2020 in hindsight: more favorites + reading stats

Happy 2021!

Before we move on to a (hopefully much better) new year, I want to look back one more time on my reading in 2020. The other day, I told you all about my top eight favorite books of the year, but there are so many more books that I loved and want to talk about! So today I’m talking about some more of my favorite books from 2020, excluding the books on my top eight, and also getting into my reading stats. Let’s do this!

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Favorite start to a series

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The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

I adored this science fiction novel, following the motley crew of a ship traveling through space, and even though I haven’t gotten around to picking up the sequels quite yet, I’m excited to do so (hopefully) soon!

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Favorite sequel

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Love, Creekwood by Becky Albertalli

I will never, ever get tired of Simonverse content, so I’m sad that this novella is the last book we’re getting in that series. Still, I was overjoyed for a final chance to see these characters that I love so much. I don’t even care that barely anything happened in this book, I would happily read about their everyday lives for as long as Becky Albertalli lets me.

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Favorite debut

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Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Emma Lord’s debut, following two teens on opposite ends of a grilled cheese-related Twitter war, was just as adorable was the title implies. I can already tell that she is going to be a YA contemporary author to look out for.

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You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson

I’ve been raving about this amazing book since the day I finished it, so if you haven’t gotten the message already: go pick it up! Following a girl running for prom queen in order to win a scholarship, it’s hilarious and adorable and lovely. I can’t wait for whatever Leah Johnson does next.

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Favorite from a beloved author

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Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour

I’ve read almost all of Nina LaCour’s books at this point, and each one of them has blown me away. This one, about a girl who goes to work on a remote farm after aging out of the foster care system, is just as gentle and heart-wrenching as all of her others, and I absolutely loved it.

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Favorite book out of my comfort zone

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Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

I don’t read much nonfiction to begin with, but this is one that I tried out this year, and it blew me away. Wilkerson examines the caste systems within the US, India, and Nazi Germany and how they impact every facet of our lives. This book is absolutely brilliant and one that I encourage everyone to pick up.

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Favorite audiobook

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Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo’s books are always incredible on audiobook. Since this one is written in verse, it’s the perfect book to listen to so you can appreciate the music of her language, which is stunningly gorgeous. Plus, the author is one of the narrators of this audiobook!

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All the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

I’ll admit, part of what I loved about this audiobook was the narrators’ Irish accents. Honestly, though, the combination of a great book and the captivating narration caused me to listen to this entire book within the span of 24 hours. I don’t know what it was, exactly, but it sucked me in and I loved it.

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Favorite under-hyped book

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Speak Easy, Speak Love by McKelle George

I know this is a backlist title so it makes sense that it isn’t talked about as much, but! I really enjoyed it and it deserves more love. A retelling of Much Ado About Nothing set in the 1920s, it’s just as clever and fun and overly dramatic as you’d hope it would be.

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Ana on the Edge by A.J. Sass

This one truly deserves so much more attention. A middle grade book about a nonbinary figure skater, it’s so lovely and important, handling the discussions of gender identity and coming out with such care.

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Favorite new-to-me author

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Talia Hibbert (Get a Life Chloe Brown and Take a Hint, Dani Brown)

I’m obsessed with the Brown sisters books! Talia Hibbert’s writing is absolutely hysterical and always gets me emotionally invested in the relationships right away. I can’t wait to read more of her books, and for Eve Brown later this year.

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Favorite backlist book

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The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

I definitely arrived late to this book, and on the Holly Black train in general, but I’m glad I made it at last. This book was eerie and atmospheric and surprising in so many different ways.

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Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

Once again, one that I’ve heard hyped up for years and finally got around to just recently. Emma Mills’ writing is delightful and hilarious, and I definitely want to read more of her books now!

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Favorite reread

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The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Rereading the Hunger Games books for the first time in years back in the beginning days of the pandemic was…oddly comforting, despite their terrifying relevance to everything happening in the world. I certainly gained a new appreciation for them, and I enjoyed writing my review in a different format and allowing myself to get rambly and analytical.

More favorites of the year

I couldn’t fit these into any of the other categories, but I wanted to mention a few more books that I loved this year just because they deserve mentioning!

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Reading Stats

Now it’s time to get even nerdier! Get ready for lots and lots of pie charts.

