2020: What I Read

Here’s my year in books (tomorrow I’ll post my favourites for 2020) –

I read 80 books in total (25% less than last year….). According to Goodreads, that’s 24,505 pages. The longest was Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe at 640 pages, and the shortest was Joan Smokes by Angela Meyer at 76 pages.

Of those I read, 64 were by female authors and 16 by male authors.

20 books were by Australian authors (18 female authors and 2 male authors) and the rest were from America, England, Germany, Italy, Chile, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Nigeria and Israel.

I read 54 books from authors who were new to me in 2020.

Of the 80 books I read, 25 were published in 2020 (which is surprising because I didn’t feel I was up with the latest…).

I read 29 non-fiction books (19 of which were memoirs).

My reading format was completely different this year (I attribute this to lockdown). Usually, my reading is dominated by e-books, followed by hardbacks, and a handful of audios. This year, I read 16 hardbacks and listened to 18 audios (last year it was just 7 audios) – the rest were e-books.

I read mostly contemporary literature plus memoirs, essay collections about nature and climate change, historical fiction, history, and a few thrillers.

There’s no question that COVID has had a huge impact on my reading habits this year. I read less, I bought more (not that that’s a bad thing). I also found my attention span was limited, and books took me much longer to read. I think the audio-binge went hand-in-hand with all my time spent doing puzzles (again, not a bad thing!). Did your reading habits change with COVID?

11 responses

  1. You had a great year in reading! I found myself listening to far more audiobooks than normal this year. But far less in general. I read 150 last year and I just barely made 52 this year. Oh well, it is what it is. Here’s hoping for a great reading year in 2021. 🙂

  2. There are a lot of books out there! From your list, we only have Bear Town and The Dutch House in common. I too have read less this year – far less – though I hope I’m pulling out of that phase now. My ability to concentrate – like yours, suffered. Let’s hope this time next year will be better.

  3. Isn’t it a strange observation or should I say an observation about a strange exhibit of human nature, that when we are given a lit of time to do the things we say we live to do we cant or dont. I agree that COVID makes it hard to focus but the element of this large stretch of a time we had on our hands may say more to our need of routine and structure to get to our pastimes. What do you think?

  4. Nice to see so many familiar titles in your year’s reading. I’ve managed to keep my concentration throughout the pandemic but have read less this year having spent too much time on social media which has not been helpful. Here’s to many more excellent books to be read in 2021!

  5. You are so right: I found reading harder, and read in bursts. I tried to read more escapist fiction but was much more severe and judgemental. And, like you, I bought a lot of books, to support authors and publishers.

  6. Your excellent review of Say Nothing encouraged me to read it as did Milkman and the interview with him at the Melbourne Writers Festival. I learnt so much and it was my book of the year. I even emailed a few things that made me happy to friends during lockdown. Social media and more tv time watching COVID updates interrupted my reading this year. Thanks for your great blog.

    • Thank you for your lovely message, and for your readership.
      So glad you enjoyed Say Nothing – fascinating detail and it will be in my favourites for the year.
      Let’s hope we can all resume our usual reading habits as of tomorrow!

  7. Really enjoyed reading your recap. I feel like every reader I know has shared the same challenge of their reading being affected by the pandemic. Lack of focus, motivation, you name it. Here’s wishing you a great reading year ahead. I’m hopeful that 2021 will be better.

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