Hi friends! Thanks for joining me today; I’m so glad you’re here 💙. Today I’m sharing my 2021 Annual Reading Stats! This is the second of two year-end wrap-up posts I’m sharing. In my last post, the 2021 End of Year Reading Survey, I discussed my favorite, least favorite, and most surprising reads of 2021. Today, I’ll be breaking down my reading year with some stats. We’ll be looking at my year in books based on star rating, page count, genre, and more! I’ll also be checking in to see how diversely I read in 2021 and setting some goals for 2022.
If you’d like to read more about all the books I read this year, you can check out my Monthly Wrap-Ups to find my posts for each month. You can also check out my completed list for the 2021 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge to see everything I read for that.
Now let’s dive into some stats!
2021 Annual Reading Stats: Quickfire Round
Total Books Read: 54
This year, I read 54 books. This is a 63% increase from 2020.
Since my goal this year was to read 50 books, the fact that I read 54 books in 2021 means I exceeded my goal by 4 books!
Total Pages Read: 21,000
This year, I read a total of 21,000 pages. This is a 39% increase from 2020.
This year, my average number of pages per book was 388. This is a 14% decrease in pages per book from 2020.
Shortest Book: The Test
The shortest book I read this year was The Test by Sylvain Neuvel, coming in at 112 pages. This is longer than last year’s winner in this category: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, coming in at 76 pages long.
I talk more about The Test in my July 2021 Wrap-Up, which you can read ･ﾟ✧here✧ﾟ･.
Longest Book: War and Peace
The longest book I read this year was War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, coming in at 1,273 pages. This is longer than last year’s winner in this category: Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, coming in at 912 pages long.
I talk more about War and Peace in my February 2021 Wrap-Up, which you can read ･ﾟ✧here✧ﾟ･.
Most Popular Book: The Midnight Library
This year, the most popular book I read was The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. The Midnight Library has a total of 758,761 ratings on Goodreads. This is an average of 378,381 ratings per year since the book was published in 2020.
I talk more about The Midnight Library in my August 2021 Wrap-Up, which you can read ･ﾟ✧here✧ﾟ･.
Least Popular Book: Brown Girl in the Ring
The least popular book I read this year was Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson. Brown Girl in the Ring has a total of 5,723 ratings on Goodreads. This is an average of 238 ratings per year since the book was published in 1998.
I talk more about Brown Girl in the Ring in my June 2021 Wrap-Up, which you can read ･ﾟ✧here✧ﾟ･.
Highest Rated Book: House of Earth and Blood
This year, the highest-rated book I read was House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas. House of Earth and Blood has an average rating of 4.44 out of 5 stars, based on 198,087 total ratings on Goodreads.
I liked House of Earth and Blood much less than average, rating it 1.5 out of 5 stars.
I talk more about House of Earth and Blood in my June 2021 Wrap-Up, which you can read ･ﾟ✧here✧ﾟ･.
Lowest Rated Book: Black Leopard, Red Wolf
This year, the lowest-rated book I read was Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James. Black Leopard, Red Wolf has an average rating of 3.43 out of 5 stars, based on 20,370 total ratings on Goodreads.
I liked Black Leopard, Red Wolf more than average, rating it 4.0 out of 5 stars.
I talk more about Black Leopard, Red Wolf in my February 2021 Wrap-Up, which you can read ･ﾟ✧here✧ﾟ･.
2021 Annual Reading Stats: Once More, With Graphs!
Now that the quick stats are out of the way, we can get into the fun part: detailed stats, with graphs!
Books Read by Star Rating
This year, my average overall rating was 3.58 out of 5 stars. My most commonly-awarded rating was 4.0 out of 5 stars.
- 0.5 stars — 0 books
- 1.0 stars — 0 books
- 1.5 stars — 2 books
- 2.0 stars — 1 book
- 2.5 stars — 5 books
- 3.0 stars — 8 books
- 3.5 stars — 13 books
- 4.0 stars — 17 books
- 4.5 stars — 3 books
- 5.0 stars — 5 books
This breakdown doesn’t really surprise me. I participate in a reading challenge every year because I want to read more books outside my comfort zone. That said, I (almost) never pick things up I’m not at least a little bit interested in. Sometimes, I find new favorites this way; other times, the books are just okay; only very rarely do I end up hating them.
So, an average rating of 3.5 stars makes sense — almost everything I read this year was at least good, and there were quite a few great books. All in all, 2021 was not a bad year in this regard!
Books Read by Page Count
As noted in the quickfire round, my average number of pages per book this year was 388. Most of the books I read this year were between 300 and 400 pages long.
