Reflecting on 2020: A Year in Books

Reflecting on 2020: A Year in Books

I had never set an annual reading goal before, mostly because I worried about being so motivated to reach my goal that it would sway me away from picking really thick books to read. However, I love data and was curious to track a year’s worth of reading, so for 2020 I joined the Goodreads challenge and set a goal to read 50 books throughout the year.

Ultimately I fell short of my goal, and finished reading just 43 books this past year. I also, predictably, put off reading some of the longer books on my shelf - tsk, tsk. 

I suffered from a couple of “reading droughts” over the calendar year; in March and April I was too busy worrying to get lost in a book, and in the late fall and winter I spent a lot of my time in the store preparing the website instead of crushing chapters behind the cash desk, which is my favourite perk on the job.

My favourite novel I read in 2020 was Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardino Evaristo. It was a powerhouse of a book and one heck of a display of literary talent. I was intrigued to read it because it split the honour of winning 2019’s Booker Prize with Margaret Atwood (long story short, it should have been the sole winner IMHO). Polar Vortex by Shani Mootoo was another standout novel this year, and another one I feel deserved winning this year’s Giller Prize.

My favourite non-fiction read in 2020 was a lot tougher to pin down. I loved Know My Name by Chanel Miller, and was rapt and horrified by The Sport and Prey of Capitalists by Linda McQuaig. Ultimately though, my top non-fiction of the year has to be the book Good Morning, Monster by Catherine Gildiner which totally knocked my socks off - I wish I could read it again for the first time.

Here are some other fun stats from my year of reading:

Total pages: 12,563
Average book length: 292 pages
Total fiction reads: 28
Total non-fiction reads: 15
Shortest read: Coping with the Coronavirus by Brendan Kelly (ebook, 61 pages)
Longest read: Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield (paperback, 464 pages)

If you are interested in checking out my full list of 2020 reads, feel free to take a look at my Goodreads profile here, although I'm not sure it's the medium I will stick with for tracking my reading going forward. 

Looking ahead to 2021, I think I’ll stick with my goal of 50 books for the year and see how I make out. Here’s to a year with less unwelcome surprises, more big thick books, and plenty of time to read!