Welcome to my 2021 recap! This is my favorite post to write because I love looking back on the books I’ve read, thinking about the highlights of my year, and of course, I love the stats. 2021 felt like a blur to me and I know it mostly sucked, but it was an excellent year for me, reading-wise. Once again, books saved my year.
This is going to be quite the monster of a post, so buckle up and prepare to read my ramblings in a bit.
Let’s get this 2021 recap started!
📎 What kind of books did I read in 2021?
📌 My year in books
📌 Stats and graphs
📎 Best books I read in 2021
📌 Best from the backlist
📌 Best 2021 releases
📌 Best manga and webtoons
📌 Remarkable reads
📎 Disappointing reads
📎 Most disliked reads
📎 Books I should have read in 2021 but didn’t
📎 Books I’m planning to read in 2021
WHAT KIND OF BOOKS DID I READ IN 2020?
Without a doubt, 2021 is my best reading year of all time, with 358 books read. If that number does not feel real to you, then it feels even more unreal to me. I have been asked multiple times how I managed to read so many books and my answer to that comes down to two things: manga and audiobooks. If you’re going to tell me that manga and audiobooks are not real books, you are free to walk away right now before I dropkick you to the sun. There are a lot of people who think adding manga on Goodreads and counting them as part of the challenge is cheating, but I really do not care. Manga volumes are books! They 100% count! If you read manga and do not want to include them as part of your reading challenge, that’s fine. But adding them is fine too. Let people read whatever they want however they want.
Anyway, enough of that! Let us now proceed to my favorite part: reading stats and graphs!
STATS AND GRAPHS
In 2021, I finally used a reading spreadsheet and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Organized people, you were right about reading spreadsheets. I admit my defeat. I used Fadwa’s spreadsheet as a template and I have high praises for it. I will certainly be using it again this year.
Wow I really did not know what happened here. It seems like I read a lot more books in the first half of the year than I did in the second half. I think I did not binge a lot of manga from July to December. The reason for this? I do not remember!! Maybe it’s uni. Maybe I was just not in the mood. Maybe I could not find something good to read. Anyway, the obvious thing is I read the most books in January (more than 60 of them!!!). That was the month where I binged all 45 volumes of Haikyuu. Ah, good times. I should get my manga mojo back this year. I must.
More than 50% of what I read last year was manga. I often am not in the mood to read prose and just want to stare at pretty art and read short dialogs. Manga also have the best stories so I definitely did not lose here. I listened to a lot of audiobooks too because I can’t stand a single moment where I’m alone with my thoughts. Also, this graph pretty much tells you that I mostly read books digitally now. I still buy physical books, but most of them are just for collection now since I only get them if I loved the ARC beforehand. The pandemic also made shipping even slower and crappier. I’d rather not lose books to the sea of monsters thank you very much.
Moving on to the primary genres of books I read, fantasy still ranked first but I noticeably did not read as much fantasy this year as I did last year. In 2020, 67% of what I read was fantasy books and I hardly read anything from other genres. This year, it’s evident that I branched out a bit more with my reading. I’m so happy that I read a lot of romances and I learned to love contemporary again. I may sound like a broken record but I have to give audiobooks the credit for this. I never would have thought to read more books outside of my comfort zone if not for them.
This graph is…interesting. Excluding manga from this data, it seems that I get most of what I read from Scribd. Scribd jail might be annoying as nine hells, but the platform’s usefulness to me is undeniable. Their audiobook collection is extensive and they have a lot of new releases, which I really appreciate. If you want to try Scribd for yourself, you can get a free trial using my referral link and I also get one free month if you do (a win-win situation!!).
I also have to thank my friends for giving me access to their library cards because I would not have been able to experience the wonders of a functional library without them. As a reader from the Philippines, this means a lot to me. It’s interesting to see Edelweiss rank third as my book source. I get a lot of rejections there, but it also the place where I get most of my e-ARCs.
✨ Read related post: AUDIOBOOKS YOU NEED TO LISTEN TO AT LEAST ONCE IN YOUR LIFE
Most of the books I read were from Macmillan. I do have a Macmillan auto-approval on Edelweiss so this is not much of a surprise.
This is a sign that I’m getting old because I read more adult books than YA last year. Even though I still love YA books, I acknowledge that I am no longer its target audience. Middle-grade books, on the other hand, feel even more magical now that I’m older. I don’t know how to explain it. That’s just how things are. I want to read more of them this year!
I equally love backlist titles and new releases, so I’m happy with this chart. I read a lot of 2021 releases thanks to ARCs, but summing it all up, I still read more backlist titles. I would love to continue this trend in 2022.
I noticed that I now gravitate more towards standalone books than books in a series. My brain is just so bad at keeping up with sequels so I prefer standalones now. Most of the series I read were rereads and manga.
Apparently, I discovered many new authors last year. Hooray for that! Some of my new favorites are Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, June Hur, and Mo Xiang Tong Xiu (of course).
The majority of what I read last year was written by Asian authors (see: the ridiculous amount of manga I read). Not actively seeking out books by white authors is a personal decision because I prefer reading books by BIPOC authors. This year, I am aiming to read more books from Black, Latinx, and Indigenous authors!
At first I was like, “there is no way I will be able to use the >900 option in this spreadsheet” but lo and behold, I read 8 novels that surpassed the 900-page mark. The longest book I read was Clear and Muddy Loss of Love with a total of 3,909 pages. Yes, you read that right.