- 1-200 pages: 4 books
- 201-300 pages: 13 books
- 301-400 pages: 18 books
- 401-500 pages: 8 books
- 501-600 pages: 7 books
- 601-700 pages: 2 books
- 701-800 pages: 0 books
- 801-900 pages: 1 book
- 901-1000 pages: 0 books
- 1000+ pages: 1 book
This stat does surprise me a little bit. I often gravitate toward chunky books simply because it means there’s more story for me to read. So, to see that the majority of the books I read this year were under 400 pages is a little shocking.
A 300ish page count is probably about average for most books, but it’s a bit on the lower side for me. If I had to guess why this stat is so “low,” I’d probably say it’s because I read so many eBooks. Shopping for books online doesn’t give you much opportunity to see how chunky they are.
Books Read by Genre
I read 11 mystery/thriller books this year, making it my most-read genre. My second- and third-most read genres were fantasy and historical fiction, respectively.
- Mystery/Thriller: 11 books
- Fantasy: 10 books
- Historical Fiction: 9 books
- Literary Fiction: 9 books
- Non-Fiction: 9 books
- Science Fiction: 7 books
- Horror: 6 books
- Classic: 6 books
- Social Justice: 5 books
- Magical Realism: 4 books
The graph above shows only my top ten most-read genres. So, not pictured here is the memoir and biography category, of which I only read 1 book.
I’m not surprised to see fantasy in my top three genres this year, as it’s my favorite genre. At first, I was surprised to see mystery/thriller at the top, but I do like crime stories, so it does make a little bit of sense. I am very shocked to see historical fiction up so high, though. I definitely didn’t see that coming!
Books Read by Relationship Status
“Relationship Status” is just my euphemism for how a particular book relates to others. It can be a standalone work, which means it has no other directly associated books. A book categorized as being or having a companion can be read independently. However, it may have closely-related books that are not direct sequels or prequels. Most detective novels and serialized fiction would be placed in this category. And, of course, a book can be either the first or last book in a series, or it may fall somewhere in the middle. I think those categories are pretty self-explanatory.
- 37 of the books I read this year were standalone stories.
- 8 of the books I read this year were (or had) companion novels.
- 9 of the books I read this year were the first book in a series.
- 0 of the books I read this year were in the middle of a series.
- 0 of the books I read this year were the last book in a series.
As shown in the graph above, I read several standalone books in 2021, with 37 books falling into this category. This doesn’t surprise me because I read quite a few non-fiction books and classics. Additionally, when selecting books for my reading challenge that aren’t on my original TBR, I try to only add books from a series if I’m reasonably sure I’ll enjoy the whole series.
Also shown in that graph is the fact that I finished precisely zero series this year, despite starting 9 of them! This stat inspired one of my 2022 reading goals: make more headway in my series. Sometimes I get afraid to pick up sequels because I never want the story to end. But, c’mon, deliberately depriving myself of closure has to be a worse form of torture, right? I’ll definitely be working on this next year.
Books Read by Publishing Era
The buckets in this category are not perfect. However, they align with the publishing eras listed in my review index, and that’s good enough for me. They suffice for a rough delineation of literature throughout history: ancient classics, early classics, modern classics, contemporary publications, and recent releases.
And, yes, I do consider the year 2000 “recent.” I have neither the money nor the time to buy every brand-new release I want to read. No matter how badly I might want to. 🥲
- 2 of the books I read this year were published between BCE and 1499.
- 0 of the books I read this year were published between 1500 and 1699.
- 3 of the books I read this year were published between 1700 and 1899.
- 11 of the books I read this year were published between 1900 and 1999.
- 38 of the books I read this year were published in 2000 or later.
Unsurprisingly, most of the books I read in 2021 were published after the year 2000. I have no problem with this, but I do wish I had read more classics this year.
I started 2021 aiming to read 12 classics — one every month. However, I quickly realized I was being over-ambitious with this goal. I don’t want reading to ever feel like homework, but I still want to challenge myself. This statistic has inspired another one of my 2022 reading goals: Read at least 6 classics — one every other month. I think that’s much more manageable.
Books Read by Author Origin
It is always a goal of mine to read more diversely. I mean this not only in terms of race, gender, and sexuality, which I’ll highlight in the next section. I also mean this in terms of reading books by authors from all over the world.
- 28 of the books I read this year were written by authors from North America.
- 19 of the books I read this year were written by authors from Europe and/or Oceania.
- 4 of the books I read this year were written by authors from Latin America and/or the Caribbean.
- 2 of the books I read this year were written by authors from Africa and/or the Middle East.
- 1 book I read this year was written by an author from South Asia.
