Thursday, December 31, 2020

2020 by the Numbers

As happy as I am to put 2020 behind us, I'm not really expecting the first half of 2021 to be very different. The good news, I suppose, is that there does finally seem to be good reason to hope that things will slowly return to at least near-normal over the next few months. I'm pleased to be able to say that Book Chase is rapidly approaching its fourteenth anniversary (January 20), and that I'm enjoying book-blogging as much, if not more, than ever. 

But now, it's time for my annual crunching of the numbers - and being a former accountant in the real world, this is one of my favorite posts of the whole year. I enjoy comparing my tabulations to those of past years just to see how my reading has evolved over the years. This is what the numbers look like for 2020:

Number of Books Read - 120 

Fiction - 97:   
  • Novels - 85   
  • Short Story Collections - 6  
  • Plays - 2
  • Novellas - 4


Nonfiction - 23:
  • Memoirs - 6
  • Biographies - 3 
  • Sports - 2
  • True Crime- 1
  • History - 3
  • Science - 2
  • Sociology - 3
  • Politics -  2
  • Travel -  1

Total books are down 12 from 2019 with the difference coming from a drop in nonfiction titles from 45 to 23. Fiction titles are up 10 books from 2019.

  • Written by Men - 67
  • Written by Women - 50
  • Written by Both - 3

2019's men to women ratio was 84-45 as compared to this year's 67-50 ratio. I think this is the first year that the gender ratio has fallen much below 2-1 in favor of male authors.

  • Audiobooks - 23
  • E-Books - 44
  • Library Books - 64
  • Review Copies - 38
  • From My Shelves - 18

  • Pages per Day: 103
  • Total Pages Read: 37,600

The source-mix of my books changed a bit from 2019 to compensate for all the 2020 pandemic restrictions: 11 fewer audiobooks, 22 more e-books (twice as many as 2019), 28 fewer library books, 9 more review copies, and 7 more from my own shelves. Surprisingly, I read 6,000 fewer pages this year, probably because I went through a period of several long weeks during which I found it almost impossible to concentrate on reading. I was starting to think the problem was never going to go away until very did.

My goals coming into the year were simple ones: read more in translation, more from my own shelves, more literary classics, more from the years 1920-1979, and catch up on a few of the detective series I follow. Let's just say I did better on some of the goals than on others:

  • 9 translated works
  • 18 from my own shelves
  • 2 literary classics
  • 10 from 1920-1979
  • 14 early books from my favorite series

I was a little surprised to learn how heavily I depend on newish books for my reading material. Fifty of the books I read in 2020 were published in 2020, another five will be published in 2021, and twenty were published in 2019. Numbers like that make me wonder if I'll ever figure out what I missed during those years I was way too busy caught up in living life and raising a family to read more than twenty or thirty books a year. I suppose I'll never know unless I finally find enough willpower to better resist all the bright and shiny new objects that keep getting dangled before my eyes. 

All in all, I feel blessed to be a committed reader because I think 2020 would surely have been a lot tougher than it was if I had had to depend on television to amuse me. 


  1. Funny Sam as my numbers were down by 6 when I expected they'd be up. Also, I read way more by female authors vs. male authors so perhaps that is just the way the "cookie crumbles."

    1. I think that many of us went through some period of time in 2020 during which we found it more difficult to concentrate on the page as easily as we normally do, Diane. I've heard from a few that they didn't experience the 2020 slump, but they are the exception.

  2. Congratulations on a great year of reading.
    Wishing you a happy and healthy new year

    1. Thanks, so much. Here's hoping you have a great new year ahead of you, too. We all deserve one.

  3. I'm slowly beginning to crunch my own numbers. It's going to be interesting to compare ours when I've finished. (By the way, I find it impossible to ignore the shiny new objects myself. I've given up and just call myself a magpie.)

    1. Magpies seem to have a lot of fun, Cathy...looking forward to seeing the numbers after you finish crunching them.

  4. Glad to be a reader this year, too. Usually being an introvert makes me feel out of place in the world at large, but this year it's been a trait that makes life easier- all my usual entertainment and occupations are still at hand.... You and I read nearly the same number of books for the year, btw!

    1. Interesting that our total-read count is almost identical, Jeane. Your choices are very different from mine, and that's why I enjoy reading your reviews so much. Have a great 2021!

    2. Glad there is some overlap though, too- following readers who have different tastes than mine certainly makes me stretch a bit, and reach for a few I might not ordinarily choose for myself. It's a good kind of stretch!

    3. I find a significant portion of my annual reading that way, Jeane. The enthusiasm of other readers is a hard thing for me to resist.

  5. I don't think I would have gotten through 2020 without good books to read...and escape into. Blogging friends made it better, too. Congrats on reading so many books in 2020. I'm hoping to read more nonfiction this year. :D

    1. For sure, Lark. Readers are definitely coping better with the semi-isolation so many of us are enduring right now. I'm looking forward to seeing how your new year goes.

  6. I really love this post!! I am quite wild about numbers myself. I haven't "crunched" mine yet, but I sure read a lot fewer than you did!
    As for those "shiny new objects" I find them quite resistable unless it is a book by an author I love, or the next one in a mystery series.
    Do you have tools to help you do all these numbers or do you just add them up?

    1. Thanks, Nan. I'm still an accountant at-heart, so I keep a running tabulation going all year long. It makes it a lot easier for me to produce the numbers at the end of the year and figure out what they really tell me about the past reading year.

      I wish I could resist the new ones a bit more than I do. I think my "problem" is caused by regularly reading the book sections of some of the British papers and by my digital subscription to the New York Times Book Review. Those all get me in trouble.

  7. Impressive list. I read a lot more than usual last year but also it tended to be lighter material although I did read some large tomes. I also didn't write reviews on many of them. I like your number work - not in my line but I appreciate it in others! All the best for 2021.

    1. Thanks, Carol. 2020 was a challenging year for lots of readers, I'm finding, and it changed some long-established reading habits and patterns of a whole lot of people. I know so many people who found it really difficult to concentrate on the written page for most of the spring and early summer, that I have to believe that the isolation we often crave was backfiring on us.