors, 10 (15%) by non-binary authors, and 1 (1%) collection that included short stories by authors of various genders.

In comparison, in 2020 the percentages were 66% female authors, 20% male authors, 7% non-binary authors, 7% mixed-gender teams, and 2% by an unknown author.

Length

length

In 2021 I read 45 (65%) novel-length books, 18 (26%) novellas, 2 (3%) graphic novels, and 4 (6%) collections.

Compared to 2020, when 26 (59%) were novel-length, 12 (27%) were novellas, 2  (5%) were graphic novels, 3 (7%) were collections, and 1 (2%) was an epic poem.

Standalones & series

standalones

41 books or 59% of what I read could be read on its own (compared to 52% in 2020). I thought the percentage would go down a bit since I was reading more books, but it only grew. In addition, only 7 or 25% of the other 28 books were sequels. I always hope the number will go up, but it rarely ever does.

Self-published

selfpub

4 (6%) books were self-published (compared to 30% in 2020 and 8% in 2019). A drastic difference, but an expected one – I read very little romance in 2021, and when it comes to SFF, I’m wary of self-pub books unless they come highly recommended by people I trust.

Ratings

ratings

12 (17%) were rated 5 stars,  34 (49%) were rated 4 stars, 13 (19%) were rated 3 stars, 5 (7%) were rated 2 stars, 2 (3%) were rated 1 star, and 3 (4%) were unrated.

Compared to 2020 where the percentages were 25% for 5 stars, 52% for 4 stars, 9% for 3 stars, 94% for 2 stars, and zero 1 star or unrated books.

Favourite books

This time I have nine and I decided to sort them approximately by colour. Links lead to reviews!

2021 fav books red

The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polansky

A wonderfully experimental little novella, I loved the POV gimmick and the writing style a lot.

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

Poly vampires, beautiful prose, and escaping an abusive relationship. Unexpected, but so good.

Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

I don’t like superheroes at all but holy shit this was so much fun. Probably helped that it was from the villains’ POV.

2021 fav books blue

Mindline by M.C.A. Hogarth

Has its share of issues, but nonetheless it was my comfort (or rather, hurt/comfort) slice of life read of the year.

The Light Between Worlds by Laura Weymouth

A beautifully written exploration of grief and trauma of two sisters after they return from a portal fantasy world. Slow and melancholy and perfect in every way.

Emilie du Châtelet by Judith P. Zinsser

A biography of one of my favourite historical figures – I had a lot of fun writing the review as well, because I tried (and succeeded) to do it without mentioning the name of her far more famous lover even once 😁

2021 fav books yellow

Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Another incredible novella. The blend of fantasy and sci-fi depending on the POV was fantastic, but I would put a warning for body horror.

The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd Jones

Mostly, I loved the romance subplot in this one – gravedigger heroine who fights undead with an axe, mapmaker hero who has chronic pain, hit several of my hard to find preferences.

Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

The worldbuilding, the twists, the 18th century references, unreliable narration…this was pretty much made for me. I think Terra Ignota will end up as one of my favourite series once I finish it.

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