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2021 reading wrap-up

2021 has been many things, but fortunately it has also been a great reading year. Apart from a couple of weeks I was simply too stressed to focus on anything, books have once more been my number one means of escape. To the point that I went from 84 books read in 2020 (which was already huge for me) to 119 (an average of 4 days per book). This is partly because I read quite a few more novellas than last year, but not only.

Once again for the people at the back, I do not associate any value to numbers when it comes to books. You’re not a better reader if you read 50 books or 10. You’re certainly not a better reader if you read adult literary fiction over middle-grade fantasy. All of these are valid and perfect if they’re what makes you happy. However, despite my literary heart, I do enjoy a good spreadsheet and so I have statistics. One of the ways I use them is to make sure I diversify my reading.

Numbers, numbers, numbers

In 2020 I’d read 50 books in English and 34 in French. In 2021, I started using my local library again (44 books from there), which means I read a lot more in French: 81 against 43 in English. Despite the bigger number of books I read overall, I’m pleased to note that I only read 37 books by male authors in 2021 (30 in 2020), which brings the total number of books by women from 51 to 79. Sadly there were only 2 non-binary authors in the lot, so these stats are a way for me to take note of that and strive to do better next year.

I didn’t keep track of how many LGBTQIA+ books I read in 2020. I only started doing that in 2021, and ticking the box when either the author was queer or the main character was, which makes for a total of 45 queer books, 66 non queer and 12 for which I couldn’t say.

1 out of 4 books I read was by a non-white author.

I bought 5 new books (read 3 of them) and quite a few more second-hand. I re-read 11 books.

And now for a quick round-up of genres! 2020 was all about fantasy and literary fiction, with a special mention to sci-fi which I began to look into that year.

2021 was overwhelmingly about fantasy (40 books), but I read nearly four times more science-fiction! My count of literary fiction stayed more or less the same. The one genre I didn’t read at all was poetry, except for Elizabeth Acevedo’s The Poet X which I counted as literary fiction rather than full-on poetry.

I read 97 adult books, 14 YA, 10 middle-grade and 3 children’s books.

The longest book I read was Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, at 1054 pages, followed by Robin Hobb’s The Mad Ship (906 pages) and Ship of Destiny (904).

The books that took the longest to read were all by Robin Hobb, some of them because I took break in-between parts to read other books.

What to make of this?

I’m glad to have read more diversely in 2021, and I’ll keep paying attention to that, whether in terms of origin or identity. I can certainly do a lot more when it comes to reading outside of France, England and the USA.

And now comes the award ceremony for my new favourite books! I don’t feature re-reads here, and they’re presented in the order I read them.


The winners

Les Nuages de Magellan, Estelle Faye The Prince and the Dressmaker, Jen Wang The Tea Dragon Society, Kay O’Neill Six of Crows / Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo All Systems Red, Martha Wells This Is How You Lose the Time War, Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone Time Was, Ian McDonald Malgré tout, Jordi Lafebre

It makes me immensely happy to see the amount of queer books here. Only one does not feature a queer character at the foreground, but it is queer-inclusive nonetheless.

Honorary mentions go to :

  • The Farseer trilogy, Robin Hobb (re-read)

  • The Historian, Elizabeth Kostova

  • A Tolkien Tapestry, Cor Blok

  • Wizard of the Pigeons, Megan Lindholm

  • The Martian, Andy Weir

  • The Summer Book, Tove Jansson

  • Magic Charly, Audrey Alwett

  • A Dead Djinn in Cairo, Phenderson Djèlí Clark

  • Ormeshadow, Priya Sharma

  • Sylve-Dôme, Jessica Motron

  • Seule en sa demeure, Cécile Coulon

Do you enjoy reading stats?

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