You know, people typically do things like this in January, but I’m ~quirky and special~ so I’m doing it in February.
(Please slap me for saying that)
Honestly, I forgot that I even planned on doing this survey until I was looking through the drafts I’d started and never finished. I originally saw Kayla do this on her channel. It looked like a lot of fun so I thought it would make for a good blog post to kind of summarize the books I read in 2021.
Not all of the books I read are going to make an appearance here, but I do talk about a good amount of them. So let’s get into my answers!
how many books did you read in 2021?
I read a total of 29 books. It was less than my goal of 40, but I blame my move to Singapore and how hard it was for me to pick up books when I was struggling to live in a country I barely remember.
how many pages?
Okay so I got three different answers for this. StoryGraph gave me 9,245 pages, Goodreads said 9,723, and my reading spreadsheet said 9,622. I’m most inclined to believe my spreadsheet because it had the most meticulous tracking and was the most editable. It also accounts for the one book I DNFed, which StoryGraph and Goodreads don’t.
most read genre?
Predictably, it was thriller. I consider this quite synonymous with “mystery” because the majority of books I read fall into both genres in one way or other. I know there’s a difference, but I’m not bothered to separate it.
favorite 2021 release?
Hands down, it was Cultish by Amanda Montell. I had my eye on it a couple weeks before it was released and then borrowed it from the library as soon as I could. It’s so much fun to learn about things that could be considered cults and how language plays a huge role in how cults are formed.
favorite older title you read in 2021?
I keep saying this and I think the fact that I keep coming back to it truly solidifies its position - Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas.
a book that lived up to the hype?
There were a few, but I think the one that stood out the most was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I was worried about not liking it because two people I really trusted (Marissa from @mareliterarum and Liv from @storiesforcoffee) have been raving about this book since I started following them. Thankfully, I loved it and want to continue with the series.
a book that didn't live up to the hype?
Wilder Girls by Rory Powers. I knew the book was weird, but I didn’t fully realize what that meant until I read it and found myself both confused and frustrated. It was the beginning of a string of bad books for me, all of which I nearly threw across the room. The ending really made me feel like I spent all that time reading for nothing.
biggest reading accomplishment?
Powering through three books that deserved to be DNFed? Honestly, I don’t know if I consider any of the books from last year a major accomplishment. I did try horror for the first time and wasn’t completely turned off by it, so that was a new thing for me. That little foray led me to dip my toes into light horror because my imagination can’t take anything worse. I also read and loved three nonfiction books, a rarity for me.
It’s a tie between Kaz Brekker and Inej Ghafa. There are no other acceptable answers as far as I’m concerned (although I also love Wylan and Jesper).
least favorite character?
book with the most surprising moment?
I’m pretty good at predicting things in books, so I wouldn’t say many things surprise me. I guess I’d have to go with Welcome Descent by Cam Wolfe for this one. Horror isn’t my thing so I had no idea what to expect, and the epilogue had me gasping.
favorite writing of the year?
This has to go to Know My Name by Chanel Miller. It’s so raw and honest. As much as I felt the pain while reading her words, I knew that it would all stick with me forever.
the book you pushed the most people to read?
the book you'll be recommending the most?
Cultish for sure. I’ve already told my dad that I would buy a copy for myself and let him read it because there’s so much interesting stuff in there.
favorite newly discovered author?
Ooooh this is a hard one. There were several new-to-me authors that I loved. I’m not sure if I can narrow it to just one so I’m going to cheat and give my top three - Rosie Danan, Amanda Montell, and Carlos Ruiz Zafón.
The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu! The blues are stunning and I could stare at this cover for ages. Photos on my feed featuring this book are some of my favorites because of the way the colors pop and the details draw you in.
book that made you cry the most?
With frustration? Not that I actually shed tears over this, but probably Almost Mortal by Chris Leibig. I feel bad about this one because I was sent both books by the author for a review, but they really weren’t for me and I found a massive plot hole that would have undone the entire conflict.
I don’t know if it was really from sadness, but Know My Name made me cry a few times. Miller’s account of what she experienced was so open on the page. And while I don’t know what it’s like to go through what she did, her words did hit home for some of the trauma I’ve lived through.
book that made you laugh the most?
No re-reads for me last year!
most surprising 5 star read?
Definitely The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager. The two other Sager books I’d read up until that point were kind of meh, a little above average. This one absolutely blew me away and remains my favorite of his books thus far.
I really enjoyed putting this together and hopefully you enjoyed reading it. This is the kind of thing I could re-use every year to think recap my reading a bit more. Did any of my answers surprise you? If you follow me on Instagram, did you predict any of my answers?