2020 In Review – by the Numbers

Every year since 2014, I’ve tried to do an audit of my reading, as well as a list of my favorite books of the year. Most of you, dear readers, seem more interested in the books than the numbers, but publishing the numbers is my way of keeping myself accountable.

2019 Overview

Bar graph of the books I read, finished, reviewed, and rated 8 or above in 2020.
I logged 206 books in 2020, finished 196 (though some of this was abandoning comfort re-reads partway through rather than not liking the book), reviewed 118, and rated 50 8 or above. This is again many fewer books than the year before, but nearly double the number of reviews. For 2020, I’ll take it.
Pie chart of how I got the books I read in 2020 - 72% from the library, 16% purchased, 10% from publishers, and 2.4% from authors.
I am still a library reader! But having the library closed for several months, and worrying about my local bookstores closing, led me to turn more to friendly publisher and buying my own books.
Pie Chart of the format of my reading in 2020 - 52.9% print, 25.2% audio, 11.2% ebook, 10.2% graphic and one lone cd book.
2020 makes itself known in the format, too, with my ebook reading jumping from 1 to 11 percent.

What I Read

Pie Chart of the genres of my 2020 reading: 61.2% Fantasy, 16.5% Realistic, 6.3% Nonfiction, 4.9% Sci-Fi, 3.9% Historical, 3.4 % Romance.
I guess I wanted even more fantasy than usual this year? Poor science fiction, though!
Lagging behind nonfiction for the first time ever.
Pie chart of the intended reading age/audience of the books I read in 2020: 71.8% middle grade, 14.6% teen, 10.7% Adult, 2.4% Early Chapter Book, .5% Not Quite Middle Grade
Middle grade was even higher than usual, with fewer teen and early chapter books read.

The Authors

Pie chart of author ethnicity of my 2020 reading - 49.3% white, 18% African/Black, 13.7% Asian, 8.3% Latinx, 2.9% both South Asian and Native.
Woot! This is the first year since I’ve been tracking that I’ve read more books by authors of color than white authors. There are many more to read, but this is real progress!
Pie chart of author ethnicity from my 2015 reading - 85% white authors.
For reference, here’s the same chart from 2015, with 85% white authors.
Author Nationality - 82% American, 6% UK, 3% Canadian, 1.5% Australian, and a handful of other countries with just one or two books.
I don’t think there’s much change here, as I don’t make too much of an effort to read authors outside of the US. It’s always fun when other countries pop up, though!
Author Gender - 72% F, 20 % M, the rest mixed.
71% books by female authors is the same as last year. Also the same as last year, I need to work on reading more books by trans and non-binary authors. Recommendations, please!

The Characters

Character ethnicity pie chart - 33.7% white, 16.8% Black, 11.4% Asian, 8.4% Latinx, 3.5% South Asian, 3% Native, 3% animal, 3% unspecified brown, 8.9% mixed (including both single mixed race characters and multiple main character stories.)
In 2019, my percentage of white characters was 39%. That’s telling me that not only am I moving in the direction I want as far as reading more diversely, I’m also doing better at choosing books by authors of color, instead of white authors writing characters of color. Thanks to publisher and authors for making this easier!
Pie chart of random other character traits, including 7.9% LGBTQ, 2.5% disabled, and 2% Muslim - lots of room for improvement here.
This is the column in my reading spreadsheet where I track things other than character ethnicity, such as other religions than Christianity, LGBTQ things, etc. It is most common in middle grade books for characters to seem middle class, cis-gendered, not religious, and to have no romantic feelings. But it looks like I have work to do as far as looking for characters from different walks of life.

I’ve been doing these graphs for several years now – here they are from 2019, 2018, 2017, 20162015, and 2014. As always, if you know of any middle grade or teen books, especially fantasy books, that would help me round things out as far as reading more LGBTQ or Native authors, and authors outside the US or UK, please do let me know!  

About Katy K.

I'm a librarian and book worm who believes that children and adults deserve great books to read.
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4 Responses to 2020 In Review – by the Numbers

  1. Thank goodness for library ebooks in 2020!! I recently read Ana on the Edge, which is by a non-binary author. Can’t recall if you’ve already read it. I feel like I may have already rec’d you the Indigenous MG titles I know but to be sure, I will recommend The Ghost Collector, The Barren Grounds, I Can Make This Promise, Apple in the Middle, and Indian No More. 😀

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