2021's Reading Goal

2021 has been a good year for books. Gilded, Little Thieves and Gods and Monsters were released this year along with hundreds of other amazing books (plenty of which I didn't get the chance to read). I have already recommended 100 books for you to read and in the following days, I will take note of which of the 100 books I read this year that I found to be the best but for now, let's take a bird's eye view of my reading this year.


At the beginning of 2021, I made a goal: read 100 books.


That goal was both complicated and simple. Simple because there was an underlying motivation to the goal—I wanted to be reading more than I was at the time. And complicated because the goal included more parts than just "read 100 books."


The goal was threefold:

  • Read 100 books with an average page count of 350 (for a total of 35,000 pages)

  • Read at least 5 books from my "unread" shelf

  • Read at least 3 classics

There were also three rules to the goal:

  • Comics count for only a 1/3 of a book and 100 pages

  • Unfinished books do not count for the book total but pages read count for the page total

  • School books can count as "finished" if a significant amount is read (usually 200+ pages). This was only in the case of textbooks.

With the goal established and the rules set, let's have a look at how I did...


Overview:

Goodreads suggests I read 100 books with an average of 382 pages and a total of 38283 pages. Are they right? Not quite.


While I tried to keep my books updated on Goodreads this year, I wasn't always accurate. Goodreads also measures the pages and books in a slightly different way than I do.


So what were my totals?


I began 113 books. Of those, 13 were not finished leaving 100 books completed. That was my goal. Hurrah!


However, of those 100 books, 6 were comics. My original rules stated that each of these counted as only 1/3 of a book which means (going by those rules) I only read 96 books. However, since my total count was still 100, I am going to take the win.


What about page counts? Not counting the books I didn't finish, my average page count was 371 pages. My total number of pages read was 37,693.


Why is this different than the Goodreads number? While there might be some discrepancies in the books I read (including in books I labeled as "read" when I had finished only a certain number of pages), the most likely cause is the way I count my pages. While the number of pages in a book listed by Goodreads includes blank pages and other extra pages at the end, I list the exact number of pages I actually read. That means if I don't read the "bonus" chapter at the end of a book, I don't include those pages.


What does that page count and average page number say? I achieved my goal in that area as well!


Genre:

I should first start off by saying I achieved my goal here as well. In 2021, I read exactly 3 classics (Wicked, The Death of King Arthur, and Phantom of the Opera) and surpassed my goal of 5 books from the "un-read" shelf, instead reading 12.


What other genres did I read from?


The highest proportion of books I read this year came from the sub-genre of fairytale twists (28/8%). Not far behind were non-fiction books (18.9%) and fantasy (15.3%) though romance (12.6%) also took a significant portion of my reading time! As you can see in the chart below, most of the other genres fell at around 5%. Though I did read one mystery book (The Butterfly House) I classified it as "Realistic Fiction" for the purpose of this exercise.

Other Assorted Statistics:

I find it interesting to look at assorted statistics from the year of reading. Things like the authors I enjoyed most, the average number of pages in certain genres, and the number of days it takes me to read books interest me and give me knowledge for the future. For example: I have 3 days to read a book. I happen to know I like books by Marissa Meyer and Liz Braswell but Liz Braswell's books are shorter and I read them faster. Which one should I choose?


Authors I Enjoyed:

This year, I re-read a number of Marissa Meyer novels so you will note that Meyer was one of the favored authors of the year. Liz Braswell and Jen Calonita also made it on the list due to me reading so many of the Twisted Tales books. I really enjoyed the Grishaverse books from Leigh Bardugo and since there are so many of those, she was one of the authors I read the most of this year. Some of my favorite new discoveries were Shelby Mahurin (Serpent and Dove), Kayte Nunn (The Botanist's Daughter), Sarah Penner (The Lost Apothecary), and Margaret Owen (Little Thieves). I only read a single book or series from these authors but am ready to read more in 2022 starting with The Merciful Crow (Margaret Owen).

Number of Days it Takes to Read a Book:

In short...5. If I look over the average number of days it took me to read each book, the average definitely comes out to five.


You might say, "That doesn't make sense! How did you fit 100 books into a year at a pace of five days a book?"


That's a complicated question. In reality, the following was my average number of days per genre:

Historical Fiction

Fantasy

Romance

Classic

Non-Fiction

Realistic Fiction

Science Fiction

Fairytale Twist

Comic

5.5

4.64

3.38

6

13.35

6.25

4.25

5.28

2.5

So my time spent reading Non-Fiction books increased the average amount of days it took to read a book. What the chart doesn't tell you is that I was often reading those non-fiction books whilst reading the fiction books.


The other thing that would be noted is the overlap in days. I might take five days to read one book and three to read another but in the middle (where I finish one and start another) there is an overlap where one day is shared by two books. That is how I accomplished my goal.


Number of Pages v. Genre:

Did you know different genres tend to have different numbers of pages? I find it really interesting to explore the commonalities and differences in genres. Like how most of the historical fiction books I read this year had authors with either the name "Kate" or "Sarah" (spelled different ways of course) or the way most of the longer books I read were fantasy or fairytale twist (with the longest being Winter at 823 pgs). Check out the different average page lengths for the genres I read this year.

Books I Did Not Finish:

I do not finish every book I start. If I were a literary agent, I would be the weird agent that requests 40 pgs as a manuscript sample because that's how much of a chance I usually give a book before deciding it's not for me. Some books I cast aside I come back to later. This is because I simply wasn't in the right mood for them the first time around (perhaps they were a romance and I wanted to read a fantasy). Others are just not up to my standards. Some are non-fiction books from which I read the sections I want to (or have to for school) and don't get around to the rest. Below, I have posted a list of the books I never completed this year along with their GoodReads rating (rounded to the nearest whole number), author, and the number of pages I did read. See the actual numbers of the GoodReads ratings in parenthesis next to the stars.


Forbidden Falls ★★★★☆ (4.21) by Robyn Carr. PGS READ: 48

Dangerous Calling ★★★★☆ (4.38) by Paul David Tripp. PGS READ: 96

Pastoral Care and Counseling ★★★★☆ (4.18) by Philip Browning Helsel. PGS READ: 46

As Old as Time ★★★★☆ (3.88) by Liz Braswell. PGS READ: 58*

*It should be noted that this is a favorite of mine (which I have read before). I simply was not in the mood to read it at this time.

Faith: Taking Flight ★★★★☆ (3.60) by Julie Murphy. PGS READ: 30

The Hazel Wood ★★★★☆ (3.59) by Melissa Albert. PGS READ: 48

The Midnight Library ★★★★☆ (4.08) by Matt Haig. PGS READ: 57

Introduction to Mythology ★★★★ (3.65) by Eva Thury and Margaret DeVinney. PGS READ: 170

Your First Two Years in Youth Ministry ★★★★☆ (4.10) by Doug Fields. PGS READ: 104*

*I stopped reading this around the time I realized I didn't want to go into youth ministry. Not necessarily a bad book. But not so necessary for me anymore.

The Message of Salvation ★★★★☆ (4.18) by Philip Grahm Ryken. PGS READ: 236

Realm Breaker ★★★★☆ (3.70) by Victoria Aveyard. PGS READ: 40

Grasping God's Word ★★★★☆ (4.20) J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays. PGS READ: 200

Once Upon a River ★★★★☆ (3.96) by Diane Setterfield. PGS READ: 40

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