I’m still working on a post about my favourite books of 2021, so here I am instead to write a recap of the year! I haven’t done one of these big round-up posts since last year, but Goodreads has shown me all of my reading statistics for the year, and I am still a number nerd.
Reading wise, this year has been exciting. It’s been my most ambitious reading year to date, I’ve fallen in love with the works of many new authors, and I’ve been making the most of my local library’s app for eBooks.
This year has also been pretty tough. My mental and physical health has been at its worst and I’ve fallen a bit out of love with writing, the one thing I’ve loved for a huge proportion of my life. And Covid. We won’t forget about that.
But this blog isn’t going to focus on that: it’s going to focus on all the good books I’ve read this year and how I suddenly need to buy a new bookshelf because I’ve filled my fourth one.
This post might be long. Let’s begin!
My reading goal for the year started at 52 books. It’s the goal I’ve set for the past few years as one book per week is manageable with my life commitments, and the length of my reads varies a lot. Due to quarantines and lockdowns and a sparse university schedule, I hit that goal very quickly and then decided to increase it to 100 books, far above my highest reading years, but I was both bored and optimistic.
I found this graph the other day on Goodreads and I wish I could change it to just books I read this year, but it’s still exciting. Here’s a quick breakdown of how many books I read each month this year:
- January: 15 books (so many great reads this month)
- February: 12 books
- March: 15 books
- April: 11 books (also a lot of new favourites this month)
- May: 12 books
- June: 9 books
- July: 3 books (you can tell that I moved back to university around here)
- August: 7 books
- September: 4 books
- October: 10 books
- November: 5 books (the same as last November)
- December: 8 books
I am someone who usually feels awful about giving books low ratings and will give one-star books two stars instead. This year, I decided that I should start DNFing books I don’t like, instead of giving them low ratings or bad reviews simply because they’re not for me.
I am also someone who finishes reading an averagely good or a good (but not great) book and instantly goes “yes!! very good!! five stars!!” and has to read the reviews to see if it was actually worthy of a full five stars or just a very high four. Even looking through my Goodreads shelves now, I can recognise that there are books that were incredible in the moment but the rating has gone down slightly as time has passed. I’ve tried to fix those so that chart is as accurate as possible.
This year, I gave out a lot more three-star ratings than I have in the past as I’ve tried to be harsher and rate books on the story arcs and character development and other aspects instead of just my enjoyment.
I made a list to record which formats I read the most because that isn’t something I’ve kept track of in previous years. I wasn’t surprised to see that around half of my reads were borrowed from the local library – I’ve gotten back into using my library card in the past few years to make use of the Overdrive app to have infinite book options while I was away at university.
Best and Worst
I’m trying to do a more detailed blog post and video on my favourite and least favourite books of the year (focusing more on favourites), so I’m going to keep this section short and sweet. These are all books I read this year but I don’t think they were all written this year.
Best of 2021
- Teeth by Hannah Moskowitz. I went into this with no expectations other than a glowing review from Paper Fury and I blindly trust everything they say. It was incredible. I reviewed it here
- Small Favors by Erin A. Craig. It was almost a tie between this and House of Salt and Sorrow, but this Rumplestiltskin retelling stole my heart.
- A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. This book kept me up at night whenever I put it down to sleep and has been on my mind ever since. Beautiful and tragic and haunting.
Worst of 2021
(more like books I thought I’d love, but didn’t)
All of the books that I would consider to be truly Bad (to my tastes) were the final books in trilogies: A Vow So Bold and Deadly, The One, The Toll, and Half Lost. These were all books I thought I’d love because I loved the other books in the series (except The One – I did not enjoy any moment of The Selection series) and the finales held so many great expectations but fell flat.