2020 Books in Review

I had high hopes for 2020 as far as reading went. But 2020 had other plans for all of us. My wife and I welcomed a new baby girl into our lives and the world gave us a global pandemic. You would think I would have more time on my hands with a global pandemic, but preparing and having a third little girl did divert my time slightly. While I planned to read many more books in 2020 I only made it through 36 books this year. Less than the 55 I was able to read in 2019.

Although I read less I think I did better with reading diversity. In 2019 I read only 23% female authors’ books, while in 2020 I managed 40%, still less than half, and something I can still improve upon, but better. 89% of the books I read were non-fiction. I believe fiction is important to read, but my favorite genre is definitely non-fiction, I really feel like reading those books is time well spent. Back to diversity; I also look at the nationality of the writers I read. In 2020, I read 77% from United States writers. I did manage to read 3 Canadians, but that’s still the North American continent.

As far as how I liked the books, my average score was 4, the lowest was 2, and the highest was 5. I’ll make sure to link to all the 5-star books below. My favorite binding or way of reading was Kindle (48.6%). This makes sense when you see how many books I read about minimalism this year and last. Next was audiobooks, 31.4%. I’m sure I would have read even more audiobooks in 2020 if my commute would have lasted past March.

I read 6,524 pages digital and real this year. I listened to 6,170 minutes (102.8 hours, 4.3 days) of audiobooks. I enjoyed listening to books on walks while riding an indoor bike and sometimes laying on the ground waiting for a child of mine to fall asleep.

Topics or why I read the books I did this year. 9 books were related to minimalism, 5 were general education, 4 on the environment and cycling (4 each). This is a big one. I saved $310.09 by using the library in 2020.

One thing that was different this year is that each book got a blog post, something I have not been very good at doing in the past. I hope to get better at this.

5 Star books I read in 2020:

If you can only read one of these books read, How Not to Die: Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease by Michael Greger.

2019 Books in Review

In 2019 I read 54 books. That’s 8,579 pages. For audiobooks, I listened to just under two days of audio. 30% of my reading was graphic novels, of those mostly Star Wars comics from Marvel. Following closely was Kindle books at 28% of my reading. Followed by audiobooks and finally, hardcovers mostly form the library.

Speaking of the library, I saved $557.13 by visiting the library and not buying those books. I was gifted one book and an author reached out and gave me their book as well.

I read almost twice as many books in 2019 as I did in 2018. Most of the books I read this past year were actually published in 2016. My average book length was 209 pages. My average rating for books on GoodReads was 3.7. Overwhelmingly the books I read were written by US authors (37). And although I want to read more books by female authors, the books I read were by men (44 to 10).

My favorite books in 2019 (in the order I read them):

  1. Becoming by Michelle Obama
  2. The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
  3. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  4. Star Wars Vol.1 Skywalker Strikes by Jason Aaron
  5. The Public Library by Robert Dawson
  6. The Little Free Library Book by Margret Aldrich
  7. We are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer
  8. Tales from the Open Road: The Adventures and Misadventures of RV Living by Joe Russo

2017 in Review

My daily profession is as an analyst, so I’m really into numbers.  This is going to be a very number-heavy post.  First, I should mention that without my reading log it would take me forever to put this post together.  The reading log helps in a lot of ways.  It helps me understand what kind of books I’m reading and why.  If I am diverse in my reading or not.  Links to my reading list are on the left side of the site.  I’ve had a reading log since 2015.  Let’s dig in.

Something that may not be that important to everyone, but is important to me is how much I spent on the books that I read this year.  This isn’t how much I spent on books this year, but how much I spent on the books read this year, an important distinction. The total costs of the books I read in 2017 are $486.36.  This is how much it would cost (MSRP) to grab the same book in the same format from Amazon.  However, I spent $0 on my 2017 books read. I get a lot of my books from the library, which is a big way that I keep the costs of books down.  43% of the books I read in 2017 came from the library, the single largest source of the books I read.  Library savings alone was $295.50.

2017 Books Source
2017 Books Source

Another very important but small number is the total number of books that I read this year.  That number is much smaller than I wanted it to be this year, only 37.  Other numbers that I would consider a miss was on the diversity side of things.  Only 24% of the books I read were written by female authors. 

Author Gender
Author Gender

I most frequently read on my kindle.  This is how many of my friends gift me books.  46% of my reading was done on a kindle.

Binding
Binding

Audiobooks were close behind.  I listened to 5,313 minutes of audiobooks or 89 hours, or 3.7 days. I count pages on kindle as actual pages to make these next numbers easier.  I read 7,018 pages in 2017.  The average book length was 242 pages.  The shortest book I read was 36 pages, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.  The longest was When Paris Went Dark at 480 pages.

5 Stars
5 Stars

And now the part you have all been waiting for.  Here is the full list of all the books I thought worthy of a 5-star rating.  Out of 37 books only 11, 30% reached this coveted placement.  I’m linking to the review for each of the books below so you can learn all about them before diving in.

2016 Wrap-Up

Books of 2016 Infographic
Books of 2016 Infographic

Time for my yearly post about all the books I read in 2016.  I did not meet my goal of reading 100 books last year.  I didn’t even come close.  I only read 66 as you can see in the above image.  Work got busy and I also enrolled and completed two certificate classes in data science from University California, Irvine.

What you won’t see in the infographic below is that I borrowed 43 books from my local library.  If I had bought them on Amazon, I would have paid $561.30.  That savings is worth your free library card, and a bunch of hold fees!

My local libraries saved me $561.30 in 2016!