I read exactly 100 books in 2020 (which made the math for this blessedly easy). I always enjoy looking at my stats from the year and seeing what types of books I’m picking up, but if you were just here to see me talk about my favorite books, feel free to just scroll past all this. 😉

Number of pages

1-199 pages 7%, 200-299 16%, 300-399 45%, 400-499 27%, 500+ 5%

As expected, most of the books I read were in the 300 or 400 page range. I’m a little disappointed at how few 500+ page books I read this year, to be honest. The longest book I read was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (777 pages) and the shortest was The Pale Dreamer by Samantha Shannon (78 pages). The average page length out of all the books I read was 353 pages.

Genre

nonfiction 5%, sci fi 11%, contemporary 34%, contemporary fantasy 18%, historical fantasy 12%, fantasy 15%,

This one is tough because there can be so much overlap between the different genres…but I did my best. I ended up dividing the fantasy books I read into contemporary fantasy, historical fantasy, and regular old fantasy—when those three are added up, fantasy is my most read genre at 45%.

Rating

5 stars 21%, 4.5 stars 14%, 4 stars 30%, 3.5 stars 14%, 3 stars 12%, 2.5 stars 2%, 2 stars 4%, 1.5 stars 1%, no rating 2%

I’m a little surprised by how many 5 star books I read, since it didn’t really feel like that many. Still, I did reread quite a few favorites, which probably considerably contributed to that number. My average rating for the year was 3.95 stars, which I’d say is pretty good.

Publication year

2021 2%, 2020 41%, 2015-2019 40%, 2010-2015 8%, 2000-209 5%, pre-2000 4%

Nearly half of the books I read were 2020 releases! And over 80% were from within the last five years! I’m glad that I’ve been keeping up with new releases, but I do desperately need to catch up on backlist titles. In addition to being the longest book I read, Little Women was also the oldest book I read, originally published in 1868.

Age group

middle grade: 9%; young adult: 56%; adult: 35%

I’m actually a little surprised by this, since I felt like I read more adult books than this. Still, it does beat 2019. I also wish I’d gotten to more middle grade in 2020…maybe that’ll have to be a goal in 2021.

Author gender

male 16%, female 70%, nonbinary/other 10%, multiple authors 4%

I like the looks of this chart! Very happy with the fact that I read so many women and nonbinary authors, though these numbers are not at all surprising given my reading habits.

Author status

familiar 42%, new to me/debut 58%

This one is pretty straightforward. I’m surprised by how many new authors I discovered in 2020, and glad that I pushed myself so much to find new voices that I wasn’t already familiar with!

Publisher

Penguin Random House 18%, Macmillan 17%, HarperCollins 24%, Hachette 12%, Simon & Schuster 5%, Scholastic 7%, other 17%

Here’s the chart that’s only interesting to me. 😉 HarperCollins wins this year, with almost a quarter of my books from 2020. And as usual, there’s a fairly sizable chunk from small and independent presses that are too difficult to include on this chart.

Format

ebook 31%, physical book 45%, graphic novel 5%, audiobook 19%

I’m not surprised to see ebooks and audiobooks taking up such a big chunk of this chart, since I wasn’t able to get physical books from my library for a good portion of the year. That also does mean that my graphic novel stats were pretty low, sadly. I only read five in 2020!

Source

bought 26%, library 46%, borrowed 10%, gift 3%, netgalley/edelweiss 15%

Despite COVID-related restrictions, my library still came through to provide 46% of the books I read in 2020. 🙏 NetGalley and Edelweiss ended up being major contributors to my reading stats this year too…which probably has something to do with why I read so many ebooks and frontlist titles.

Rereads

reread 13%, new to me 87%

I did return to some old favorites and comfort reads in 2020, but most of the books I read were brand new to me. The books I reread this year were:

  1. Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
  2. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  3. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  5. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
  6. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
  7. I Was Born For This by Alice Oseman
  8. Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
  9. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  10. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien
  11. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  12. Fire by Kristin Cashore

Through the months

First up, the number of books I read in each month of 2020:

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In other words, the visual depiction of my reading dropping off the further 2020 wore on.

Next, my average star rating from each month:

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Not really sure what to make of this, but it’s cool to see!

