Normally, in my yearly surveys, I follow the template provided by Perpetual Pages. However, there are a lot of questions I don’t have answers to and/or don’t apply to me in 2020. So, I am doing something a little different this year. I’m writing an essay.
I read a total of 106 books in 2020. My average rating is 3.9 stars. I rated twenty-eight books 5 stars, forty-two books 4 stars, twenty-seven books 3 stars, six books 2 stars, a single book 1 star, and two books with no rating.
Predominantly of what I read in 2020 were picture books. This is what led to me having an average book length of 173 pages across an overall page count of 18,338. In the early part of the year, the picture books I read were for a class. One of those picture books was Freight Train by Donald Crews, a board book that was the shortest book I read in 2020.Months later, I picked up a lot of the nominees in the picture book category in the Goodreads Choice Awards. Some of the picture books I picked up in 2020 were actually rereads from my childhood, like Madeline and The Boxcar Children.
As for the other rereads, one was Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, which was my first read of the year. I had hit a reading slump at the end of 2019. I heard rereading a favorite book can help gain momentum for the new reading year. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes are books I reread in May when I fell into a reading slump after graduation.
What I Read
If I had to pick a best book of 2020, it would be either To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace or Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. The former was the most beautifully written book I read in 2020, but the latter has continued to sit in my feelings many months later. Aurora Burning was also the best sequel I read in the entire year. One of the couples, Aurora and Kal, are my OTP of the year. I thought I would love Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, one of my most anticipated releases of 2020, only it did not quite meet my expectations.
The Winter King by C.L. Wilson is best series I started in 2020, the best book from a genre I don’t typically read from, the longest book I read in 2020, the book that had the best world-building, and my most surprising book of the year. I went into The Winter King expecting insta-love and more smut than plot. Instead, I got a slow-burn romance and a well thought-out plot. On top of that, the hero, Wynter Atrialan, is my newest fictional crush. The only other new fictional crush I read in 2020 that rivaled Wynter in perfection is Daniel Matheson, one of the main characters in The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys.
I also started the Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead and Dear Martin series by Nic Stone in 2020. Dear Martin was my most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2020, making Nic Stone my new favorite author I discovered in 2020.
As for Bloodlines, I managed to read the first three books before I gave up. Twice, I borrowed the final three books from the library, only to return them unread a few weeks later. At best, I could only get through 50 pages of The Fiery Heart each time I tried to read it. I attribute this to the fact that the fourth book introduced Adrian Ivashkov’s first-person perspective and I am not an Adrian fangirl by any means. Despite the hate I’ve seen her get on the Internet over the years, Sydney Sage, the main character of Bloodlines, is my most memorable character of 2020. I related to her on so many levels and I think we need more heroines like her—ones whose brains are their weapons instead of a sword.
My favorite books from genres I don’t typically read from or was out of my comfort zone were Dewdrop by Katie O’Neil and Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper. Dewdrop, a picture book,was the most wholesome book I’ve ever read. Stella by Starlight was the one that showed me middle grade novels can handle hard topics while still being sweet and innocent. Another middle grade novel, Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson, has my favorite non-romantic relationship of the year. The main character, ZJ, has a loving family that manage to stay together during a time of severe trauma.
The most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year is a tie between Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff with Home Before Dark by Riley Sager. Despite the former being a young adult science fiction and the latter an adult thriller, both were thrilling to me and made me want to read them any chance I got.
The one book that truly put a smile on my face was I Work in a Public Library by Gina Sheridan. These are the author’s musings of her time working in a public library. I didn’t read a lot of pretty books, either. The most beautiful cover I read in 2020 was With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo.
Two books that made me cry were A Monster Calls by Patrick Nessand To Drink Coffee with a Ghost by Amanda Lovelace. After everything I had went through since I last read it, A Monster Calls hit a nerve.As for To Drink Coffee with a Ghost, it struck a deeper nerve I had thought I would never hit. Except the only book that truly crushed my soul was Aurora Burning.
I read a few hidden gems in 2020.One of those titles was What the Night Sings by Vesper Stamper, an illustrated novel about the aftermath of World War II following Holocaust survivors. Pet by Akwaeke Emezi is another hidden gem I don’t see many people on the Internet talk about and is also the most unique book I read in 2020.
2020 is one of the times I am most grateful for my blog. My favorite posts I wrote were the grad student book tag I created and my reading and quarantine discussion post. I also liked several of my Let’s Talk Bookish posts, such as my feelings on my reading in 2020, the one where I ask if I deliberately put off books I want to read, and the care and keeping of a to be read pile.
Since it was 2020, therewere several challenges related to my blogging and reading life this year. Concentrating on books and picking what to read next was probably the biggest bookish problem I had. The lockdown seriously affected my mental health. As such, I felt like some of my ideas for my blog were “wash, rinse, repeat,” not the least bit original.
Did I complete any reading challenges or goals I had set for myself at the beginning of the year? Yes, I did. At the beginning of 2020, I had set a Goodreads goal of 50 books. I beat it in March, a week before my university and the place I worked announced the lockdown. Initially, I had no intention of raising that goal. Then, as the quarantine dragged on into the summer, I lacked motivation to read. I thought raising the Goodreads goal might help; first to 80, then to 90. It did help, somewhat.
By the middle of the year, I set an unofficial goal of reading 100 to 110 books a year. Reading 107 books (technically, 106 since I read two different formats of the same picture book) I unexpectedly met that goal.
There are so many books I did not read in 2020 but will be a priority in 2021. Some of those books will be A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas; A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir and A Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir; Escaping from Houdini and Capturing the Devil by Kerri Maniscalco; Children of Blood and Bone and Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi; and Thunderhead and The Toll by Neal Shusterman. On top of that, I’m anticipating a few books by non-debut authors, such as Lore by Alexandra Bracken.
2021 is also the year of debuts. Two of the 2021 debuts I am most anticipating is The Wide Starlight by Nicole Lesperance and What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo. At this moment in time, the only series ending I’m most anticipating is the final novel in the Aurora Cycle by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.
The one thing I hope to accomplish in my reading and/or blogging life in 2021? I want to take a hammer to my physical TBR. I want to primarily read the unread books I own, the ones that have been gathering dust on my shelves for far too long. 2020 was the year of mainly library books. With all the unread books I personally own, it wasn’t the best idea. Besides, the books I own are actually the ones I wanted to read.
I also want a life/reading/blogging balance. As soon as the restrictions are lifted, I want to live again in 2021. I want to go back to work and hang out with my friends face to face. And WITHOUT MASKS and SOCIAL DISTANCING. I still want to read whenever I have down time, read between 5 to 9 books a month, and write more book reviews and recommendations. However, other things will take priority in the new year.