Once again, the results in this category do not surprise me. The vast majority of authors I read this year were from the western world. Author Origin is not something I have consciously focused on diversifying in previous years. As our world becomes increasingly globalized, someone’s nationality is only one part of what informs their identity. Cultural and social identities can be just as — if not more — important in informing how we see ourselves. Thus, I tended to focus more on diversifying the authors I read based on their race, gender, sexuality, etc.
That said, I do wish there was a healthier distribution in this category. This has also inspired one of my 2022 reading goals: read more books by authors outside the United States and the United Kingdom.
We have arrived at the final section in the Detailed Stats portion of the 2021 Annual Reading Stats post. The Diversity Check-In stat is important to me, but it can be difficult to quantify success in this category.
Being too aggressive with diversity goals can cause a form of tunnel vision, in which folks can sometimes forget the human behind the identity. This is also known as tokenism, which is not genuine diversity. If want to learn more about the difference between the two, I suggest you check out T1J’s video: Diversity vs. Tokenism.
- 25 of the books I read this year were written by male-identifying authors.
- 28 of the books I read this year were written by women-identifying (and femme) authors.
- 20 of the books I read this year were written by BIPOC authors.
- 13 of the books I read this year had LGBTQ+ representation.
- 28 of the books I read this year were vanilla.
It’s important to note that a book can fall into multiple categories in the graph above. I classify a book as “vanilla” if it was written by a white, cishet man or woman and contains no LGBTQ+ representation. A book is not vanilla if it has any queer representation (either via the author or the characters) or is written by a BIPOC author.
I am happy with the distribution present in this category. I wish there were fewer vanilla books, but I’m pleased to see that most of the books I read this year were written by BIPOC authors. Additionally, adding up the number of books containing queer representation (13) and the number of books with BIPOC authors (20) shows us that it surpasses the total number of vanilla books (28).
So, on the whole, I read more diverse books than vanilla books; I think that’s a win! I’m also not upset to see women authors outnumbering male authors this year. All in all, this category is looking pretty good.
My Favorite Books of 2021
Favorite Fiction Book of 2021: Son of the Storm
Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa
Originally published in 2021
Read on May 23, 2021
I rated it 5 out of 5 stars
I read Son of the Storm for the “a book published in 2021” prompt of my 2021 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge. While the premise intrigued me, I purposely avoided setting any expectations before reading. To that point, I had not read anything else by the author, this was the first book in a new series, and I don’t read a lot of new releases in general.
Well, everything changed when
the fire nation attacked I read this book. Instantly, I fell in love with the protagonist, Danso. He’s a brilliant university student whose proclivity toward sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong is often his downfall. Throughout the story, he’s forced to question everything he’s ever been told by his professors… and his government.
At first, I rated Son of the Storm 4.5 stars. My only criticism was that I thought the pacing could have been tighter. However, the more I reflected on the book, I realized how perfectly balanced the story was. From thrilling, high-intensity chase scenes to quiet, catch-your-breath moments, and even those oh-so-necessary character-building and bonding scenes — this book honestly had it all. Now I am anxiously awaiting its sequel, Warrior of the Wind, to receive a release date!
If you’re intrigued, support a local bookstore (and this blog!) by purchasing Son of the Storm on Bookshop.org.
Favorite Non-Fiction Book of 2021: Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge
Originally published in 2017
Read on January 28, 2021
I rated it 5 out of 5 stars
Well, that was easy. If you know me at all, this selection probably doesn’t surprise you one bit. Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race is well-researched, brilliantly written, and highly intersectional. In other words, it’s everything I could ask for from a work of social justice non-fiction.
What made this book stand out among all the social justice non-fiction I read this year was how balanced it was. Reni uses her personal experiences to illustrate her points while simultaneously backing up those assertions with data and hard evidence. It’s important to remember that systemic injustices have tangible impacts on real people. Reni shares personal stories and interviews to remind us of this fact. But it’s also important to remember that systemic injustices are just that: systemic. Driving home the truths shared in those personal anecdotes with evidence and statistics prevents us from dismissing those personal experiences as merely anecdotal.
In her book, Reni removes our plausible deniability and forces us to confront the realities of systemic injustice — and how we may be complicit in it. I talk more about this in my (messy) full-length review, which you can read at your own risk.
If you want to add Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race to your social justice reading list, support a local bookstore (and this blog!) by purchasing it on Bookshop.org.
Favorite Classic of 2021: Frankenstein
Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Originally published in 1818
Read on October 7, 2021
I rated it 5 out of 5 stars
If you read my last post, where I shared my 2021 End of Year Reading Survey, this favorite should not surprise you. I first read Frankenstein in 2019. During that read, I was taken aback by the lack of scary monster shenanigans taking place. The sullen, introspective, moody philosophy between these pages was not what I expected. Nevertheless, I appreciated the story I got.