Highest and lowest average ratings

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According to Goodreads, the highest rated book I read in 2020 was Heartstopper: Volume 3 by Alice Oseman, with an average rating of 4.65 stars (my rating: 5 stars). The lowest rated book was Kind of a Big Deal by Shannon Hale, with an average of 2.85 stars (my rating: 4 stars).

Most and least popular

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The book with the most Goodreads ratings that I read in 2020 was The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, with 6.4 million ratings (not surprising at all). The least popular was Ana on the Edge by A.J. Sass, with only 193 ratings (and deserves many more!).

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Well, that’s that! Thanks for making it this far. Hope you enjoyed some of those pie charts!

What were some of your favorite books of 2020? What’s an underhyped book that you loved? What genre(s) did you read the most from?

x Margaret

goodreads | twitter | bookshop

23 thoughts on “2020 in hindsight: more favorites + reading stats

  1. wonderful post! i really enjoyed seeing your stats and all those pie charts, haha. i also really enjoyed You See Me in a Crown and i’m happy to see it in your favorites – i agree that it’s really adorable and heartwarming ☺️ my most read genres are also YA contemporary and fantasy! (although for me, i read more contemporary than fantasy :)) and some of my favorite reads in 2020 were Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko, The Rise of Kyoshi by F.C. Yee, and Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales.

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  2. omg I love your pie charts 😍 I love figuring out nerdy statistics for my own reading and it’s always so fun to see your take on it! And you have a few categories that I don’t use that I’d like to try out next year 👀 (Specifically the source and author status categories.) I love it

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  3. It was great to see so many of your favourite reads. I’ve heard so many good things about Acevedo’s audiobooks but I’ve always had access to the ebooks first so I just went with them !! I would like to try them out one day though. You Should See Me In A Crown was a really great debut and I would love a netflix movies sooo bad !!
    I’ve heard so many good things about Emma Mills works so I definitely want to check out their books soon !!
    It was really interesting to see all your charts for your year. I read mostly 300-499 pages too but I really want to read more 500 plus books going forward. You did so well with your reading this year and I hope 2021 is a great year for books too !! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely recommend the audiobooks of Acevedo’s books if you ever get the opportunity to listen to them! And yesss I’ve only read one of Emma Mills’ books so far but I can’t wait to read more 😀
      Good luck to both of us with finding more 500+ page books in 2021 🙂 Thanks so much, Sophie, and I wish you many great books in the new year as well! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, this is such a lovely idea, it was great reading about your other favorites and stats ❤ I also read The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet this year and loved how character-driven and somehow cozy it was! I really hope to pick up the sequel as well! 🥰

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  5. Yayy, I’m so glad you enjoyed Small Angry Planet! Pretty sure I told you to read that one a few times 😄 I’m also hoping to get to the sequels this year. It’s been a long while since I read the first but I know each book can sort of be read as a standalone, so I’m not too worried.

    A lot of the books on your favourites are ones I’m hoping to get to in 2021, so that’s looking good for me! I’m really excited for Ana on the Edge – I can’t believe how few ratings it has! It definitely deserves to each more people than that.

    I always love your pie charts because you truly crush male authors every year 😂 I hope 2021 brings you lots of wonderful reads! Happy New Year! ❤️😁

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yesss and I’m so glad you told me to read Small Angry Planet! 😄 Here’s hoping we both love the sequels too!

      Ana on the Edge deserves so much more love. I really hope you enjoy it too, it was such a lovely read! And yep, happy to continue my tradition of crushing male authors 😂 I hope you also find lots of good books in 2021!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Ah this is so cool to see, so many books here! I’m impressed you read 100 books, that’s so great. I agree that Tweet Cute was a lovely debut and ahh I need to read you should see me in a crown sometime, it sounds SO good!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m honestly so gutted that we’re not going to get any more new books from the Simonverse! I totally agree with you that even though nothing happened, Love Creekwood was just so much fun!! I may do a reread of Simon VS actually because I haven’t for a while – one of my all-time faves for sure and it’s such a comfort read.

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  8. Hi Margaret! Loved the summary and the graphs you made. That’s pretty cool that you broke down categories like year of publication, publisher and debut vs established authors! I also read Tweet Cute and Love, Creekwood which are such cute and fun books. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet has been on my radar for some time and I hope to read it one day.

    Like

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