BEST BOOKS I READ IN 2020
I made separate posts for my favorite backlist titles and favorite 2021 releases. You can check those out if you want to see the explanation why I love these books. Anyway, here are my top 2021 picks:
BEST FROM THE BACKLIST
✨ Read related post: FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2021: PART 1 || BEST FROM THE BACKLIST
BEST 2021 RELEASES
✨ Read related post: FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2021: PART 2 || BEST 2021 RELEASES
BEST MANGA AND WEBTOONS
✨ Read related post: COMPLETED ROMANCE WEBTOONS AND MANGA YOU SHOULD READ
📚 The Red Palace by June Hur — This is historical mystery at its finest. June Hur is a master of storytelling and I believe that The Red Palace is her best book yet. With its breathtaking murder mystery and endearing romance, it is no surprise that this book is now one of my favorites. Today is its release date and I am urging you to pick it up! You will not regret it.
📚 The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea by Axie Oh — This story is just as beautiful as its cover. The whimsical writing reminiscent of my comfort Ghibli movies just pulled me in and never let go. The Girl Who Fell Beneath The Sea is a book about fate, love, and the power of stories. I was transported into another world when I read it. I hope it makes you feel that way too.
Take all my opinions with a grain of salt. These books did not really work for me, but maybe they will for you. Click the book title and you will be linked to my Goodreads review. The reviews are messy (and not really in-depth) but they are from the heart 😔
📚 Jade Fire Gold by June C.L. Tan — I liked the start of this book but everything ultimately fell flat for me. This reads like a trilogy forcefully smashed into one book. Disappointing plot execution and romance.
📚 The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid — I feel like everybody loves this book except me. It was not bad but I just didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. The story is good but I could not connect with the romance at all.
📚 Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas — I expected so much more from the mystery. The characters also did not leave a huge impression on me. I really appreciate the anxiety rep, though.
📚 The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo — I do not have any attachment to the classic this was based on so I was mostly bored while reading it. This book did not meet my high expectations.
📚 Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong — I expected to be destroyed but I wasn’t. My eyes stayed completely dry and I hardly felt anything. However, I do acknowledge that Chloe Gong is a gifted writer. This is one of those ‘it’s not you, it’s me’ situations.
MOST DISLIKED READS
I believe ‘hate’ is a strong word, so I’m just going to say I highly disliked these books (Although I do hate The Maidens very much. That mess should have stayed in the drafts). I will not be elaborating because my blood pressure increases when I think of these books. I just…did not have a good time reading them.
BOOKS I SHOULD HAVE READ IN 2021 BUT DIDN’T
These are mostly ARCs I failed to read. Others are backlist titles I’ve been planning to read since 2020 (some even before that) but I still haven’t picked them up. However, I still want to read them sometime this year!
BOOKS I’M PLANNING TO READ IN 2022
Aside from the ARCs I already have, here are some recommendations from friends that I’m planning to read this year:
It’s sad to say that I do not have a lot of blogging highlights to speak of for 2021. I only published a total of 10 posts, which is a dismal number compared to all the content I used to put out before. However, it is wild that my traffic for 2021 was 97% higher than what I got for 2020. One of my posts got a lot of traction on Pinterest, hence this increase in numbers. I might just post something Notion-related some time soon because the Pinterest people have been asking for templates. I am by no means a Notion expert but I still want to give the audience what they want.
Will I be more active on the blog this year? I have no answer for that at the moment. I still love blogging a lot, but it’s hard to find the time and motivation for it when I’m deep in the uni trenches. I miss it a lot tho!!! I really hope I can publish more posts this year compared to the last. Wish me luck.
Here are my top posts of the year:
✅ Read a lot of ARCs
I think I did fairly well on this one since I read 30 out of the 47 ARCs I downloaded. I don’t want to request or download too much this year but I don’t have self control so we’ll just see.
✅ Reread some favorites
I can say that this was a success! I did not manage to read the entirety of TPW last year, but I did read the first one. However, I was successful in rereading the Trials of Apollo books and finally finished reading the entire series. I also reread Jade City and Jade War in preparation for Jade Legacy but I am delaying that book for cowardly reasons ahaha. Another series I started rereading was The Mirror Visitor quartet. I reread the first two books last December and I’m on a mission to finish reading all the books in the quartet very soon.
✅ Read more backlist books
About 68% of what I read last year were backlist titles so I’m happily checking this goal with ease!
✅ Track my reading properly
Another success! Using a reading spreadsheet and Notion to track my reading helped a lot. 10/10 would recommend.
- Listen to 100 audiobooks or more
This is an ambitious goal but I managed to listen to 84 audiobooks last year so I feel like this could be possible. I’m staying positive!
- Reread more books
I’m setting this goal again because I love rereads! I might read Percy Jackson and the Olympians again. I also want to reread my Laini Taylor favorites because I miss her writing so much.
- Get my webtoon jazz back
I haven’t been using the WEBTOON app lately and I feel like a failure. I want to read a lot of webtoons again!!! I miss the feeling so much.
If you made it this far, you deserve all the nice things in the world. It really means a lot when y’all still make an effort to read and comment on my posts despite my inactivity. I know I’ve said this over and over already but I really am grateful for all your continuous support. Cheers to more reading and/or blogging milestones in 2022!