This year, going into my second read, I knew I wanted to pay much closer attention to the themes and literary devices at work in Frankenstein. Turns out, doppelgänger allusions and foreshadowing abound here! I also noticed all the biblical and mythological references that I missed on my first read. I’ve already gushed quite a bit about Frankenstein in my wrap-ups and in my last post, so I’ll quell my urge to do so again here. Long story short, five highlighters and over one hundred sticky flags later, it’s safe to say Mary Shelley’s classic is a new forever-favorite.
If you want to check out one of the most beloved classics of the gothic and science-fiction genres, support a local bookstore (and this blog!) by purchasing Frankenstein on Bookshop.org.
2022 Reading Goals
Goal #1: Read (at least) 50 Books
Every year, I set my reading goal at 50 books. Thanks to finally not being a full-time student, I actually exceeded this goal for the first time in 2021. This is, obviously, much lower than most folks in online book communities typically set their goals. For me, though, it’s the perfect balance of reasonable and challenging.
As I’ve previously mentioned, I want reading to be fun. I also want to make sure I’m getting the most out of every book I read. Forcing myself to read 100 or more books in a year — just for the sake of looking like a “real” reader — would be counterproductive to both of those points.
Thus, setting my goal at 50 books ensures I’m making time to read a few times a week while also giving me time for my other hobbies and responsibilities.
Goal #2: Read 12 Non-Fiction and Classic Books
As I mentioned above, I went into 2021 hoping to read a total of 12 classics. I also went into 2021 hoping to read 12 non-fiction books. This was, needless to say, way too ambitious. So, in 2022, I’m scaling that back by half. I want to read a total of 12 non-fiction and classic books — six of each.
For the first time in my entire, overly-structured life, I have created a TBR Jar. This jar contains blue and pink sticky notes. The blue sticky notes have non-fiction titles written on them; the pink ones have the titles of classics. Every month, I will alternate the colors of the sticky note I pull from this jar and aim to read the book indicated. To be honest, I’m a litle nervous about introducing this element of randomness into my reading life. But I wanted to try something new, and this seemed like a fun way to do it.
I’ll repeat this process every time I finish a non-fiction or classic book. With luck, I’ll have completed 12 of these babies by the end of the year!
Goal #3: Read more Middle- and End-of-Series Books
After looking at my (dismal) “Relationship Status” stats, I decided I needed to prioritize making headway in some series in 2022. As of now, I only have three sequels on my 2022 Reading Challenge list. However, for most of the prompts, I have multiple options. That gives me the flexibility to swap in additional sequels throughout the year as I see fit.
I won’t force myself to finish any series that I’m not loving. Still, I’d love to finish 2022 with at least a couple tallies in the “middle of series” and “end of series” categories.
Goal #4: Globalize My TBR
Okay, I know I was just saying that Author Origin isn’t something I typically make a concerted effort to diversify. Still, I was a little disappointed to see so few authors from the Global South on my 2021 reading list.
With that in mind, I’m going to try to read more books written by authors from the Global South or translated from a language other than English. I don’t have a graph for this, but I may add one in next year’s edition of this post.
Goal #5: Publish 30 Blog Posts
Since I blog about the things I read, I thought it only fitting to include at least one goal relating to my blog on this list. As I mentioned in my 2021 End of Year Reading Survey, I already have a decent content plan underway for 2022. I’ll be writing the usual monthly wrap-ups and adding quarterly stats updates and a few book tags.
As of now, I have 23 posts planned, which means I only have to come up with seven new post ideas to hit my goal. Those seven posts will probably be Book Reviews, but who knows, maybe some wild inspiration will strike, and I’ll do something different.
If I’m being honest, I’d really love to post at least once every week — so about 50 posts in 2022. However, I know how long it sometimes takes me to put together a (quality) book review. (Reader, it takes me forever.) I didn’t want to take on too much by making that my official goal, so I settled on 30. We’ll see how I stack up on this when I check back in on these goals next year!
So Long, 2021! You’ve Been… Pretty Good, Actually!
Whew, we made it, folks! That’s all I’ve got for this 2021 Annual Reading Stats and Favorites post. If you made it this far, thanks for sticking with me. I’d love to hear how your reading year went.
What was your favorite book of 2021? What was your least favorite? Do you track any reading stats? If so, which ones do you want to brag about? What reading goal(s) are you setting for 2022? Let me know in the comments down below!
I’ll be back next week with my reading list for my 2022 Reading Challenge, so keep your eyes peeled for that! In the meantime, you can keep up with my reading on Goodreads, where you can find me at @tassara_txt or follow my other social media. I’m on Twitter as @tassara_exe and Pinterest as @tassara_jpg.
As always: thanks for reading, and I’ll see you soon. 💙
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