Welcome to my end of the year wrap up of sorts! Today’s posts has all the stats about how my reading went this year, as well as the answers to many questions about specific reading preferences and disappointments this year. I used Perpetual Page Turner’s End of the Year Book Survey and modified it a bit to serve my purposes. And by modified I mean I ignored all the questions that I didn’t easily have answers to. But there are still plenty of questions that I did answer, and in typical Malka fashion, I give you lots of details as to why I answered what I did! So keep on reading to see what where some of the standout books I read this year!
If there’s one thing to know about me, it’s that I adore stats. So how could I give up an opportunity to break down my reading this year with as many graphs and pie charts as possible? I simply couldn’t! So before I start answering any questions, I’ve compiled all the stats I thought might be of interest from Goodreads, StoryGraph, and my personal reading spreadsheet to share with you all!
Books & Pages Read:
Not my greatest reading year, but certainly not my worst, either. I’m pretty proud that I read 95 books in such a busy year! My page count is a bit low, probably because I read a lot of graphic novels and those tend to be on the shorter side, so that’s something I’d like to see increase this year, although if it doesn’t, I won’t be too upset.
Genres & Mood:
I’ve been saying it all year, and this pie chart is my proof, romance and graphic novels have taken over my reading and I couldn’t be happier! While I want to branch out a little more in 2022, I’d still be okay with about 75% of my reading being made up of romance and graphic novels since I just adore those kinds of stories so much!
Another graph that wasn’t much of a surprise was the mood breakdown chart that The StoryGraph provides. I read for enjoyment, to make me smile, and to lift my mood and accordingly I’ve apparently done a pretty great job of picking up lighthearted, emotional, and funny stories. Very few of the books I read were tense or dark, and that’s just how I like it!
Book Source and Format:
I’m happy to see from this chart that I borrowed a fair amount of books from the library this year. After posting about my Book Buying Habits, I’m also pleased that I read a good chunk of the books I bought and was gifted. As for ARCs, I find myself impressed that I read over 20 of them in a year and I’m pleased that my NetGalley ratio reflects that!
If you’ve read my audiobook post, it won’t surprise you that I haven’t picked any up in 2021. Instead I stuck with the books I owned or got from the library, which were mainly paperback, with the occasional hardcover thrown in for fun. As for the e-books, 99% of them were ARCs, with one or two others being romances I picked up on Kindle. I honestly don’t see this graph changing much in the next few years, but I guess we’ll find out!
Lastly, we have my bookish ratings. My average rating this year was 3.67, which isn’t terrible, but also isn’t as high as I would have liked. There were quite a few 2 stars this year, which was very disappointing. In fact, for the first half of the year I had more 2 stars than 5 stars! That may be because I was stingy with my 5 star ratings this year, but to be fair, if I had read more books deserving of 5 stars, I would have rated more books 5 stars! Many of the books were good though, which is why I have so many 4 stars, but a truly fantastic book was hard to come by in 2021. I’m hoping that my ratings skew more positively in 2022!
Best in Books
1. Best Book You Read In 2021?
I’m forgoing this question this year. As reflected in my ratings, I did read a lot of great books this year! There were lots of 4 stars, and even a good handful of 4.5 and 5 stars. However, there weren’t really any books that completely captured my heart. There are many books I’d recommend though, so even though none of the books I’m going to mention are all time favorites, I hope that you come across some books that strike your interest and end up loving them more than I did!
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
This book definitely fits for most disappointing book of the year. I was so excited for this book that I requested it from NetGalley the second it was up on the site. I then dropped everything to read it immediately. And then it ended up with a 2 star review from me. I genuinely wish I had loved this book more but there really were no redeeming qualities about it in my eyes.
3. Most surprising book you read?
In a Good Way:
I originally picked a different book as my answer, but the more I thought about it, I realized that It Happened One Summer HAD to be my pick for this answer. For one, I didn’t even intend on picking this book up at first, so the fact that I even read it is surprising. Then there’s the fact that I gave this book 4 stars! I have never before rated a Tessa Bailey book so highly! This is actually the first book of hers that I’ve enjoyed. So for all those reasons this was the book that surprised me in the best way in 2021!
In a Neutral Way:
This book surprised me because of the choices the author made in telling this romance. There were many unconventional aspects to this romance, not limited to the fact that the hero is actually a high functioning alcoholic. I’ve never read a romance quite like this, and I’m still not sure all these months later if that’s a good or bad thing!
In a Bad Way:
This book claimed to be a Greek mythology retelling of some sort, while in reality it was mostly a lecture about the environment and the importance of dirt. I was surprised by the content of this book, but also by the method that the story was told. I didn’t enjoy the plot at all, and honestly have no real fond memories looking back on this book. I remember I gave it 2 stars, and I think that was the perfect rating for it.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Now this choice may seem surprising at first because I believe the only place I really mentioned it on the blog was in my wrap up in the month that I read it. However, this continues to be one of the most popular book purchases from my Bookshop.org affiliate list of Where to Start With Graphic Novels. So based on the numbers, this is the book I pushed the most people to purchase at the very least. But if I convinced you to read a book this year, please let me know!
5. Favorite new author you discovered in 2021?
I don’t know if she’s quite reached the level of a favorite new author quite yet, but so far I’ve really enjoyed the two romances that Uzma Jalaluddin has published, and would definitely read more from her!
6. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I didn’t read much from genres out of my comfort zone as evidenced earlier. However, the poetry collection Soft Magic was absolutely fantastic and has me wanting to read this author’s other collection as soon as I can in 2022, so it definitely merits a mention. And Project Hail Mary was a book I read in two days that managed to earn a full 5 star rating from me, so it deserves to be mentioned here as well!
7. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2021?
THEY’RE ALL SO PRETTY! HOW CAN I CHOOSE!
Listen, I’m a really big fan of the illustrated cover trend. I just adore all the new covers coming out. It’s cruel of you to even think you can make me choose. I am refusing to answer this question!
8. Most beautifully written book read in 2021?
Honey Girl is by far one of the most beautifully written books that I’ve read in a while. While I know that this dreamy, lyrical writing has been hit or miss for readers, for me it really worked and helped me engage with the story so much. It’s a wistful and nostalgic kind of story and I feel that the writing perfectly captured the essence of the book.
9. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2021 to finally read?
I honestly didn’t read many backlist titles this year. Most of the books I picked up were from 2020 or 2021, so it’s not like I had been waiting that long to read them. For the most part, when I’m interested in a book I’ll just pick it up, so I’m glad that most books don’t have to wait too long until I finally get around to reading them!
10. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2021?
Apparently the shortest book I read was a full 80 pages! I feel like most years I read much shorter works as well! But regardless, I’m glad I get to mention this book because it was such a sweet children’s graphic novel about friendship and nature and magic!
At 582 pages, the longest book I read was this anthology of romance stories. I read this towards the beginning of 2021, and to be really honest, I didn’t enjoy this one too much. Three of the stories got either 1 or 2 stars, but this collection was saved by Sierra Simone’s story at the end. This book is only on here because of it’s length and not much else. It isn’t really one I’d recommend.
11. Favorite Book You Read in 2021 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
One of the reasons that I really like my answer to this question is because while I have read from Gene Luen Yang before, none of his previous works really wowed me. But this book was fantastic! It’s a true account of his high school’s basketball team and their accomplishments. It had a history of basketball and of the students, and managed to keep my attention hooked despite the fact that I have no interest in basketball! I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a light non-fiction in graphic novel format!
12. Best Book You Read In 2021 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram:
By now I think I’ve made it clear that I won’t read a book unless I’m interested. That being said, these two books were ones that I probably wouldn’t have purchased, much less prioritized, if not for all the hype these books received. In good news, I really enjoyed both Anxious People and The House in the Cerulean Sea, so maybe I should start listening to the hype every now and again!
13. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
I chose both a graphic novel and a romance for my answer to this one. Garlic and the Vampire put a smile on my face by being sweet and adorable and making me want more from this world whereas People We Meet On Vacation actually made me laugh out loud at some of the antics. Regardless of the many differences between the two books, I’d definitely recommend both of them if you need something to make you smile!
14. Most Unique Book You Read In 2021?
At first I was struggling with an answer to this question, but then when I looked through my books, I felt that The Art of Sushi would be a really good fit. I’m going to be reviewing this book in the next few months, but in brief, I thought that the minimal use of color to highlight specific items and the seamless storytelling of the journey the author was taking while teaching you everything he learnt was just fantastic. This is definitely a unique book, but one I’d recommend for all sushi lovers out there!
15. Book That Made You The Most Mad?
Originally this question included the addendum that this question “doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it”. However, I’m going to pick a book that made me mad and caused me not to enjoy it. Unfortunately this was an ARC that’s releasing in 2022, and while I feel bad about mentioning how much I disliked it, the way villainy was portrayed in this story truly made me angry. There was such a lack of nuance to this book that I sent several rants to my friends, and even posted a line or two on Goodreads about how poorly handled specific aspects were. You’ll get my full review next month, but for now just know that this book angered me.
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2021 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2022?
I decided to choose three books instead of one, because decisions are hard. All 3 of these were 2021 releases that I purchased shortly after they came out because I was so excited to read them. And all three are ones that I still haven’t read! So that needs to be remedied as soon as possible in 2022!
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2022?
I’m so excited for this book that I actually have it pre-ordered! I’ve heard amazing things about Ashley Herring Blake before, and while I’ve never actually read any of her previous works, I just have a feeling that I’m going to love this romance!
3. 2022 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
There are so many amazing romances coming out this year, but one that has me really excited is Set On You. I don’t know exactly what it is, but between this cover and the synopsis, I just can’t help but eagerly await this book’s release!
4. Series Ending/ Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2022?
Over the years I’ve learned that I’m not the biggest fan of series, unless they’re companion series, like most romances are. However, I’m excited for Husband Material for a number of reasons. Firstly, because I adored Boyfriend Material! But also because in many cases I hate that sequels either prolong or reignite drama and unhappiness for our main characters. However, I trust that Alexis Hall will balance all that will his trademark humor so that I won’t mind. So while I’m still a tiny bit nervous, since it is a series after all, I’m mostly just very excited for this book to be released in 2022!
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2022?
See, I could answer this question, but that would spoil the fun of my next post, which is all about the goals I’m setting in 2022! But I will tell you a topic or two that I want to focus on this year to spark your interest and generate intrigue. So this year I hope to reach some NetGalley milestones and I’d also like to be more mindful of the books I buy. But I won’t say much more than that! You’ll find out all the details soon enough!