The Year in Review: A Look Back at 2021 and A Look Forward at 2022

Aaaaaand we’re done with 2021! After 2020, this year seemed to go by in a blink, but I still got a lot of great reading done. On the positive front, I read more books this year than last, and I finally passed 1000 followers on Twitter! My blog traffic was down a bit this year, but I attribute some of that to fewer posts on my end. I had a bit of writing burn out at the beginning of the year as I was freelance writing for a website on top of my day job, but since I quit that freelance work in October, I’m hoping I’ll have more energy for my blog in 2022! I’m looking into writing more discussion posts, as I’ve found those fascinating to read on the weekend and would love to put my own two cents in! I’ll probably still keep writing about video games here and there, as I enjoy talking about them, even if it isn’t the focus of the blog.

As with previous years, these pretty graphics wouldn’t have happened without Kal at Reader Voracious – follow the link to download her new and improved spreadsheet for 2022! Whether you want to track ARCs, see how your genre reading breaks down, or have a place to keep an eye on blogging stats, Kal’s spreadsheet has something for you!

For more end-of-year goodness, you can check out the links below to find some Top Fives and Great Series Read updates!

Great Series Read Update 2021
Top Five SFF Reads – 2021 Releases
Top Five SFF Reads – Backlist Books
Top Five Video Games Played

Goodreads Goal

As always, I set my goal to 50 books and called it a day. It’s a number I find manageable in my daily life and if for some reason I didn’t hit it, oh well! I still set the number as I enjoy watching the bar tick up as I go through the year. This year I got through 67 books, up from my 2020 number of 60, so huzzah to me! My actual page count was only up about 400 pages, so I clearly read some smaller books this year (reinforced by the next stat), but at the end of the day, reading is reading.

Average Page Count

Interestingly, my average page count is down for the year, from 449 to 408. Some of that I can chock up to novellas, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the 1200 page OATHBRINGER in 2020 drastically skewed my average. Either way, still reading decently sized books!

Backlist vs. New Releases

My split is somehow exactly the same as last year: 39% backlist and 61% new releases. Despite best intentions, I just can’t keep away from the shiny ARCs! I’m giving my backlist push another go this year, but we’ll see how long my restraint lasts. As of this moment, I have exactly ONE NetGalley book waiting for review, with another five hanging in limbo in the hopes of approval, meaning a deluge could hit after the holidays. Going to try and get an early start on backlist books in January though – four of the six books on my tentative TBR are from 2020 or older!

Genre Breakdown

This was the year I sci-fi clawed it’s way back into my life! That 31.8% represents about 21 sci-fi books read this year, way up from the 12 I read in 2020. And really, it was a great year for sci-fi reads, between THE LAST WATCH, A DESOLATION CALLED PEACE, CATALYST GATE, and more. Unsurprisingly, fantasy made up

Ratings

My luck with books was up this year! I only had one book that I rated below three stars (down from three) and I had seven books I put in the coveted five star slot (up from five). Otherwise my spread stayed more or less the same between three stars and four stars. As always, the Goodreads graphic isn’t a perfect representation because of no half stars. I’ve been looking into Storygraph this year and I might give a bigger push to actually use it this year to get better rating reflections, but breaking the death grip of Goodreads is hard.

Self-Published Reading

My goal for the last few years has been to read one self-published book a month. This year I fell just short, coming in at 11 total self-published reads for the year. Still better than nothing! That includes reading the last four AMRA THETYS thief books that are currently in release, a none-to-small series completion accomplishment for myself. Next year, there’s a couple reader-favorites I’m hoping to finally read, including PATERNUS: RISE OF GODS by Dyrk Ashton and FORTUNE’S FOOL by Angela Boord.

2022 Reading Goals

I’ve found keeping my goals nice and simple works best for me, as it puts less stress on what I’m reading. I still want to try and read one self-published book a month, and I do truly want to read more backlist this year. To that end, I really want to try harder to work on backlist series for my Great Series Read. In theory, I should be choosing a single series and reading one book a month until I’m finished. In months with a particularly big ARC pile, it’s easy to lean towards giving myself a pass and counting the ARC sequels towards series reads. And while yes, I’m reading sequels, it’s avoiding the main goal of trying to get to all those amazing series I “missed” in the years when I wasn’t reading as much.

To that end, my goal for 2022 is to try and whittle down my “In Progress” section of my Great Series Read, which has ballooned to 10 series. That means prioritizing a book from one of those series every month until they’re done. I’ve already taken the step of rereading RED SISTER by Mark Lawrence, one of the early casualties to my penchant for prioritizing new releases. I read it first in 2019 and never picked up the sequel. While I remember broad strokes of world-building, I couldn’t remember a lot about individual characters. So to finish on 2021, I’m rereading RED SISTER, with GREY SISTER on deck for later in January! Hoping to get that “In Progress” section down to a more manageable 3 or 4 series this year.

And that’s my 2021!

17 thoughts on “The Year in Review: A Look Back at 2021 and A Look Forward at 2022

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  1. Love your post Caitlin !! I was shocked to see that you have one netgalley arc before I realized that you do get physical arcs sometimes… as I completely rely on NG, I tend to have some 15 pending arcs at all time 😭😭😭
    But I do hope your series read goes well… I have decided to tackle some series as well, but my list includes both completed and ongoing ones (which I’ve never started), and hoping I’ll make some dent in it too… I’m too swayed by new releases though πŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congrats on reaching 1k on Twitter!!! I know that views and engagement on book blogs has been down in 2021 for a lot of us, myself included. Keep your chin up, I think it’s largely about the state of the world and not so much about your posting frequency!

    Thanks so much for linking to my spreadsheet template – and I always love seeing people’s charts at the end of the year! LOOK AT YOU ONLY READING SCI FI AND FANTASY! When my pie chart looked like that, I wound up with the biggest slump.

    Happy New Year and I hope 2022 is fantastic!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I want to try Storgraph too, but have been dragging my feet. Great job only having one book below three stars. I’ve found that the longer I blog, the less time I want to spend on books that I just don’t enjoy. I’m more likely to drop them before having to finish and rate them. I hope you have a wonderful 2022!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Storygraph has some features I want, but it loads pretty slowly and I wish it had better options for looking at your books. One of the few things I like on Goodreads is you can turn your shelves into just a wall of covers and it’s beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

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