2021: A Year in Review

In 2021, I read 108 books (to 2020’s 103). Of those:

  • 85% were fiction, and the rest nonfiction. This represents a real change, not only from 2020 (last year I read 36% nonfiction, and 6% poetry), but over the years. The world just got ugly enough that I needed more escapism than usual, I think.
  • 61% were written by female authors (46% last year); 32% were by men (51% last year), with the remainder being collections by multiple authors, or variously unidentifiable, or other.
  • Of the fiction I read, 14% were mysteries or thrillers, 10% historical, 12% fantasy or sci fi, and equal handfuls were fairy tale/folktales, horror, and children’s or YA. The overwhelming 46% I labeled contemporary fiction – my largest and most nebulous category. (Last year, 23% were contemporary, 23% historical, 18% mysteries, and 10% thriller.)
  • I “read” just 8 audiobooks (last year 18).
  • This year, as last year, 58% of my reading was for pleasure, and the rest were for paid reviews.
  • I checked out 14% of the books I read from my local library, and the rest were an even split between purchased books and those sent to me for review. (Last year 13% were library books, 45% were purchased and 40% were sent to me for reviews.)
  • Last year, I reread three books; this year, just one, if you count the graphic novel adaptation of The Jungle.
  • A whopping 46% of this year’s reads were e-books (last year, 37%). I’m not sure how this happened. I mean, it’s because reviews moved to e-books after the pandemic, but I’m not thrilled that it’s gotten so extreme!
  • Of the books I read this year, 19% were by Black authors, and 66% by white authors. This represents a slight improvement over last year, but not enough yet. (In 2020, 17% were authored by Black writers, 9% I marked other or unknown, and 75% were white.)
  • Last year 10% of the books I read were authored by people who identify publicly as queer, and this year, only 8%.

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