2021 Reading by the Numbers

Goodbye 2021

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Goodbye 2021

This post may be too detailed for all of you, but I enjoy taking a deep dive into my reading trends. I also like sharing favorite books from various genres that might not make it into my “Top Ten Books of the Year” post. This is always long so bear with me as I review my 2021 reading by the numbers. Links will either go to my review, my GoodReads shelves, or the Malaprop’s bookstore website (I’m an affiliate). I’ll be linking to Bite Into Books.

The Stats


GoodReads challenge goal: 100 books
Completed: 180! Woohoo!


  • 49 audiobooks
  • 75 e-books
  • 56 physical books. Since we’re traveling with my husband’s job, the Kindle is just easier.

Age Group

Shortest and Longest

  • Shortest: Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, coming in at 32 pages.
  • Longest: The Nobleman’s Guide to Scandal and Shipwrecks by Mackenzi Lee at 580 pages. This is almost 200 pages less than my longest book in 2020. Interesting. And I actually listened to this one.

Page Count

I read 48,222 pages, just over 10,000 pages more than last year. Considering that there’s no real way to track “page numbers” for audio books, that’s not a very representative number.

The average length of my books was 267 pages. That’s about 30 pages shorter than last year.

Author Gender

  • Books by women: 111 books
  • Books by men: 68 books
  • Books by genderqueer authors: 1

This used to be more evenly balanced; I don’t know why I’ve been shifting so heavily toward women authors lately.

Average Rating

3.8. My internal rating skews toward 4 stars for books that I like so that seems about right.

Did Not Finish

0. This surprises me. Oh, wait. I did give up on a few Christmas romances so quickly, I didn’t even bother adding them to GoodReads.

Favorite Cover

This was hard to choose and will probably change five times before I actually publish this post!

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young Book Cover


The breakdown by rough genres. I did not choose any re-reads as favorites, nor did I choose a book for more than one category. The totals from these categories will likely equal more than 180, since I shelve books across multiple categories. If I didn’t review a book, I linked to a synopsis.


Read: 18
Favorite: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (Tristan Strong #1) by Kwame Mbalia, read by Amir Abdullah
Runner-Up: The Trials of Morrigan Crow (Nevermoor #1)by Jessica Townsend


Read: 49
Favorite: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe (Aristotle and Dante #1) by Benjamin Alire Sáenz, read by Lin-Manuel Miranda (Top Ten Book)
Runner-Up: The Twentieth Wife (Taj Mahal Trilogy #1) by Indu Sundaresan, read by Sneha Mathan


Read: 6
Favorite: All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely (Top Ten Book)
Runner-Up: The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger


Read: 27
Favorite: Men We Reaped by Jesmyn Ward (Top Ten Book)
Runner-Up: Oh, gosh. This one is difficult! The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks (Young Readers Edition) by Jeanne Theoharis with Brandy Colbert

Children’s Picture Books

Read: 4
Favorite: Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff (Top Ten Book)
Runner-Up: Fatima’s Great Outdoors by Ambreen Tariq, illustrated by Stevie Lewis (Top Ten Book)
2nd Runner-Up (To spotlight a title that wasn’t in my top ten list): Luna’s Big OXcident by P.T. Custard, illustrated by Amanda Rose Warren


Read: 8
Favorite: Mentioned elsewhere
Runner-Up: The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie by Muriel Spark, read by Miriam Margolyes

Contemporary Fiction

Read: 13
Favorite: A couple of my top ten books which show up in other genres
Runner-Up: Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson, read by Marin Ireland


Read: 4
Favorite: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, read by Kirsten Potter
Runner-Up: Renegades (Renegades #1) by Marissa Meyer, read by Rebecca Soler and Dan Bittner

Exploration (Nonfiction)

Read: 4
Favorite: Ada Blackjack: A True Story of Survival in the Arctic by Jennifer Niven
Runner-Up: Into the Planet: My Life as a Cave Diver, written and read by Jill Heinerth


Read: 46
Favorite: Amari and the Night Brothers (Supernatural Investigations #1) by B. B. Alston, read by Imani Parks (Top Ten Book)
Runner-Up: Muse of Nightmares (Strange the Dreamer #2) by Laini Taylor

Graphic Novels

Read: 16
Favorite: American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (Top Ten Book)
Runner-Up: Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michelangelo, and Me by Ellen Forney

Historical Fiction

Read: 21
Favorite: Books that are featured in other genres
Runner-Up: Whiskey When We’re Dry by John Larison


Read: 19
Favorite: How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, written and read by Clint Smith
Runner-Up: Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II by Liza Mundy


Read: 6
Favorite: The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
Runner-Up: The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Middle Grade

Read: 19
Favorite: Some titles listed elsewhere
Runner-Up: Dead Voices (Small Spaces #2) by Katherine Arden, read by Renee Dorian


Read: 14. I didn’t read any truly strong mysteries this year.
Favorite: The Golden Tresses of the Dead (Flavia de Luce #10) by Alan Bradley, read by Jayne Entwistle
Runner-Up: Twelve Sharp (Stephanie Plum #12) by Janet Evanovich

Retold Stories

Read: 6
Favorite: Circe by Madeline Miller
Runner-Up: The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey


Read: 22
Favorite: A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi (Top Ten Book)
Runner-Up: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton, read by Kyla Garcia and Frankie Maria Corzo


Read: 11
Favorite: Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer (Top Ten Book)
Runner-Up: World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil (Top Ten Book)
2nd Runner-Up (To spotlight a title that wasn’t on my top ten list): Spirals in Time: The Secret Life and Curious Afterlife of Seashells by Helen Scales

Science Fiction

Read: 11
Favorite: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Runner-Up: All Systems Red (Murderbot Diaries #1) by Martha Wells


Read: 8
Favorite: Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori
Runner-Up: The Price of Paradise by Susana López Rubio, translated by Achy Obejas

Young Adult

Read: 49
Favorite: A couple of top ten books mentioned elsewhere
Runner-Up: The Power of Style: How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used to Reclaim Cultures by Christian Allaire

GoodReads Year in Books

See all of the books I read in 2021 by clicking the button below. You can view my 2021 reading stats on GoodReads as well.

2021 GoodReads Reading Challenge

Other Posts You May Enjoy:


  1. I love detailed reading stats! I also really enjoyed Code Girls and definitely want to pick up How the Word is Passed after reading some of the Smith’s articles in The Atlantic. I have to admit that I didn’t get World of Wonders, but I’ve seen that almost everyone else loved it. Just one that didn’t click for me, I guess! What a great reading year 🙂

  2. Hi there Jen! 180 books… Good grief. I love your stats and I think it’s fun. Ashley send me a message about how to set up my reading challenges, but I am still trying to get up to date with blog hopping and then I’ll take a look!

    I am setting my goal at 100 this year and I don’t know if I’ll actually manage it…! But here’s to trying!

    Hope you are well and I hope for an update during The Sunday Post tomorrow.

      1. That makes sense! I use The StoryGraph plus my Excel spreadsheets for mine, but it also depends on how much effort I feel like putting into it. Also, I don’t use GR (or SG) shelves quite as much as I used to, so it’s harder to use those for stats.

  3. I like the idea of breaking down stats by genre and listing your favorite in each one. I am terrible at choosing just one favorite and this might solve my problem!

  4. What an outstanding year of reading! And that was with all your adventures as your explored the country in your RV. Bravo! Some of your favorites were mine as well: Nothing to See Here, Circe, The Snow Child, Whiskey When We’re Dry, and Aristotle and Dante.

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