28 in 28 Days

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Sometime between February 1st, 2021 and February 28th, 2021, I read 28 books. I didn’t start the month with the intention of falling into an accidental reading challenge. What really happened was I picked up a book and read, and then I picked up another and read some more. By the time I realized just how much I had read I was halfway through the month and had finished a book each day. By that point, I figured I might as well see if I could do it – finish a book a day for the entire month. And I did.

Throughout the month of February, I read about 7468 pages in 28 books ranging in length from 21 pages to 451. (Please note that some of the books I read are short stories or essays, but are deemed as individual books by Goodreads and that is good enough for me.) The oldest book read was from 1916 and a few books were read as Advanced Reader Copies through NetGalley and will be (or already were) published in 2021. According to Goodreads, the most frequently read book on my February reading list was The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and the least frequently read by Goodreads users was a Magic Treehouse book called Late Lunch with Llamas. The highest rated book I read was Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates and the lowest rated book (though still relatively highly rated) was The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S., which was only published at the beginning of the month. My favorite book of the month was Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu, (but there’s more about that coming soon). Of the 28 books read in February, 15 were audiobooks, 1 was read physically, 3 were Advanced Reader Copies read through NetGalley, 12 books were read as e-books, and 22 were read as loans from my library.

Going in to the month of March, I have no plans to read anywhere that near that many books, but I have to say I enjoyed finally getting through some of the books that always sounded interesting, but that I never really bothered to pick up and read. I consider myself a mood reader – I read based on what sounds good and when it sounds good, rather than based on deadlines and expectations. Sometimes all I want to do is read all day long and others times I’d rather not. So I follow those instincts and this month, it just so happened that I wanted to read a lot. I’m proud of myself for reading as much as I have this year and last. There have been years where, with the exception of a textbook, I haven’t read anything at all. But recently I’ve enjoyed picking up a old favorite pastime.

The one problem I’ve run into is that I had set my reading goal for 2021 at 24 books and have now completely surpassed that goal in the first two months of the year. I’ll have to come up with an even bigger challenge to get me to December!

What are you reading?

Books of 2020

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In 2019, I read 12 books. My 2020 goal was 24 books. I’m ending the year with 72 books read, according to my Goodreads. That’s accidentally three times my goal and six times what I read last year. Oops?

One of my favorite parts of using Goodreads to track my reading is the stats that come with it. This year according to my Goodreads, I’ve read 18,443 pages over 72 books. (I’d be willing to argue that the page count is probably higher because Goodreads isn’t the best at measuring pages in audiobooks or e-books which made up a decent portion of the books I read this year. But because some of what I read is debatably not really a “book”, I’m not gonna fight it. Plus I don’t wanna do the math myself.) The books span publishing dates from the 1930s to the 1960s to 2020. Of the books that I read, 12 were audiobooks, 11 were physical books, and 27 were e-books read through my library. (The rest were read through another source like Kindle or as Advanced Reader Copies [ARCs]). My average rating in 2020 was a 3.2 out of 5 stars. I gave 4 books a 5 star rating , 21 were rated 4 stars, 32 were rated 3 stars, and the rest were given 1 or 2 stars. I also allowed myself to stop reading a book if it wasn’t my cup of tea with no pressure; in fact, some of the books that I eventually ended up giving 4 or 5 stars to were books that I had put aside at some point and picked back up at a better time. Because there’s more than last year, I won’t list them out, but I wanted to reflect beyond just my statistics.

At the end of last year, I wanted to read from a more diverse set of authors. I think (mostly as a ramification of reading more and reading fewer series than last year) I managed to fulfill that goal. It’s always at the back of my mind that I want to read a variety of stories from a variety of storytellers. I read authors from the US, the UK, Brazil, Canada, France, Algeria, Nigeria, and Sweden; I read from Black authors (both academic and fiction writers), I read from Asian-American authors, from queer authors, and plenty of female authors. There’s always room for more diversity.

In 2020, I reread some old favorites including And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie and The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (both of whom are on my list of authors I want to read more from in the new year). I’ll also count The Martian by Andy Weir and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness as bests of the year (one made me laugh and one made me sob).

I enjoyed a good number of audiobooks this year. My favorites were The Test by Sylvain Neuvel, Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Bailey, and An Elderly Lady is Up to No Good by Helene Tursten. I read a few books on recommendations from family and/or friends this year which included Normal People by Sally Rooney, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, and Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Many more of the books were picked up because a YouTuber mentioned them or because Goodreads suggested them. I tried really hard (and mostly failed) to read a lot of the unread books that I’ve bought over the years. That goal will be continuing into the new year.

Speaking of goals for 2021: I’ve set my Goodreads challenge for 24 books again. I figure I have no idea what this year might bring and I’d rather have an achievable goal to beat than feel defeated in December. I’d like to continue reading diversely, both in terms of author and subjects and in terms of how I read. And lastly, I want to knock some of the books off my physical shelf – books accumulated over Christmases and shopping trips to bookstores and birthdays and stealing from my parents’ bookshelves. But who knows what 2021 will bring?